Walking backwards from Christmas
2017 has been both golden and challenging for Marilyn & me. Its greatest highlight was our Golden Wedding Anniversary in September, celebrated in our daughter Cressida’s big new home in Wolverhampton, with surprise visits from much of our family. One of the parties was zany, in a pub with Cressida and boys, and niece Emma and boys. Cressida took some pictures with this caption:
Wishing my mum and dad, Marilyn Timms and Howard Timms, an amazing Golden Wedding Anniversary!!!!!
Fifty years!!!! Incredible, just like them.
A smaller highlight was in May, when we acted opposite each other on stage for the first time this millennium. It was a workshop production of my latest play Oscar Wilde’s Women, in which Marilyn played a French maid, a suffragist, and Oscar’s mother, and I played Oscar. Living out fantasies?
Artistically it’s been a good year. Marilyn organized another of her Dead Poets Live readings by actors, including the two of us, as part of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival. The audience was good in size and appreciation. Also, Marilyn finalized the contents of her first poetry book, Poppy Juice, a collection to be launched next spring. My play was part of the PhD work I started in February, on collective creativity of drama, following the MA completed last year.
I mentioned challenges. During the play’s development, our niece/surrogate daughter, Emma, was dangerously ill with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Luckily we live near the hospital, and were able to visit daily. Afterwards, I was her chemo buddy for three months. Emma was well on the way towards remission (in the Autumn), when our next challenge arrived.
I collapsed in a dead faint on July 2. Marilyn’s prompt first aid had me rushed into hospital, saving my life. Anaemia and stomach cancer. After a few horrific days, the cancer was diagnosed as a rare form, not so aggressive as most, and it was soon completely removed. I am now four months into daily chemotherapy to prevent it recurring, and hopefully adjusted to all the side effects except some tiredness. The Golden Wedding was luckily just at the right time – I was moderately recovered from anaemia and the surgery, and a few days from starting the rigours of chemo.
Unfortunately, Marilyn tripped and had a nasty fall just before my surgery, and a head injury has affected her hearing. So, while she has cared wonderfully for me, especially with difficulties over food, sometimes the caring roles have had to be reversed.
The support from family and friends during the last half-year has been very thoughtful and uplifting. Our thanks to so many, many people. . .
Marilyn & Howard December 2017