Archive for May, 2010

Organ donation – what they don’t talk about

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I have previously written about our choice to try to make something positive from Carys’s untimely death.  It seemed to the only choice we could make.  When I entered that Intensive Care ward, and saw all those beds, each representing a tragedy for another family, when I passed those families in the corridors, how could I not wish that some of them got their prayers answered?

So, even before they turned off the life support we were asked if we would allow organ donation, and I said, unhesitatingly “Yes”.  We got a first letter some 3 weeks later telling me of a 34 yr old lady who had been waiting for 4 yrs who now has a kidney, as a 54 yrs who had been on dialysis for 6 yrs.  Her liver is helping a 64 yrs old man who is married with a family.  A 50 yr married man has her lungs.  Today I learnt that her cornea is allowing a 77 lady to perhaps see her grandchildren, and her aortic valve beats in the chest of a 27 yr old who may find love and joy now she is healthy.

How can we not do this?  How can we not offer this chance to others when we would have given anything for our prayers to be answered?  If you haven’t signed up for organ donation… do it today!

Progress is fragile

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

This has been a real lesson.  In work we tend to tick things when they are ‘done’, but in real life progress is more subtle and fragile.  It is much more like gardening, and the tender shoots are very vulnerable when they first emerge.  We have done a great job of pulling together, getting organised and making things work but under this thin skin of ‘wins’ is a soft and tender core that is oh so vulnerable; bad dreams and being triggered by the silliest of things.  I was watching a rugby Man of the Year award; you’d think that was pretty safe territory till the winning player said that he had recently lost his father and dedicated his success to him.  I immediately welled up.  Or again, I was listening to the radio yesterday and they were talking about how people are using websites, such as Facebook,  as living memorials to keep alive the memories of their lost ones…  One of my daughters has already announced that she is not looking forward to Xmas for all the things that we will be missing and seems to have written it off already. 

I suspect that this fragility of progress applies not only in situations like ours but in all manner of changes.  You have to protect these tender shoots.  I wish I knew how…

I’m different…

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

I was thinking this morning about my blog and some of the responses that I got to it, and I realised that there are some experiences that just change you in ways that alter your DNA.   People who have not shared those experiences can never understand those who have.  My father’s generation went to war; at 18 he was serving in the army, and fighting for his country.  He knew what it was to lose friends, to see homes go up in smoke, to have the very fabric of his world threatened by something alien.  Despite being brought up on countless war movies and comics depicting these themes, I have no idea what it was to live through that.  There are other similarly defining experiences and loss is a key one, whether it is loss of a loved one, loss of a limb or faculty, loss of wealth or health. 

We all take for granted those things that are ever present in our lives.  I can truly say that we knew my wife was a special presence in our lives, but like the oxygen you breath, you do expect it to be there.  I don’t think this is something that you ever get over; it is merely something that you get used to.  My children have said this.  They know that they have somehow been deprived of something that has defined them, and this event too will fundamentally alter their views and lives.  They will never again be able to believe that those you love can not suddenly vanish from your world.

One person shared with me that that they too had lost their mother at 25 and I knew that she knew what my children were feeling; another kind soul said that she had no such experience.  I’m glad of this but it is gap that cannot be spanned by empathy. 

We seem to believe that that talking makes everything better somehow, but I have to tell you that the experience thus far in this home is that it changes nothing and is pretty pointless.  In the end you are left with the same reality and simply have to adapt.

We all believe that we are different, and of course we are, but I am coming to believe that it is our experiences, and how we interpret them that define us…

Personal Update

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

I know that some of you are wondering how things are going at Cooke Towers, and I have been rather silent of late.  Life has been taking a firm hand a forcing me to take things rather easy and it has as if Life has pushed a giant pause button on my life.  The latest twist in this tale was that whilst out doing some work on our pond with my son, I managed to put my back out so even more sitting around doing nothing seems to have been prescribed!

Team Cooke is doing remarkably well in many ways but the children are all still deep in morning/missing their mum, and nothing can ever make this right for them.  Oddly, time doesn’t seem to make things easier, it simply builds new habits and expectations.  I was told that my tests are all clear and see the specialist on Monday.

General Election – Change Lesson no3 – All Change!

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

I had always felt that we, the great British public, were pretty sick of both politics and politicians, and was not at all surprised by the result, which for me was a pronouncement of “We don’t like/ trust any of you!”  And today we stand on a brand new shore, the first peacetime coalition government in 70 yrs. 

The electorate have forced their representatives to change their behaviours and ways of working.  I don’t think any of us have any idea if it will work, but we were sick and tired of ‘business as usual’. 

Sometimes, a whole new model and thinking the unthinkable is called for.  The recent changes in my personal circumstances have taken me to this place and now, as a nation, we are going there too.  It maybe in your life or your business this is a very good time to consider radical change rather than just one more tweak…