Moving on

I have now definitely moved into a new stage with the disease. It was confirmed last week following a scan that my recent weight-loss, sickness and tiredness means what I already knew from my “gut instinct”! So I’m now off chemo, and have been “signed off” by the oncology department. Though it’s a relief not to have to go for more poisons to be pumped into my body on a regular basis, there’s also a feeling of loss in no longer trying to limit the disease. Overall the oncology unit has done a really good job, and I’m grateful to them for keeping the disease at bay for so long, and enabling me to do some amazing things over the last year.

I’m now under a palliative care team based at a hospice handily placed literally round the corner from where I live. They will help me manage the symptoms as the disease develops and help me through the latter stages of this journey. It’s been interesting listening to the debates on assisted dying, in response to Lord Falconer’s bill on the subject. I can see all sides of the arguments, but can’t help thinking that as my current good days become similar to my current not-so-good days, and my not-so-good days become worse days, then subject to discussion with family it would be a dignified and attractive option to choose to go without lingering on. I may of course feel differently when the time comes!    

I’ve written before about me not living with regrets regarding the work I’ve done. I feel very fortunate that I don’t have regrets about any choices I’ve made in life. That’s not to say I don’t wonder what might have happened had I chosen a different path at various junctions along the way: but I’ve always made the choice and gone with it. The same cannot be said regarding regrets for the future! In his final days, Iain Banks wrote a list of the things he regrets he will not witness, and I thought it would be therapeutic for me to do the same. I’ve not included obvious ones relating to family and friends. And I’m doing two lists: one of those things I know I won’t witness and one of those that it’s probable I’ll miss but I’ll retain a bit of optimism! So here goes.

Things I regret I’m not going to see / do:

  • the current incompetent and obnoxious government voted out of office
  • Halifax Town play at Wembley
  • complete the Lake District Wainwrights (this was always going to be a long shot!)
  • visit Khiraule village in the Nepalese Himalayas
  • Richard Branson’s family go into space (though I understand they are planning to come back)
  • Trident scrapped
  • England win back the Ashes
  • watch an opera at La Scala

Things I regret I’m probably going to miss:

  • The Grand Depart and Le Tour going through the Yorkshire Dales
  • Headingley’s first Festival of Ideas that I instigated
  • promoting at the Festival my idea for developing an annual car-free, cycle friendly day in Headingley
  • the Scottish referendum (it’s likely to be a No vote – but even so major constitutional issues will be / are being raised that I think have the potential for a massive overhaul of British politics. I think I now favour a North of England Parliament -and of course other regions – with devolved powers and a much less powerful Westminster Parliament).

That’s it for now. I’m now focussing on getting to London this afternoon for tomorrow’s investiture, feeling humbled by the amazing efforts of family, London friends, and the palliative care team to get me there in one piece!



About Richard Crossley

Resident of Headingley in Leeds. Community activist. Soul fed by mountains and the Yorkshire Dales. Follow football and cricket. Career in community development and social housing - cut short in early 2013 by cancer diagnosis.
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13 Responses to Moving on

  1. Jen says:

    I’m so delighted you’re coming to London tonight, Richard. Can’t wait to see you.
    Things I regret not having done: getting a proper chauffeur’s cap for Steve for tomorrow at Buck House.
    Just want to check one thing: Newcastle would be the capital city of Northern England, yes?

  2. Lesley says:

    Hi Richard
    I gather your journey to London was more trouble than it should have been. I hope tomorrow goes brilliantly – and if you see Prince Charles, ask him what he wrote in those letters!
    I love your lists and really hope you will see some of those on the second one – particularly the Festival of Ideas, which is going to be great fun.
    You are – and always will be – a huge inspiration to me, not least in this last year, but before that too. I remember a walk along the beach at Penbryn where you were coming up with some idea or another – might have been the parish council (one of our less successful plans!) – and you were warming to your theme as usual – you certainly had me convinced! You are always so refreshingly clear about things – not because you’re simplistic, but because you’ve thought them through. And you’ll change your mind too, if you think you were wrong, which is something not everyone is good at.

    Well, I didn’t mean this to turn into a long paeon (which isn’t quite the right word – I wrote it and then looked it up – it’s a hymn of praise to Apollo – but I’m replacing Apollo with you!). And I look forward to seeing you soon and hearing all about your trip to pick up your gong! Lesley x x

  3. Chris Foren says:

    I hope you enjoyed the investiture, Richard and that you’re not feeling too grotty. But is anyone going to see Halifax play at Wembley?

  4. jane anthony says:

    Dear Richard
    I hope you’ve a wonderful day at the palace and get home safely. I think your idea for a car free day in Headingley is absolutely brilliant! If there’s anything I can do to help promote it I will!
    xx Jane

  5. Pat and Lhakpa Sherpa says:

    Richard we are so so pleased we met you and regret our paths did not cross sooner. What an inspiration you are. The people of Khiraule will always be thinking of you. We are so pleased you made it up to Gokyo Lakes in the Everest region. A huge Namaste and Love from the Himalayas.
    Pat and Lhakpa Sherpa xx

  6. Billi says:

    Dear Richard… If the view from the next realm is a zillionth the view from Hotel Everest, then this climatizing process you have been going through will have been worth every second of the journey to get there.

    Know that I will carry your Nepal message on every stage I go on for the rest of this incarnation.

    Big Hug to you, your partner and family.

  7. Lucy says:

    It was great to see you at Steve and Jen’s on Friday and to meet Emma & Alex and catch up a little with Jane. Hope the trip back to Leeds went well and that the post investiture glow with all it’s ironies keeps you going. The photos with the beefeaters were fantastic!
    Much love, thinking of you – will be in touch Lucy

  8. Liz says:

    Thanks again Richard for your inspiring and dignified posting. I think we should make sure your idea for a traffic free, cycle friendly day in Headingley is definitely be up for discussion at our Create Your Future day at the Festival of Ideas. Then we can make your idea live into the future.

    Love and hope you get pleasure, as you did last year, from the spring blossom. x

  9. Jane Barkell says:

    ‘Services to Neighbourhoods and Social Housing Tenants’ is such a great reason for getting an OBE, Richard – and I’m so glad you got to London and could catch up with some of ‘us southerners’ too. The on-going reflection on your journey, in this post, seems to me to be typically thoughtful and honest, with your usual sensitivity and humour – thank you for sharing it.
    Do you think when Halifax play at Wembley, we could have a cycle friendly Brent day? Best love xxx

  10. Peter Kirkpatrick says:

    Hi Richard, Your posts have been inspirational and empowering. I wish you and your family all of the best wishes on behalf of the former members of the National tenants voice. I am not a spiritual person, but I wish you comfort as your journey continues. I lost my wife 3 years ago, I woke up to find that she had died in her sleep aged 47, and I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye. Please take the time to say yours. Its been good to have met you, you have made a difference, peace be with you, Peter Kirkpatrick, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

  11. JIM KIERAN says:

    Thanks for you blog, Richard. I don’t know how you find the time or the energy, or the courage, to do it. I visit my blog about once every 18 months to post something! No wonder I don’t have any followers!
    I think the traffic-free day for Headingley would be marvellous. We’re keen to organise a ‘high street’ ‘ Strip the Willow’ (an iconic ceilidh dance) and having the traffic out of the equation would remove the one main obstacle. We’ve seen it done in Scotland at new year to great effect.
    I hope it gets a talking space at the Festival and that you get to see it, Richard.

  12. Liz Jeffery says:

    So very pleased to hear you managed to get to London to receive your gong, Richard. So very well-deserved – and I think you should get another for all the work you’ve done in Headingley. Glad to say the Festival of Ideas looks set to be another great development – like the Film Club and HEART Rock for Nepal. You’ve been and continue to be an inspiration. I so admire the dignity, courage and open-ness in your blog too.

    love Liz J x

  13. Helen Minett says:

    Hi Richard
    Helen S sent us your blog after we asked after you and thought I’d feed in to my first ever blog!
    Nowadays we know each other to have a fun chat at mutually friends do’s However maybe the time has come for me to forgive you for winning the tenant participation contracts that I went for and was well pissed of that you were successful in. Maybe you getting a visit to Buck House and me not might give me the clue that you had the edge. Take care, Helen Minett X

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