Storm Caroline is threatening to bring the first significant snowfall tomorrow, 8th December, to my home since March 2013. I know almost to the exact date, because it happened exactly a week after Sarah and I moved into our home in the Welsh countryside. It is a matter of coincidence (not divine intervention) that my good friend Caroline passed away after a long battle with cancer seven years ago in 2010 on the 8th December. It was the day before what would have been her 50th birthday. Caroline loved the snow. She more than loved it – it was a matter of extreme excitement each time we had a decent settling of the white stuff. It even snowed during her funeral – perfect timing.
Our last snowfall viewed from our house in March 2013
It was just a couple of weeks after her passing that we had a heavy snowfall at our previous home in Newport. First thing in the morning, before I’d left the bedroom, I heard a noise outside that sounded like a jingling of bells. I joked to Sarah, “I bet that’s Caroline telling us about the snow!” I then joked even further and said loudly, “Caroline, if that’s you, show us a sign!”
About ten minutes later, as I tried to exit the bedroom, I couldn’t open the door. The handle mechanism had broken. It took twenty minutes before we were able to get out of the room after Sarah’s daughter forced it open from the outside. There are some who would say that it was Caroline doing her thing from “the other side”. I’d love to think that it was. However, I’m also well aware of the fact that it easy to believe what you want to believe when you should be just accepting the inevitability of coincidences occurring. It is a mathematical certainty that coincidences will happen. If there were never any coincidences, that in itself, would be a coincidence of unimaginable proportions.
It was well into Caroline’s four year cancer battle that I suffered my brain haemorrhage. It was an odd turnaround of events for her to be visiting me in hospital. But when she could, she’d do her best to come to see me, taking me for walks around the hospital grounds. It was only a few months after our snowfall in March 2013 that Sarah, herself, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had six doses of chemotherapy, and on each occasion I bought her a “chemo present.” On one occasion, in November 2013, I bought us a joint present – a pair of sledges to use in the nearby fields in our new home for when it next snowed. It didn’t snow that winter. It didn’t matter – we had other things on our minds. It didn’t snow the following year, or the next year, or the next.
Sarah’s wishful thinking (get that chemo wig!)…
… and the reality at the bottom of the garden
So now, here we are, four years since we bought our, as yet, unused sledges, waiting for Storm Caroline to arrive and bring us the snow that has been forecast in about seven hours’ time. Caroline loved (or loves) the snow. She knows how eager we are to walk over to the fields to use our sledges for the first time. She knows that we’ll know that she is behind the whole weather system making its way down from the Arctic. However, deep down, I know that it’s just a coincidence.
Or is it?
We’ve had an incredible roller coaster ride in recent years. I’ve told our story in my book I’M NEVER ILL (A journey through brain surgery and beyond…). Since our illnesses, we have become USA road trippers and lindy hop dancers. We are now living more full and active lives than we ever had done before. We are very lucky people.
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