|Uncle Stan, in blue. August 2015|
All seven of them are dynamic and ageless and fit as oxes. Growing up my mum would always say "you've got good genes, you're a Lloyd!" with such gusto that I absolutely believed that I was invincible. Still do. And I say the same thing to my kids now, whenever one of them gets whiny or feigns illness I hear myself repeating my mum's words to them and it makes me inwardly smile.
So today I was shocked to my core to hear that my Uncle Stan, one of my heroes and my mentor from a very young age, has stomach cancer. The mass it too large to operate and so they are going to try and treat it, which probably means chemo. His wife, Auntie Jean, is a mess understandably, as they are a loving couple and very close. He has a score of kids and grand kids to help with things but that doesn't stop me wishing I could be there right now, to pop over for a cup of tea with him.
It was my uncle Stan that got me started on my career. I worked for him from the age of 11 and always looked up to him. Not just because he was a successful businessman but because he was kind and funny and one of those typical English gentlemen who always wore a suit and never talked about his time served during the war. Thirty six years later, I can still conjure up the look of him when we worked together. His brown sunburned arms and face, shirt sleeves rolled up, and a cigarette constantly in the corner of his mouth.
It is inevitable that I will lose family members or they will get sick, I know that. But it doesn't make it any easier. I'm hoping that this thing gets cured and that he has many many years to enjoy his retirement and his family. I find it really hard to imagine anything less.