The HR Juggler

Day 15: Fragments and Gratitude

Posted on: December 15, 2013


Today’s post is written by Gemma Reucroft, otherwise known as the lovely @HR_Gem, keen tweeter and talented blogger.

Artwork for today (and every day!) is by the brilliant Simon Heath.


When I was a child, my mother became seriously ill.  The cause was unknown, and stayed unknown, for five long years.  Because of my age, I remember this time in small pieces, fragments.

I remember pushing my mother around the shops in a wheelchair when she could no longer walk.  I remember my father walking through the front door, rolling up his sleeves and starting the washing up, still in his work shirt and tie.  I remember my mother, terribly, terribly thin.  I remember playing in the gardens of the private hospital she spent time in.  I remember my father forgetting to brush my hair on the day of the annual school photograph, and my mother being cross with him when the copy came home.  I remember my grandmother, weeping.

Eventually, when the cause of the illness could not be determined, my mother was effectively written off by the medical establishment.  It was concluded, horrifically, that she was making it up.  Attention seeking.  I won’t go into more detail, out of respect for my mother.  And it is simply, too painful, even now.

Eventually, after five years, she recovered.  A sympathetic doctor tried one more test, and the cause of five years of hell was found, just like that.  An operation was performed.  Within days, she was well.  Home.  It was over.

I don’t remember this, but I am told my father rang my grandmother from the hospital, and said that my mother could stand.  That she was free from pain.  When the call came, it was raining.  Apparently I took my umbrella, and ran up and down the street, knocking the doors of our neighbours, telling them ‘my mother is better, my mother is better’.

Our family motto has been ever thus: you only come this way once.  My mother has never been angry, despite how she was treated, and some of that treatment was truly terrible.  She could have been bitter, she could have been consumed by it.  But she chose, instead, to enjoy everything.

This history has left me with little time for negativity, or negative people.  People who complain about nothing much.  People who see the bad automatically before they see the good, the possible, the beauty. Life is quite simply, too short, too precious.

Christmas in our family is a wonderful time.  There are piles of presents, flowing champagne, a ridiculous amount of food.  There is also a great deal of gratitude, for each other, our health, everything that we have.

In some ways we are lucky.  Some people don’t realise the precious gifts that they have until it is too late.  So don’t wait until tomorrow, next week, someday, to do the things that make you happy.  Carpe that diem!

10 Responses to "Day 15: Fragments and Gratitude"

Great post! I enjoyed reading it and I will definately ” Carpe that Diem!” Great illustration from Simon, love the brightly coloured umbrella…could almost imagine an excited Gemma knocking on doors with it…

A lovely uplifting post, grounded in reality, the symbolism of Simon’s illustration is perfect too 🙂 Thank you!

I agree Gem, although I’m afraid that I become gripped by injustice in the world and sometimes feel compelled to do things for people who get caught up in such things and appear not to have the courage or skills to escape from them. Some people see this as negative.

A heartwarming story.

What a beautiful blog post. It must be awful not to be believed. Perfect illustration by Simon. Here’s to seeking positivity in situations and seeing the good in others 🙂

Gem, what a touching post! Your attitude is commendable and it did resonate with me. Thanks for sharing and here’s to life and to your brave Mum! Chin chin, let the champagne flow! X

Maximum chutzpah, zero self pity and loaded with gritty smiling determination. Life should be a smiling shoulder charge. Despite the fact that I can’t find my glasses this morning, I enjoyed this post.

Thank you Gemma for this humbling heart warming story. It truly makes you sit back and think of all the presious things we have in life to be grateful for and most importantly our attitude towards the challenges in our lives journey. Happiness does not mean not having any problems its how we chose to deal with them.

Nadolig Llawn

Leah – I was going to comment but you captured the essence of how I’m feeling and put it better than I could, so +1 from me.

Thank you everyone for your comments on the post.

[…] Post fifteen, from Gemma Reucroft, is an uplifting and moving tale. I’m delighted to imagine that umbrella remaining tightly furled as the sun rains down for many more years to come. […]

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