I just have to share a very special card with you. A handmade birthday card made with love by my cousin Lesley – or ‘Number One Cousin Lesley’ as I fondly refer to her.
Lesley became unwell in December 2008 which progressed to her contracting encephalitis and we thought she was going to die. She was unwell and in hospital first at the John Radcliff in Oxford, then in High Wycombe and lastly in Amersham for a very long time.
Little by little she improved enough to come home. The encephalitis has left Lesley suffering with seizures that can largely not be predicted and has caused memory and concentration problems too. Lesley has a cocktail of drugs to take each day to try and reduce the likelihood and severity of the seizures and has to have a carer with her 24-7.
Before Lesley became unwell she lived her life at a million miles and hour: she ran around after two children, helped on the school PTA, ran her own business, loved blasting about on her new motorbike and making time for family and friends. She was also a keen crafter and loved cross stitch, paper crafting and card making. I was fairly new to paper crafting at this time and we had plans to visit shows and have crafting days where we could share what we knew and encourage each other.
Her illness has meant that she can not do the things she used to and there are some things, such as riding a motorbike that are very likely going to be out of her reach forever – unless medical science comes up with a miracle new medication (our family have our fingers well and truly crossed on this front).
Twice a week Lesley goes to Headway in Bourne End which is a charity that helps people who have suffered brain trauma whether through illness such as Lesley, or through accidents. It helps them with exercises and activities to help memory as well as providing companionship. At recent classes they have had a volunteer with crafting materials and Lesley has been putting these to good use.
Apparently it was very difficult for Lesley to find a picture with just me in to put on the card – I am the one who usually takes all the photos and my aunt had a difficult time tracking one down!
I LOVE THIS CARD and fully understand and appreciate the effort that Lesley went to in creating it - once a crafter always a crafter I say and think that Lesley is doing great!
We never know what tomorrow may bring and should embrace the life and opportunities that we have today – and give a helping hand to those who have had normal life taken from them through no fault of their own.
To end on a more cheery note, the photo below is of my brother, Lesley and me being silly at my parents house – something we do often and are very good at!