If life seems jolly rotten
There’s something you’ve forgotten
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you’re feeling in the dumps
Don’t be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing.
And… always look on the bright side of life…
Always look on the light side of life…
(from Monty Python’s Life of Brian)
I’m reading Sheila Hancock’s latest book Just Me at the moment and I’m lovin’ it. Sheila has suffered many knock-downs in life including a personal battle with breast cancer and has lost not one, but two husbands to oesophageal cancer. Having written The Two of Us, a best selling memoir of life with her late husband John Thaw, Sheila found herself in despair with the aching void in her life. Desperate not to stagnate, she picked herself up and started to live life adventurously. Now at 75, Sheila has learnt to enjoy life on her own once more. She has rebuilt her life and is relishing every minute of it…
“The stark truth is that, within sight of the finishing post, I am actually enjoying the race more than I have ever done. Because time is short, I have never been so desperate to relish every minute. I do not intend to waste any time being old and grey, and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire. In recent years, my husband and many dear friends, some younger than I, have had life wrested from them. In deference to them, I will value mine.”
Just Me is a deeply honest and wonderfully down-to-earth account of coming to terms with widowhood, and moving on. Sheila is an incredibly gutsy lady who has much to teach those of us who live life in smug contentment. As Sheila would say, the choice is yours, get on with life!
Abridged extract from JUST ME by Sheila Hancock, published by Bloomsbury.