Life, Death & the In-between

Today I was registering at a new Doctor's practice, I moved to Camden a few months ago & I'm finally getting around to doing this, prompted mainly by the fact that I wasn't feeling particularly healthy at the weekend.


I was required to complete a form.  The questions were the usual ones, but I hadn't filled out a form like this in many years.


I was startled to find myself writing down a list of ailments my family have suffered, including the following:

  • My father died of a sudden heart-attack, aged 52 
  • My mother died of early onset Alzheimer’s aged 64
  • My Nanny had skin cancer (Melanoma)
  • My Grandfather died of Alzheimer’s 
  • My Aunt had MS & Diabetes
  • My sister had Bowel Cancer
  • My other sister had another kind of Cancer


And these were just a list of the MAJOR illnesses in my immediate family!  There are many more others- including M.E, Chronic back pain, including curvature of the spine, chronic fatigue, etc. etc.


It made me think, to be honest it brought a tear to my eye, because I needed to work out how old my Mum had been when she passed away, and today was the first time it really hit me at how young she was. 

My Mum suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s, the worst kind of "In-Between" you could possibly imagine.  (Tears are rolling down my cheeks as I type).  She was hospitalised for 14 years of her life before she passed away which is why I'd lost touch with how young my Mum actually was.   


My Mum, as I knew her wasn't really with us any more, not for about 13 years of her life, it was difficult to be completely powerless while watching someone I love so much, slowly, painfully pass away.  I was 19 the last time my Mum spoke to me & knew who I was. 


There are other types of In-Between, I've experienced some of those, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and stresses, to name a few.  All states where I had blocks on being able to function, to enjoy life on life's terms, I was seeking ways to avoid painful experiences & those ways were numbing & paradoxically painful all at the same time.  

I don't recommend any of them. 


So, that's the In-Between.


And then there was Death...


My father died suddenly, and in contrast to Alzheimer’s one could consider it a blessing, personally it's a challenge to see it that way, and still I am processing grief.  Some of you reading this will know that only 2 weeks ago I spent a weekend grieving a little bit more, because I miss my Daddy who died almost 11 years ago.  


He was warned, by his doctors to change his diet, stop smoking, stop drinking, and to exercise more.  He was warned by me to take time off from his work when he needed to rest.  (The words I used to him only weeks before he died were "If you were to drop down dead tomorrow, they'd find someone to replace you, you've got to take some time off!")  They did by the way (Find someone to replace him). 


So that's the Death part of the blog post done...



Now, all there's left to talk about is Life, the good part :)


I started my own personal path of growth & self discovery when I was 21, partly if the truth be told because of the difficulty I'd experienced taking care of my Mother when she first was diagnosed.  (Not that it's actually possible to categorically diagnose Alzheimer’s without an autopsy).  Anyway, it led me into discovering support groups & books that really helped me understand life, myself & my relationships a whole lot more.  

It was around this time I made the decision to be happy, I made the decision to become connected to the best of my ability to a power that I chose to call God (For want of a better word at the time). 


It was around this time that  I realised, that sure, in this world, there is an awful lot of negative things happening, an awful lot of pain, but that if I wanted to do anything about it the best way to do it was to change ME.


From that point on I've been dedicated to creating & re-creating me into the best person I can be.  I fail, in some things and I totally fail in lots of other things.  But, do you know what?  I'm happy, really truly, quietly happy.


I wake up in the morning & I feel grateful to be alive & I say thanks, thanks to God, the universe, whatever, whoever is listening (Usually Goldie pricks her ears, wondering who I'm talking to).


Today I'm happy because, although I have plenty that I still have to learn, I'm doing my best.   Today I literally do stop & smell the roses when I walk by some, today I do sit beside the canal & just enjoy being alive, watching the sky, the water, the weeping willow sway in the wind.   Today I notice what a miracle it is to be alive. 

Today I’m thankful for the wonderful friendships & relationships I’ve built with wonderful people who I’m honoured to have in my life.


Today I'm living :)


So, my question to you is- which would you prefer? 
Death, Life, or the In-Between?   


It is always your choice.  



Claire Boyles, Coach, Speaker, Spiritual Entrepreneur
Claire Boyles, Coach, Speaker, Spiritual Entrepreneur

Write a comment

Comments: 10
  • #1

    b @ (Monday, 28 June 2010 19:23)

    Sometimes when we are forced to reassess our life [like you filling in the docs form] it helps us reflesh our memory about how we choose to live and to pick up on small areas we could improve on. It's all good

    You are a mighty woman Claire and #goodenergy to you in all you do. love and light :)

  • #2

    b @ (Monday, 28 June 2010 19:28)

    ...I meant 'refresh' not reflesh

  • #3

    Claire Boyles LifeMatters (Monday, 28 June 2010 19:53)

    reflesh, refresh, both kinda work :)

    Thank you for such a lovely compliment, I'm bowled over.

    & Yes I think that's the key, noticing the things that we can improve upon, but taking them one at a time, or it can be overwhelming!

  • #4

    Lisa Blackler (Tuesday, 29 June 2010 01:19)

    Funny how was thinking of writing a similar blog abouit gratitude!

    If tragedy has any lesson at all it is that every day is there to be lived. I try to remember that each day, and to be the best me that I can be. There is nothing lse, and so much that is around us is just a distraction.

  • #5

    Cindy (Tuesday, 29 June 2010 01:42)

    wonderful post Claire, and beautifully written. I too lost my Mother very early, when she was 52 coz of stroke caused by the usual; smoking, drink, overweight & tons of stress. As I neared the milestone I became more & more terrified that I too would suddenly go. However, 3 years later...
    I also recently registered with a practice in Crouch End and had to do the same and wow, its a real reality check when you have to list all those things. I am lucky in that my Dad at 80 is still going strong despite a triple bypass op 19 years ago. He cycles round Europe on his own now :) & my sisters are mostly ok (so I am blessed).
    And you are so right, we have to make the most of our lives while we can, and I too have had 3 years of changing my life and make the most of everyday.
    I really loved this post and cried a wee bit too. thanks for such an honest account.
    Warm regards

  • #6

    Sarah Cairncross (Tuesday, 29 June 2010 01:51)

    Hi Claire - I loved this post. I loved the honesty and your willingness to open up and share your truth and your bleak and weak moments and also how you made the decision to choose something else.. that is powerful.

    It took me a long time to realise I have the power to choose my life.

    And people sharing their stories like you just have, helped me wake up - for that is what it was :)

    So thank you. And once again, I thank the people and experiences I have had, for without them I would not be the person I am today and you know what? I like me and I love life and every moment I am aware of... awareness is magic and so are you.

    Have a fab day!

  • #7

    geekwithabeek (glenda) (Tuesday, 29 June 2010 14:57)

    Hi Claire,

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. I really felt your pain. I hope you realise how inspirational you are.

    I have been very lucky, and have not experienced death and sickness in the way you have. But I did experience a very traumatic event that left me in a very dark place for many years. I think I spent a couple of years in the “In-between”. For some time, I was angry for the years I lost. But I have since realised that to really experience proper highs in life, we have to experience serious lows too.

    I think the scars we have, both physical and emotional, are evidence that we got back up, we survived, and we overcame. And we are the lucky ones!

    Sometimes, I forget to count my blessings, so thank you for reminding me to count them everyday!!

  • #8

    Claire Boyles (Tuesday, 29 June 2010 18:18)

    @ Lisa thank you & yes, you are so right there are so many distractions around, being grateful for what we do have is very powerful.

    @ Cindy, thank you so much for your lovely comments. I'm delighted to here your Dad got a second lease of life after his bypass, many do not take the opportunity to really live after they've had such experiences, it's great he has- because you get to enjoy him in your life for longer :)

    @ Glenda thank for for such wow compliments, I am glad to hear that there is a possibility that I'll inspire others to live life to the full, really enjoy it & be happy, healthy & wealthy. It is my purpose on this planet to help as many people as I can in being happy. As I said in my post, the best way I can do this is by doing my best to be the best person I can, and I find so often that sharing honestly & openly about my own experiences gives me great strength & support- because I get such awesome loving feedback from great people just like you, AND that others can identify and have faith that there's nothing wrong with us when we cry- it's a healthy part of being human, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

    I love my life & I'm so happy I can share with others ways that I've found happiness. Not all areas of my life are perfect, far from it but I'm very content with it how it is & I've set clear goals to change the things I can improve on.

    Thank you all so much for sharing your stories & showing me such love from your lovely comments :)


  • #9

    Dr. Walter Sims (Wednesday, 30 June 2010 07:24)

    This is a beautiful blog. I thank you for sharing where you are right now...and that is in a place of happiness. Yes, life is full of trials and tribulations, but we can still can choose to be happy. You are such an inspiration to the many people that you minister to! Thanks again Claire!

    You are loved!
    Your biggest fan
    Dr. Sims

  • #10

    Rob (Wednesday, 30 June 2010 08:01)

    Love your quotes on Twitter and this is a very honest, open blog post. Who knows what trigger puts people on the right track with regard to their priorities but if this helps even one person it will be worthwhile.
    My own Dad died from cancer at 65. He had been ill but fought it bravely over three years. For a long time I resented older people who had a longer life when he had been deprived of it. The pain eases though never goes away. The good memories remain strong and even now, four and a half years on I still think of him every day.
    In many ways the way I live life with my own four kids is guided by how he did (or didn't) act with me, shaped as well of course by how my wife acts with me and them and how this was shaped by her own parents. Life is interlinked in so many ways after all.
    I was in London on business when he finally passed away and it is the biggest regret in my life.
    We should always make time for those closest to us, while trying in the wider world to make something of a difference for others.
    You are doing that.