The past few months have seen quite a mix of the different shades of life.
Last October when Sally and I were on holiday my brother phoned and said that he'd been diagnosed with throat cancer.
On getting back home and then to work, a colleague and close friend told me that he'd just been diagnosed with stomach cancer.
My brother began radiotherapy.
My friend began chemotherapy.
In February Sally and I spent a month in New Zealand visiting our youngest daughter Katie who's been living and working there since early 2018. That was wonderful.
The chemotherapy was ineffective for me friend, so there was then immunotherapy. He passed away at the end of May. His funeral took place a few days ago.
The radiotherapy was ineffective for my brother. He had a laryngectomy just a few days after my friends passing. Thankfully, that seems to have gone well and he's recovering well. It is, though, a life-changing procedure.
Last weekend Sally and I celebrated a premature ruby wedding anniversary and we had a party for friends and family. The real thing is on July 27th, but Katie was back in the UK for a few weeks, so we took the opportunity of celebrating it at a time when she was around.
The was a time of joy. Sally said a few words. She mentioned the challenges of married life and also how my "coming out as trans" had helped us grow closer rather than pushed us apart. Not everyone there had heard of Andrea - though these days we're no sure who does know and who doesn't. It's not a secret, but no public announcements had been made before. So, the cat is now completely out of the bag. Thinking about it, I'm sure that it's better both for the cat and for me. Katie also said some lovely things, as did Sally's brother.
2018 and 2019 have included a mix of fear and hope, sadness and joy. I guess, that's what life is.