A guide to the afterlife

I had my chemo today. It was hard going and I feel absolutely rubbish now, but having had it delayed for three days due to low platelet levels I was still very glad to have been given the go ahead. 

The first day of each chemo cycle is a very long one. We start with blood tests around 9 am and finish any time between about 4.30 pm and 7 pm, depending on all sorts of factors. It’s a long time to spend in a windowless room, so usually I try to unhook my pump and take a wander into the corridor where I can sit down and see the sky. The nurses are amazing, coming out to give me the next infusion when they hear my pump beeping, popping out for a chat and even offering tea and biscuits. 

This afternoon, as I sat in the corridor staring at the blue sky, I noticed the display of advice booklets standing by the door. My attention was drawn to this:


Now, I’ve been on the Macmillan website in the past, so I know these booklets exist. And being me, I’ve read the one on End of Life, on the basis that being prepared is half the battle. It isn’t easy reading – trust me. But today, through the chemo fog, it made me giggle. I sat there thinking – I wonder if, on the other side, there’s another booklet, the next in the series, a Guide to the Afterlife. I wonder if you turn up at the Pearly Gates and are handed a map and some instructions – what activities happen when, how to make the most of what’s on offer and so on. A bit like arriving at a nice hotel. That’d be great. 

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any great belief in an afterlife. And, even if it does exist, I’m not at all sure it’s like a luxury hotel. But it made me smile. It made it all seem a little less scary. I’m still fighting and I’m still here. But if and when my day does come – in 5 years, or 15 or 50 – then rest assured. On arrival, I will be asking for an upgrade to a room with a view. And I will see you in the bar for Happy Hour cocktails. 


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