Wednesday, July 09, 2008

thank you and thinking about Karin

Thank you to all of you who think about Hugh - you each know him in ways that differ to my way of knowing him and it is very touching to think of a network of people who hold thoughts of Hugh with care and respect. I have been thinking a lot about Hugh's daughter, Karin, who is only four years old. I imagine that she will want to find all the 'traces' of her father that she can as she grows older. Some of Hugh's readers carry these traces as his stories weave into their lives - with all sorts of consequences by the sounds :). And I wonder how it would be to ask if any of you would like to contribute letters to Karin that I could keep for her until she is older. You may want to pass letters to me privately and I will think of the best way to do this - I don't want the on-line obit writers flooding my private email! Karin has a very big spirit - such a wonderfully feisty little girl. She still jumps all over her father, treating him far more casually than the rest of us - and yet aware of his limits - fetching his shoes, making sure a gate is opened.
best wishes,

Saturday, July 05, 2008

update on Hugh

Hello to Hugh's loyal fans. I apologise that I haven't posted regularly as I had intended to do so. It is just too hard to write often about my brother's fading life - to imagine what he would want me to say to you - instead I am flooded with my own thoughts and feelings about his predicament - and what his illness means and will mean for his wife, little girl and for my parents. Hugh is indeed alive and he, his wife and little daughter continue to live with my parents. He has now completed a 6 month course of palliative chemotherapy which has worked in that the tumour is again being held at bay. However, as the specialist said might happen, the treatment hasn't returned him an increased quality of life. He spends his days mostly on the couch, listening to the radio and writing in short bursts by hand. He feels too unsteady to sit up for too long, but manages occasional trips out to our local village and can mange to visit family. He was unable to use the voice-activated software we organised for him - learning new skills has proved too difficult. Despite the ravages to his brain from the treatment and the cancer, he is remarkably lucid and sociable, although he tires very easily and dozes a lot. Amazingly he is in no pain. He needs some steroids to help him to retain some steadiness with mobility and to keep hallucinations at bay. The specialist says the treatment is likely to work for months not for years. In the meantime Hugh faces all the health risks of being so sedentary and a few months ago he was in hospital for a week with clots in his lungs. I will let you all know how Hugh is and if his life is shorter than my own (we all live with uncertainty although like most of us are spared having to acknowledge how fragile life is on such a day-to-day basis) I will let you know of his passing so no need to scan the obituaries! For my husband and I, we try to companion our family as best we can, at odds with and surrendering to the lessons of patience, kindness and tolerance.
with best wishes to you all, Hugh's sister, Catherine