Goodbye to Jane and Andrew

There is a lot more to be said about thinking, but my habit is to bounce around and not get bogged down on one topic. There are many other things I want to address. In a recent post on positive thinking I mentioned, somewhat flippantly, that I recently had a biopsy. This is a test for cancer (in my case prostate). I now know that the results are non malignant, and basically I’m in the clear.

Thinking about ones own mortality is quite a sobering experience. It happens to coincide with my reading about two deaths. One was Jane Tomlinson, which anyone in the UK cannot fail to have been aware of. She was a 43 year old mother of three, who was first diagnosed with cancer in 1991. The disease returned in 2000, when she was told she only had months to live. Despite (or because of) this she undertook various physical challenges over the next seven years, including 3 London Marathons and cycling across America. She raised over £1.5 million, but always maintained she was very “ordinary”

In a BBC phone-in Jane answered the following question: –

I would like to ask if Jane ever feels sorry for herself?

Well, I think in the same way that anyone else might do, there’s always off days! But I tend to find that if you wake up and you’re miserable, and you take that sadness with you, that the pains that I do have from the disease can be overwhelming.

So it’s a lot easier to get up and be positive and get on with things, rather than concentrate on the less happy aspects of my life.

The other person I want to mention has no obituary. Andrew Smith (aged 40) died around April 2006, the date is vague because no one knew he had died – his body was discovered 2 months later when neighbors complained of a “smell”. The police investigation failed to track his only surviving relatives, so only the local coroner attended his funeral.

We know about Andrew because a reporter, who came across his story by chance, delved deep to try and understand how someone could become so insignificant to the people around him. Andrew wasn’t been treated for mental illness, and he had a loving upbringing. But (the reporter having found and made contact with his siblings) it appears his life stated to unravel ten years ago when lured to the bright lights of London, he ended up doing a succession of courses that led nowhere, and started living in grotty anonymous bedsits.

Wanting a quick jump from rags to riches, he became disenchanted and melancholic when this didn’t happen His family report he became more isolated and drifted into a squalid, lonely existence. The reporter ends with, to me, a very poignant paragraph:-

During his final years Andrew woke up with nowhere to go and nothing to do. There was nobody who needed him. Imagine the blandness of his days.

In effect, this post has been about thinking, how we tackle adversity and how goals can give our life direction. I am a great believer in the power of positive thinking, and accept for some this comes under the umbrella of the “laws of attraction”. I will return to Jane and Andrew in the future – and I am grateful for the fact that at 49 I am still able to sit here and write whilst they, both younger, now cannot.

Erin September 6, 2007 at 1:49 am

Hi David,
After Priscilla Palmer’s self development list Jenny and I have decided to
try to help build the self development community. So we are holding a
little contest. I would like to invite you, and anyone else interested, to
find out more details at Win a
$25 Gift Certificate.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: