What A Ride!

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 4 months ill …
Pysical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage Ed

25th Wedding Anniversary Edition

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This has been a week of occassion:

Back to school after 6 weeks of holiday which saw Pera in New Zealand with Bridget and June, me in Kleinmond with the Wusts, us in Cape Town with the Ridgways and Mullers and Southwoods and Peaches, and us in St Francis Bay with a houseful of Sean’s and Phillip’s friends and the Southwoods. Rolls went back into the water and out came the wakeboard and the ski’s!

We did Christmas in Strand, Ratanga and War Horse and Grand Beach in Cape Town, Farmer’s Market and Thirsty Scarecrow in Stellenbosch and Vergelegen in Somerset West with Gaby and Vera.

The week has been about getting back to “normal” things – all the domestic issues and haircuts, massages, pills, chemists, doctors, dentists, visits from Isaac and Gill from the Hospice.

Carol and Glynn Jones (my university roommate) from Canada contacted me after 36 years and we will meet up soon in the Cape.

AB tumbled the cricket records.

We got to visit with Pam and Neil Thomson and Wendy and John Clarke.

Pera had her annual back to school dinner at home with her teaching colleagues.

Forty years ago, this week,  I departed to the United States

Today is our Silver Wedding Anniversary. Tonight we celebrate.

What a ride it’s been and continues to be!

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Diaspora

(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 4 months ill …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage Ed

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Pera is in the air somewhere between Auckland and Johannesburg. She has spent three weeks in New Zealand visiting her sister whom she hasn’t seen in fifteen years.

She lands in Port Elizabeth tonight and comes to Strand tomorrow – Christmas Eve.

Sean has been in Plettenberg Bay, St Francis Bay and Nelson Mandela Bay. He, too, comes to Strand tomorrow.

Phillip has been in Plettenberg Bay, Bushman’s River and Nelson Mandela Bay. Tomorrow, he will also be coming to Strand.

I have been in Nelson Mandela Bay and Kleinmond, and now I am in The Strand, awaiting the arrival of the family tomorow.

Yes, it is Christmas. Christian (and other) people tend to go home at Christmas and gather with family. So we are here in my home town of Strand and still I can say ” How beautiful is my valley!”

I flew from PE last Sunday and was fetched in Cape Town by my sister Lyn and spent the rest of that day with her and her family.

Then, in the evening, I was fetched by Willem and Gretel Wust and off we went to Kleinmond. Seven days of absolute bliss and beauty – meeting up with old friends (including the Van Jaarsvelds now living in Switserland), eating,drinking, relaxing, walking, swimming, beering, chatting, sitting, house viewing, shopping, Arabelling and etc!

Yesterday (Monday), they dropped me in The Strand with my niece Michelle and Sebastian and their family. A frenetic pace of people here – hitting the malls, the roads, the beaches and all getting ready for Christmas! I also managed a visit with Sonja van Rhijn who has MSA and Danie Schoeman.

Now we await the rest of the family and put into action the Christmas plans!

Christmas 2014 – 2000 years after the birth of that tiny Baby in Bethlehem who changed the face of our World. And as the Jews of that time were all going home, so there are many people who will be on the roads at this time, also going home.

Travel safe, my family, and you and yours. Enjoy this time with your family and friends, rest, recharge and review your life as we prepare to enter the next year of 2015.

I saw a sign in a shop in Kleinmond – it read “Be Kind! The World is a small town.”

May Santa be kind to you as you are kind to others …

Please give a thought and do a deed for those who are alone and lonely this Christmas time, for those who are diseased, ill and in pain and for those of us who have lost close friends and family members during the course of 2014.

Have a very happy Christmas – wherever you find yourself.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

(C) 2014 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 4 months ill …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

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I started blogging some four years ago, primarily in order to reduce my workload in answering individual notes to me enquiring about my health and what I was doing to occupy my time.

It also became a vehicle to raise awareness about my illness, corticalbasal degeneration.

Little did I know then the amount of work that I was creating for myself!

But I am so grateful for the opportunities that have arisen from my writing, the friends that I have encountered, the new acquaintances that have been made, the speeches that I have delivered, the radio ramblings that Lance and I have been involved in and the awareness that has been created.

I am humbled that as we go into 2015, this blogsite is heading towards 200 000 hits.

Yet, as the figure goes up, I am also too aware of how much lonelier the path I walk becomes.

I was originally told, way back in 2007, that I would most probably depart this earth round and about 2012!

The interim years remind me of the frenetic pace that accompanies the preparation for undertaking international travel. And I have been extremely fortunate in doing so much of that!

In terms of travel, it’s the tickets, the passports, the visas, the currency, the bookings, the packing., and so on! Everything has to be just in place with no room for error.

In terms of facing death, it’s the policies, the insurance, the bank, the will, the house, the legal stuff, the funeral, the doctors, the family, the finances, the personal matters of the heart and soul, and so on! Everything, too, has to be just in place.

And, you know the feeling, when you arrive at the airport, rush through the check-in counter, then through passport control and into the waiting area of the departure and transit lounges. You sink into a chair, your luggage has been taken from you, a weight is lifted from your shoulders, not a care in the world, you hope like hell that everything has been taken care of, and if not, so what?

You watch, and wager and wait. Watch the crowds mill past, watch the wares on display in the various stores, wager your last few coins of local currency, and wait for your flight to be called.

You can’t go back from whence you have come and you can only think about the place you are going to!

If you are traveling alone, it’s a long and lonely wait. Despite being surrounded by a crowd of milling people, you are there by yourself and it becomes a lengthy wait!

And I have been waiting now for eight years and four months. The eight years have been a breeze that I have been blessed to experience.

My blogs document much of this period of my life. Thank you for allowing me to share this time with you.

The last four months have been increasingly more difficult. I am trying as much as possible to continue sharing these days with you, too. Unfortunately, my thoughts don’t always make it to my fingers and my fingers don’t make it to the keys! But thank you, too, for the words of encouragement and the acts of support in assisting me to share my time with you.

This is my ninth Christmas in the transit lounge. My body is growing tired of waiting, and I hope you will understand when I say that I am increasingly looking forward to that time when , at last, my flight will be called. My destination becomes increasingly more attractive. I long for the waiting to be over.

My wish to all of you this Christmas time – before you get to the transit lounge – is that you may discover your route in this life and know where your destination is, that you will continue to enjoy the trip and make the most of the hours given to you, and that you will sleep in Heavenly Peace.

“We regret to announce that Flight 777 to Heaven has been delayed yet again. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.”

A Load of Shed!

(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce
8 years 4 months ill …

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The last two weeks have been difficult.

More deaths (Phillip Hughes, the cricketer in Aus; John Lynch, Old Greys ex President in PE; Pierre Corkie, ex-teacher from Grey Bloem in Yemen).

More load shedding in the country as we face an uncertain electrical future.

More problems with petrol supplies and telephone communications.

More health challenges for me including bronchitis and gout, and more quinine tablets for the increasing spasms.

The last two weeks have been exciting.

We spent the weekend at the Bathurst Country Affair Food and Wine festival with my sister Ingrid and her husband Anton.

Sean and Phillip headed for Plettenberg Bay.

Pera has gone to New Zealand to surprise visit her sister Bridget whom she hasn’t seen in the last fourteen years.

The last two weeks have been hectic.

Planning for Christmas, preparing for Cape Town, packing for trips, sorting out taxes, attending Christmas parties and consulting doctors.

The last two weeks have been emotional.

Deaths, cancer diagnoses, illness, more CBD cases, hellos and goodbyes.

The last two weeks have been just a typical period in the experience and journey that we call Life.

Thanksgiving Weekend

Saturday 30 November 2013: 7 years 2 months on …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental Advantage CBD

I have not written for a while. Partly because I am allowing the CBD to take control of me and mostly because I am struggling with my vision and am unable to see properly.

Yesterday I went with Annette Jones and Liz Findlay for morning tea at the Grass Roof Restaurant on the way to Sardinia Bay, Port Elizabeth. It was the first time in a while that I have been out with them. See the pic on the previous blog. It was good being out in the first warm rays of the summer sun.

Last night we went to the Westcott’s Christmas Party. It was good seeing old friends again, especially those I have not seen in a while. The problem is that I am beginning to forget even the names of those closest to me!

However, I am tired and my body is tired, so I went to sleep early (there!) whilst the rest partied the night away.

I realised this morning that some of the people that were there, like Kathy and Matt Sexton (who coached our Southern Kings and gave us so much pleasure this year) who will be returning to New Zealand shortly, I will most probably never see again. And I didn’t say goodbye … I am sorry about that this morning … and there is no time to be sorry … I shall walk this way but once, so I need to get my mental strength back, if not my physical strength too.

So, here is just a short blog to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and Happy Christmas to all my Christian friends and any one else who celebrates Holiday Time at this time of the year. Enjoy the Holidays and the break from work and school and the lazy, hot summer days.

And to put you in the holiday mood, have a look at this link:

http://www.uptv.com/blog/uplifting-video-pentatonix-little-drummer-boy

I’ve Been There!

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Sunday 16 December 2012 (Reconciliation Day): 6 years 3 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

It’s a joke in our home. Often when something happens somewhere, or a place is shown on TV, then I will say “I’ve been there!”

Yes, I am fortunate to have been to many places around the world.

So when the news started filtering through on Friday evening about the horrific shooting of twenty odd elementary school children and six of their teachers in Connecticut, USA, I could say “I’ve been there!”

Not in Newtown itself, but just some 80km down the road on the coast in Greenwich, Connecticut.

It was the winter of January 1976. I was eighteen and was staying on the east coast of the United States for a while just before I was to return to South Africa after my exchange student year in Oklahoma. I was the guest of members of the Rotary Club of New York City.

I had taken the train from New York’s Grand Central Station to Greenwich, which is an affluent town on the east coast. I spent the weekend and then left from there by limousine for John F Kennedy airport, en route to London, Nairobi, Johannesburg and home to Cape Town.

Greenwich is a town similar to our St Francis Bay – large homes, waterways, canals, boats and the Ocean – not the Indian but the Atlantic Ocean.

Not that there was much water activity then. Being winter in the northern hemisphere, it was cold and snow covered the countryside.

Just up the road was Newtown – a small quiet inland community where wealthier people escape to live outside the rigour of New York City and commute to the metropolis every day. Safe and tranquil – no signs of walls or fences, no discord or safety concerns. Heaven on Earth!

It’s a part of the beautiful New England states of America.

Hardly a place where one would have expected the horrific tragedy of last Friday!

I’ve been there (on the East Coast), but I’ve not been there (on the edge of despair).

One cannot imagine what was going on in that killer’s mind. One can not imagine what is going on in the minds of the people of that community right now.

It’s difficult to put yourself into the place of another if you have not been there yourself. One can sympathise but not empathise.

There is so much unhappiness, despair, death, ill-health, financial woes and hunger in our world.

Just this last week, AlgoaFM ran a promotion whereby listeners were invited to nominate people who they felt qualified to receive R2000 worth of SPAR vouchers because of their needy circumstances.

I nominated a particularly deserving family – but they did not feature in the final awards!

When I heard the circumstances of other families and individuals who received the vouchers, I was astounded by the problems that people who live amongst us have to deal with on a daily basis. My nominated family’s problems paled into insignificance!

Through my weekly radio slot I have also communicated with and met numerous people from all walks of life and with all kinds of issues. It has humbled me and kept me going in my particular circumstances when I have seen that others carry far more baggage than I have to carry.

Sometimes, I can only sympathise; but sometimes I can empathise, because I have been there, too!

People have to deal with job losses. I can empathise – I have been there when I was forced to resign my job in 2002.

People have to deal with storms, floods and fires. I can empathise – just recently I also lost property and my car in the fires and floods that we experienced in the Eastern Cape.

People have to deal with financial woes. They don’t know from where their next meal is coming. I can only sympathise.

People have to deal with inter-personal relationships and sadness. I can empathise.

People have to deal with illness and terminal disease. I can empathise.

People have to deal with the death of parents. I can empathise – I have been there, when I had to deal with the death of my parents at an all too early age.

And people, like those parents in Newtown and Sandy Hook, have to deal with the death of their children. I can only sympathise because I cannot put myself in their place and understand their situation.

The Gospel message – the Good News to the world – that Christians, celebrate at this Christmas time is that God became man and put Himself into our place in the Person of Jesus.

God can say that He was there!

Yes, He was here. He became my substitute. Instead of me dying for my sins, Jesus, sent by God, died in my place, paid the penalty for my sin in full and thus I can be reconciled to God, sins forgiven and have the hope of eternal heaven. That’s the Christian Good News.

So as we celebrate the Good News at this Christmas time, let’s think about the so many people who surround us and who carry unbelievable burdens. Let’s not just think about them – let’s do something for them. Let’s also be able to say to them:

“For you, I was there … at Christmas 2012.”

Taking, Giving and Receiving

©2011 Edward C. Lunnon

Sunday 25 December 2011: 5 years 3 months on … Advantage ED

Christmas 2011!

It’s my sixth Christmas with CBD which I received in September of 2006. It was given to me as a gift by someone – no-one knows who – and when I took it, I did not know what it would give me and what it would take away from me.

Indeed, Christmas is a time of giving and receiving; a time of celebration and reflection.

In my life, I have been given so much – and so much more than most other people who have lived, currently live or who will still live on this earth.

But sometimes it becomes difficult to be thankful for what one has been given.

You only see what has been taken – and, in my life, I have had taken so much.

My father was taken by a severe stroke when I was twelve years old; my mother was taken by diabetes, figuratively and literally, bits at a time until her death in 1986.

It is especially at this time of the year that I miss not having experienced parents as many other people do.

I studied to become a teacher, but in 1988 I allowed that noble profession to be taken away from me. In order to receive better remuneration elsewhere, I allowed greed to take away my chosen vocation. It is sad that so many other teachers in our country – which needs education so desperately – have done the same.

In 2002, I had my then occupation taken away from me in a bizarre contrived set of lies and corporate circumstance. What had been given to me was taken away in the blink of an eye: the time it took to sign a signature with no conscience, almost in a situation similar to when Pontius Pilate washed his hands in water after he had allowed the decision to be made to crucify Jesus Christ.

And then came the Corticalbasal Degeneration – a motor neurone disease that gives and takes.  

As time progresses, it gives of itself more and more.

And it takes more and more – slowly, stealthily over the last six years it has been taking more and more of my body. First my left fingers and left hand; then my left arm, right hand, left toes, left foot, left leg …

It takes my short-term memory, some of my cognitive functions, and so much more …

…  my ability to do things that most other people take for granted: brushing teeth, shaving, swallowing, eating, picking up, writing, typing, talking, seeing, smelling, tasting, planning, sitting, breathing …

Slowly it takes more of my ability to make a contribution to society and my purpose in life.

It has taken my ability to work and my capacity to earn an income and to provide for my family. This year it has taken our house at St Francis Bay and the special gift that we had to spend quality time together as a family. And whilst, economically, it makes no financial sense to have a holiday house, I have become only too aware this December, as our boys take off to go to friends, just how much a beach house acts as a magnet to keep the family and friends together. Those are the “priceless” moments that we see in the TV advert for Mastercard!

As the knife and fork become difficult to operate and the food falls from the spoon, and the tremors and spasms increase, and I need more and more assistance to put on my shoes and put in a light bulb, the CBD takes more and more of my self-esteem.

Human nature, I guess, is also very fickle. We all know that it is “nobler to give than to receive.” But we definitely don’t like being taken for a ride. We don’t like continually buying rounds of drinks and never receiving a drink back. There is no such thing as a free lunch!

Few of us are so noble that we just continue giving and never expect something in return. I know of no one who continuously gives presents and doesn’t expect one back!

The more you can give people, the more people you find surround you. Conversely, the less you have to give, the less you find around you. Christmas cards have stopped coming (all but the annual one – thanks so much!), I suppose because I haven’t sent any back, and I guess that’s the reason that the text messages have become far fewer, the phone calls have almost dried up and the visits are non-existent.

Yes, it is so much easier to receive and to take rather than to give!

However, CBD cannot be human – it takes but it also gives: it has given me the ability to see life through very different eyes;  to be more tolerant (I do try!); to give more of myself; it has given me opportunities to travel abroad and locally; to write; to talk; to meet all kinds of interesting people and those who do give to me unconditionally; to have my chat programme on radio with Lance; to experience the kindness of those people from Hospice who visit me regularly and those medical personnel – the doctors, bio’s, orthotists, physio’s – who assist me to make my life more comfortable.

Christians believe that God Himself, in the ultimate act of giving to mankind, was born into this world as His Son, Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago. That is what we celebrate.

We are taught that “God gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

But it is in celebrating this Birthday and it is at this “happy” Christmas time, especially, that one tends to see what has been taken and not what has been given.

In this time of supposed goodwill and godliness; happiness and hope; family cohesiveness and friendship; snowmen and snowballs; purity, peace, presents and pretence; flicking lights and food; cheer and charity; tinsel and talk; and drinks and even more drinks, it is difficult sometimes to understand Life and to experience “Happy Holidays”.  No wonder that for some it becomes intolerable and they end up throwing a few snowballs at each other and at Life! Some even throw their lives away!

As I write this, the news informs us that the “Season to be Jolly” has resulted in the 82nd person, a thirty-six year old woman, jumping from our notorious Van Stadens Bridge on Christmas Day and ending her life.

So I am thankful that I am able to control my mind and to keep it focussed on 2012. I wonder sometimes where that Star will lead me. What I do know, is that I will receive and take far more than I will ever be able to give!

Despite the polyfilla to cover the cracks: the daily twenty odd tablets, the cortisone and now the quinine with its side-effects of headaches, rash, nausea, weakness, tiredness, and ringing in my ears (not bells nor beers!), I have my new leg brace for earthly support and Support from Him whose birth we celebrate today.

As Asaph wrote in Psalm 73 : 26

“My mind and my body may grow weak,

But God is my strength;

He is all I ever need. “

 

 

And So, this is Christmas …

Thursday 23 December 2010: 4 years 3 months on …

Season's Greetings!

I have never been a “Festive Season” person. I could quite easily escape the madness of this period and go from early December into late January!

This will be the 55th Festive Season that I will celebrate and the 5th one since I became ill in 2006. As I look back over the years, I have celebrated  Christmas and New Year’s with family, friends, strangers and stragglers. We have eaten our main meal as supper on Christmas Eve and as Christmas Day Lunch and as Christmas Day Supper.

There have been celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere traditions and in the more practical Southern Hemisphere protocol. We have done it the European style and the African style. We have eaten ‘hot’ food and ‘cold’ food – turkey and braai.

We have done it on the beach, in hotels, restaurants and at our home and at your home. We have done it with Grannies and parents, with laws and in-laws, with mine and yours, sometimes on an alternate basis and sometimes, we get it all messed up, and do it on a sequential basis.

We have done it in the heat of the summer and I have done it in the cold of the winter, in the southern hemisphere and in the northern hemisphere, under the blazing sun and in the ice cold snow.

I have done it in North America (in Oklahoma and New York) and in South Africa (in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and, ironically, in Natal).

We have done it –sometimes – peacefully, and – often – with much argument, stress and unhappiness. I don’t think that we are unique in this regard!

Some do it out of habit, some out of conviction, and some don’t know why they do it!

Some, I remember with much affection, such as the only white Christmas in 1976 in Sulphur, Oklahoma, with the Seips and the Whitleys (my American “parents”); others I would rather forget, such as New Year’s Eve on Times Square in New York City in 1987/88; and some I just have forgotten!

But, in the final analysis, it’s the time of the year when we celebrate New Beginnings: a New Year and a new Dispensation for Mankind when Jesus, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem, in order that we may have New Life.

How we deal with this time of the year is the same way as we deal with Life and its events at any time of the year. It is our own doing and our choice – it lies in our hands, our hearts and in our minds. 

I am reminded that one event, such as the massive snowfalls in Europe at this time, can have two very different consequences: on the one hand, there are the beautiful, peaceful snow scenes, the fun of snowmen and snowballs, children all wrapped up playing in the snow, people tobogganing and sledging and skiing and ice skating; and on the other hand, the chaotic scenes of the massive disruption of road, air and rail services, accidents, death and destruction.

Likewise, how we deal with this event of the “Festive Season”, can lead to one of two very different consequences:  one of unhappiness, depression, argument, loneliness; or one of peace, happiness, joy, serenity and fulfilment.

It is of our making.

My hope and prayers, this festive Season, is that I, and you, will have the ability to look and learn from the excitement and joy and glee of the children around us at this time. That we will find ourselves at the Manger of the Baby in Bethlehem, that we will learn from Him to live our lives in peace, humility, serenity, humbleness, giving and service to our fellow human beings.

That I may say, Father, take this cup from me, but not my will, but Yours, be done.

I wish all my readers, friends and family, wherever they may be on this Good Earth, a very special, happy and contented Christmas in 2010, and a New Year in 2011 that may be richly filled with God’s many blessings.