It is almost half way through 2016 but it feels like an eternity since just over a year ago my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was given 4-6 weeks to live. Back then he was 89 years' old. Many people would nod their head and say he had had a pretty good innings. The thing is, not many people are prepared to give up their wicket irrespective of their score. And this was, and remains true even now because my father is still with us and still exhibits the same patience and caring for others that he always has.
Dad's home had to be sold to pay for the nursing home accommodation bond and ongoing monthly costs which are substantial. It's a super expensive business being sick and old, and in need of professional palliative care. There were some other problems too that just compounded the anguish and strain which didn't make things easy, including some medical issues in my immediate family. For me, after four years of suspected prostate cancer (including four lots of biopsies in that period), it was detected and confirmed in February. I had surgery in April. I had spoken to a number of people (incuding some railway modellers) who had gone through it and I took heart from their positive experiences. The surgery went well. My latest test result is good. My recovery is better than what I'd expected at this time. Fingers crossed that this continues.
In the last twelve months or so I have come into contact with more aged, frail and sick people than I could ever have imagined. I have spent countless hours visiting doctors, health professionals, aged care facilities, banks and other professional services. Not surprisingly, there was no spare time for things like model railways. The last twelve months have shown me a completely different side of life that I had never encountered before. And what, you may ask, does it all mean?
Well it means a few things which I think are very important:
1. We need to live each day to the utmost and to appreciate everything good around us
2. We need to be thankful for good health and the health of all our family members
3. We need to be thankful for supportive family and friends, and to let them know how much we appreciate their love and support. And this includes reaching out to others who are in need.
I dipped my toes back into the hobby at the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention. I caught up with several people and had a good chat about a range of different things; health issues and family issues included. Model railways then is not just about model railways.
Many of my friends who have been supportive have come from the hobby of model railways. This includes my good friend Alan from Kansas City in the USA who I met a few years ago through the NMRA. And it includes modeller friends in Australia from my own city (thanks especially to David) and from people in Sydney and the Central Coast as well.
I will be attending the Epping Model Railway Club's exhibition at Normanhurst this coming weekend (likely to be Saturday for me at this stage). Perhaps I will catch up with some more friends for a good chat, see some inspiring layouts, and come home refreshed and energised for the future ahead.