M is for… media. It was early April when I first heard from the freelance journalist Angela Carless, who had discovered our story and asked if she could write about us:
“I came across your blog purely by chance via the link on Steve Lowton’s website & found myself very moved by the very honest articles you have written about your family & about Sam in particular. As the mother of an 18-yr-old son, I find myself wondering how I would cope if something like that happened to our family, & I must admit, that even as a seasoned journalist who has written about many emotive topics, I doubt I would find the strength & courage evident in your writing…”
It seems this is the reaction of most people who have heard about us ever since – yet I have to say, you have no idea how you would react until you are actually tested. We continue to testify that we are being carried by the grace of God… through all that has happened on the journey since.
Angela interviewed us all and wrote her first story focussed on the health/medical issues and tensions – which obviously affect us even more acutely with Martin being a cancer research specialist. She was delighted when the Mail on Sunday bought and eventually published it as a double page spread on the last day of July: her motive has always been to get Sam’s story out there so that maybe some help can be found. After that Radio Leicester, the BBC and ITV wanted to follow up… and hence the last month of live interviews and filming leading to the public exposure of the past week. Not only is Sam focussed and purposeful, feeling his opinions are being heard, receiving messages from supporters and well-wishers, but he was recognised and stopped in Loughborough marketplace the other day!
To think that if I had said no in the beginning none of this would have happened… or if I hadn’t blogged about it at all. We took a decision to invite Angela into our lives that led to… well, the story isn’t over yet. Sam has been contacted by a man in Canada whose daughter has apparently had 2 clear brain scans after using cannabis oil for a grade 4 glioma: the plot thickens and hope both strengthens his resolve to fight and gives us new hurdles to surmount. And still it is people’s sympathy and admiration we encounter most… so why don’t all sick Christians have such an impact? This is an extreme case – such a young man with no medical way out – yet we who have encountered the risen Jesus should also know both how to live and how to die!
M is for… marriage! Here are Sam and Jessa in Leicester having given notice of their intention to marry on 9th September: it was a very happy moment, the first step toward the long planned goal, a relief to have started the legal process. Loughborough registry office here we come, as soon as the certificates have been generated. Made any plans? Nah…
But oh dear, we only have 2 weeks to go before they tie the knot – in the simplest of ceremonies you can imagine (I’ve never been to a registry office wedding before!) Sam remembered 2 days ago they need to get some rings! When we ordered his yesterday the man in H Samuel (our chosen jewellers, of course!) said we were fortunate that they could get it in time. I am hoping for similar fortune buying Jessa an appropriate dress next week!
It’s not an overblown affair: there’ll be no hats or feast, no guests to speak of, just a few friends and only 3 close family. In many ways it’s signing on a line to say that this is what already is... and yet the crossing of a legal gulf where we come out with a new family member. Of course Jessica wants it to be a special day, however small… she’s a beautiful young woman getting married; internally in all of us, despite the lack of hype, there are still high stress levels created by this life-changing event! On Monday week – by 10 to 10 on 10.10! – we’ll all arrive at the designated room, between the Premier Inn building site and council offices and after warnings and witnessing, photos and some celebratory toasts should be home by lunchtime. But though it’s short, please may it be blessed and sweet, a memorable passing of the test and foundation of the future.
M is also for… moving: that’s the other thing that dominates our lives right now! Both moving home – the house purchase going through in 3 days time, the getting furniture installed and packing done – and also moving Jessa back to the US to get her visa to remain. My lists of things to do are pretty long! Today I’ll buy a bed and fridge-freezer and later maybe write our sponsorship letter and photocopy bank statements for the immigration case. I’m looking forward to all this being done and dusted so we can settle down and have a rest – and get on with our lives. But then, of course, I have to remember the cancer journey will not be over… in the last months of this year and into 2012 there will be the next part to negotiate – and somehow pay for! – and the next aspect of the multi-faceted story to be told. Never a dull moment – and no point worrying about tomorrow: there is only grace for today.
M and M anyone? Actually in this family we prefer Smarties!