… I’ve been too long, I’m glad to be back …
AC/DC fans will recognise this line from the opening verse of Back in Black, the title track of the band’s 1980 album and their first with new lead singer Brian Johnson. The song, written by Johnson, Angus and Malcolm Young, is a tribute to former frontman, Bon Scott who died in February 1980.
In my younger days, I wasn’t much of an AC/DC fan, but the older I get, the more I appreciate these iconic Aussie rockers 🎸 I particularly like their early material with Bon on lead vocals. It was bold, primal and loud with a threatening edge, yet Bon managed to bring a cheeky, playful, irreverent quality to the music, and his antics in some of the early video clips tickled my funny bone.
Back in Black also holds significance for me because it features in one of our all-time favourite family movies – The School of Rock. Directed by Richard Linklater, starring Jack Black, Paramount Pictures, 2003. If you haven’t seen it, you must do yourself a favour.
So, ‘what’s this got to do with anything?’ I hear you ask …
Well, this is my first post in around ten months and …
… I’ve been [away] too long [and] I’m glad to be back …
I started 2019 with the best of intentions, writing regularly and loving it. I had a theme for the year and a list of 19 things to make me happier in 2019. The stage was set for a super, creative, productive year. Then … life got in the way … in all its enigmatic, unpredictable, challenging glory.
I describe 2019 as either my ‘annus horribilis’ or my ‘annus mirabilis’ (‘wonderful year’), depending on my mood and perspective. In truth, it was both at different times and often at the same time. Every cloud has a silver lining and all that.
Many of the clouds hovering over us last year were storm clouds, which sent lightning bolts and shock waves to wreak havoc on the health and wellbeing of our immediate and extended family.
I had a second operation on my right eye following a complication from cataract surgery in late 2018; a few months later, arthroscopic surgery to release my frozen right shoulder.
More critically, Ty* was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a biopsy, then underwent a radical prostatectomy in April. Hot on those heels was the removal of a sizeable basal cell carcinoma from the side of his face 😳
Then late in May, Ty’s father passed away at the ripe old age of 91 … four days into our long-awaited 6-week European vacation 😢 Sadly, Bernie had been in the grip of advancing dementia for several years, and while a shadow of his former self, he was still the much-admired and loved family patriarch. His passing came as both a welcome relief – anyone who has witnessed the decline of a loved one with dementia will understand – and a huge, unexpected blow … or as unexpected as the death of a nonagenarian can be. Certainly, we would not have flown half-way around the world if we’d known his passing was imminent.
And if that wasn’t enough, 2019 saw other family members deal with a hip replacement, a knee replacement, a blood clot, a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis, an early-stage melanoma, a hernia, a broken toe, a couple of broken arms, a heart scare and a debilitating skin condition … and they were just some of the health challenges.
Bad luck also befell my four-legged boy, Harvey – the 10-year-old Cavoodle. After several months of being ‘not quite right’ and multiple visits to the vet, he also found himself on the operating table having a 2.8kg tumour removed with his spleen. Yes, 2.8kg and an extremely rare malignancy 😟
That’s the ‘horribilus’ part.
On the upside, Ty’s rehabilitation is ongoing, but he’s cancer-free, fighting fit and his long-term prognosis is great 🙌 Harvey is enjoying a much-improved quality of life and continues to bring joy and comfort into our daily lives 🤗 Other family members have either recovered and resumed normal activities or learned to manage their conditions and come to grips with a new ‘normal’ 😌
And despite surgeries, rehab and bereavement scuppering some of our plans, 2019 still made good on its promise to be our designated ‘Year of Travel’. Ty and I managed several trips – local, interstate and overseas – to one or two familiar places and other new destinations on our ‘bucket list’.
Then to close out the year, a milestone celebration … Will’s* 21st birthday. Not sure how that happened, really 🤷♀️ One minute, I’m nursing him swaddled contentedly in my arms, getting high on his newborn scent 🤱 The next, he’s enveloping me in a big man-hug and a cloud of Calvin Klein, grazing my cheek with his three-day growth. No surprise, my emotions were mixed. I felt grief of sorts for the lost boy, yet delight in the young man who’s taken his place. Regardless, it was a highlight in a year that fairly resembled a rollercoaster ride 🎢
But then, that’s life, isn’t it?
As Forrest Gump’s mother so sagely observed:
Life is “… like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~ (Forrest Gump. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Paramount Pictures, 1994)
And we might have had more than our share of Turkish Delights 😫 in 2019, but I’m hoping 2020 is all Hazelnut Whirls 😊
* names have been changed