21. Laying Ghosts
Some of those ghosts were ones I laid before they were ghosts - in fact most of them. But no matter how those dream lives ended, and no matter how long ago they were, the memories are still deeply poignant. Today I've been drawing them out by walking streets familiar to my heart while listening to the music that was in my life at the time.
It's like deep-cleansing of wounds. It doesn't hurt; it's just emotional. But yes there have been tears, very cleansing tears.
I'm having the vitamin C therapy daily in Stamford Hill. Dr. W introduced my second husband (whom I'll call Jay) to Warren Kenton and Kabbalah and was very much in our lives at that time. What synchronicity it is that, when we were looking for somewhere to help with vitamin C, Lion found someone who was actually a friend of mine 20 years ago. He was a founder doctor with the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre (Bristol Cancer Centre) before moving back to South Africa. We lost touch but oh, what a joy to find he was exactly where I needed him to be. And to talk healing with him rather than trying to explain to a regulated, non-holistic medical doctor.
To get to Dr. W's we drive along the A1 through Stoke Newington ... Blackstock Road, Brownswood Road, Lordship Park, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Arbour Court... And I look out of the window and see young woman with tumbling red-brown curls getting off the bus. She's back from a shift at Capital Radio and walking home to her new husband full of news and happiness. She has no idea (how can she have?) that sixteen days after their first wedding anniversary, she will be a widow.
I watch her, seeing how unconfident she is of her talent as a radio reporter. I tell her how incredibly brave she is and how she will not only survive the terrible year ahead but find new life and love again.
With Dr. W, I talk of the emotional reasons behind cancer. He has also recovered from a malignant disease using only natural methods so he has experience as well as information. He nods and holds my hand and says 'you've got it - you know exactly why and what to do. Look at you - I've never seen you look so well and happy. Well done, well done. You can do this and I'm right here with you. We will do it together. I'm so glad God brought us back together. We must not lose touch again.'
And he tells me how just that morning, he had a phone call from a man with exactly the same diagnosis as mine. He took the RChop chemotherapy that I refused; it failed and now he has been given three months to live. He too is coming for intravenous vitamin C to see if it can be turned around but his immune system is shot to pieces. It's possible but...
Later, after the treatment, I take the tube down to Kings Cross where my Uncle Geoffrey died in the fire of 1987 and I stand a moment in front of the plaque commemorating the dead, remembering the black haired, jolly man who would swing me round in his arms as a child. Here's more on that story and its own particular synchronicity.
And then I take the Northern Line to Tufnel Park and walk up to Dartmouth Park where I'm staying with my friend and homeopath, Diane ... and where Jay and I lived for the last nine months of our marriage. I've re-built that area in my mind by making it the home of Josh, the much-loved hero of my novel, The Miracle Man, and I love it very deeply.
As I browse for a bottle of wine in what used to be George's Londis store (for Diane, not me - I'm not drinking now), I see the ghost of Jay walking past on the other pavement and, again, hear him saying into his mobile phone, 'Don't worry, darling, she's gone. We can be together now.'
And I walk along to the basement flat that we shared ... and see a woman surrounded by five dear friends and colleagues who are helping her move out of the flat. She's short-haired now, fatter and has a strained look and crow's feet. Well it's not surprising—she's feeling like an old mattress thrown out on the street. But just as the younger me didn't know her future, neither does this woman have any idea that one of those friends - a young woman called Karen - is considering her in depth.
Karen's mother had died three years before. As her father walks her home that night, she says to him, 'You've known Maggy quite a while now, haven't you?'
He answers, 'About six years.'
'Do you like her?'
'Yes. Very much.'
Karen takes his hand. 'Dad,' she says. 'I like her too. I really like her. When she's feeling better, why don't you ask her out?'
Her father, my Lion, did just that.