Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reflection is good for the Soul

Yesterday I woke at 5:45 am. The sun was casting its light onto the landing as it was streaming in through the window of the spare bedroom. I got up and went to lay on the bed in there, thinking that at exactly this time 11 years ago, Andy was putting his wedding ring onto my finger and saying "I want you to put this back on my finger when I come round"
Some who read my blog know our story, but for those who don't....this thought is significant in our lives because 11 years ago, (April 17 1999) after a frightening year of medical tests (and errors) Andy had a liver transplant at the age of 36. He almost died.
We always spend the day together, never letting anything get in the way of it, we are thankful that he is alive and that he has had the chance to see our children grow up, we remember Sarah's family who bravely donated her organs to save the lives of others...and best of all, we are now planning a future. When he had the transplant, they told us it could prolong his life for 5 - 7 years...thats scary, its not long enough (we thought at the time) but we chose life. And we have lived our lives with that always hanging over, 11 years in and with excellent results at his last 6 monthly checkup, we are beginning to build a future and to believe that he will be around for many years to come.
So the day dawned bright and sunny and we were going to Whitby for our transplant anniversary this year (the ritual we have made for this day is that we go into the North Yorkshire Moors or the Dales as they hold the happiest family memories for us and because our children - who are all grown and left home - are wrapped in those memories, its almost like they are with us on this day too.

We had a quiet journey up, talking about where we are now compared to where we were then.... its a good exercise to perform on an annual basis, because you get to see where you've come from, life isn't passing you by in a blur.
When we got to Whitby, it was of course crowded - the sun brings everyone out - and rightly so - life is too short not to enjoy as we are very keenly aware of! We browsed in one or two shops as we made our way up to the Abbey.

(Stopped on the way for a photo shoot - this ones for you Dave and Jayne)

Climbed the 199 steps to the Abbey

The ruins are spectacular on the cliff top and we strolled around marvelling at the architecture as we do on every visit - is it just me or does anyone else think that some buildings these days leave a lot to be'd think that with all the tools and machinery we have to hand in our modern world, we (I say we but I mean they!!) could design great buildings to uplift the soul - like this must have been in its day.

This celtic cross is actually in the graveyard of St Marys Church, which is at the top of the 199 steps - can you imagine how healthy I would be If I worshipped at that Church? Or I could just drive the car around the road system!

but see what I mean about the detail..

and this.... now I was thinking this would make a lovely stamp....

I had a few happy thoughts as we stopped at this tomb...our three children used to lay in this when they were young. (I remember groaning at the time because their clothes invariably got dirty!

And they played hide and seek, Steph once hid in this niche and it took ages for Martin and Laura-Beth to find her. Of course, being the child she was, she tried it on subsequent visits and couldn't understand why they always KNEW where she was!

And so onto the photo I take every year... the one where Andy holds up his fingers to say how old he is (in transplant years) BUT this year (and I'm happy crying here!) he doesn't have enough fingers...the toes have to come out!

And so, back to St Mary's Church, we lit a candle and prayed to thank 'The Ancient of Days' who knew this day would dawn for us at the beginning of time.
We will all die one day, I know that, but its how we spend our days that count.

We'll spend the rest of ours being thankful for the precious time we got to have with each other.

And a big PS...I bought myself a new journal while we were there... its dinky, yummily leatherbound and the pages are handmade paper....


  1. HI Sandra

    Loving the day you had in Whitby and how you have managed to 'celebrate' it in such a positive way. Whitby is a truly amazing and extremely spiritual way and guess what they must have been doing a storm at the English Heritage shop because Craig and I bought one for each other to celebrate our wedding anniversary - how surreal!


  2. The Peace of the Lord be with you both. A book to read which will blow your mind "The Shack" available on line for only £5 inc p & p. x Christine J.

  3. What a wonderful story Sandra and Andy and how fantastic that as a couple you are sooooooooooo close. It must be significant that the sun shone on you both this weekend.
    Love your new Journal, Kate Crane has one like this she bought it on Etsy, I think, it came all the way from Canada so you are so lucky to have found one here, might have to make a trip to Whitby.
    Hugs for both of you Pat xx

  4. Aw Sandra, what a lovely post. It brought out a mixture of my emotions, but above all, reminded me again how precious life is. Keep loving it and living it..... x

  5. Aaaw Happy Anniversary!!! Is that the right thing to say??? Looks like you had a fabulous day and I am glad Andy is doing so well...xoxo

  6. Sandra your post brought a lump to my throat. As Virginia said - it's wonderful that you can 'celebrate' such a special day. Here's to many many more years to you both. Life is so short and yet so precious.

    That celtic cross is amazaing - trust the crafter in you to spot the potential of a stamp LOL.

    Blessings to both you and Andy.

  7. What a wonderful story, so pleased you can celebrate this day together. Every year must be precious for you. Looking forward to the next anniversary

  8. What a wonderful day you had SP, and the sun shone all day, but then it would have shone on you both anyway. Love and hugs to you both xx

  9. Having walked a similar journey, I'm so thankful for what God has done, and is doing in our lives. Keep telling the story, and keep bringing Him glory. David & Rachel.

  10. Awww Sandra, thank you so much for telling us about such a journey you have both made over recent years, and congratulations on 11 years! Looks like you had a fab day out!
    Love your new journal (she says enviously lol!)
    Lesley x

  11. Oh my goodness you have me sniffling here! Thank you so much for sharing this with us, it was inspirational on so many levels to read. It's also lovely to read of something going right within the health system as my faith in them has been severely battered the last few years.

    I was just drooling over that journal on Virginias blog and now see you have one too. I've always wanted to go to Whitby (it's the vampire fan in me!) and I totally get what you mean about the architecture. They did all that with their limited instruments and we just about manage wooden tinder boxes. It is so depressing driving through Kent at the moment its all car yards or these new housing estates! Grr!

    Anyway, waffle over! Hugs to you both and I hope the chocolates were enjoyed! (OMG the walnut one was yum!)

  12. xxxxx

    I could write a book, I could not speak a word, but you know what I'm thinking...

    Lots of love xxxxx

  13. Thanks for sharing your story of love and hope with us sandra - The pics are lovely as are all your wonderful descriptions of memories you share together Huge Hugs x Janet

  14. I love you soooooooo much mwah XXX

  15. Wiping a tear here, I did know the story of Andy and his transplant, I sort of gleaned it from various blog posts, but this post really hit home, how wonderful it must have felt for him to 'run out of fingers' in the last photo. I absolutely love the story of how you celebrate his transplant birthday - how very precious life is, I hope you have many many many more of these wonderful anniversaries to celebrate honey ( and thankyou for sharing the story - both of you are such an inspiration)

  16. awwww thanks for sharing your day out with us Sandra.... talk about the feel good factor!!

    All those fabulous photos and you both look so happy together and obviously having a fun time... lol at your hubby's foot photo...brilliant.

    It's wonderful that you can celebrate this way and so special.

    Chris xx

  17. Oh Sandra, thank-you for sharing your amazingly special day with us. I am so happy that you were able to - looking forward to reading more in the years to come (and seeing Andy's other foot come out too!!)

    Looking forward to seeing you (and meeting Andy!) real soon. xxxxx

  18. Sandra, yet again you have me with tears in my eyes. You did at the journal weekend. We too have just gone past our 'anniversary' on March 6th and I thank whoever will listen that I have had another fantastic year with my hubby and I congratulate you on yours too. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks. Emma xx

  19. Ahhhh! What a very special anniversary for you both :-) Glad you had such a fabulous day. Kate
    p.s. I LOVE your leather journal.....

  20. What a lovely story!! So glad you had a such a wonderful anniversary...and here's wishing you many more to come! Love that journal too!

    Jayne xx

  21. Made me drip! What a beautiful story yours and Andys is. I am very happy for the love you have in your lives ... long,long may it last. Thank you for taking the time to come visit my blog x

  22. Hi why didn,t you pick me up l like whitby xxxx

  23. How wonderful that you've been through that and survived it with such a positive attitude. Whitby is a special place for me too - where my husband survived his first heart attack. We go back regularly to assess how he feels walking up those hills compared to then. Love the place it has such a great feel to it. Here's to the next part of your journey.
    x Michelle