Kanu Oredae
What I was told

The cancer diaries: Preparing for Christmas

Peter Kranz & Rose BemuPETER KRANZ

WELL it's an onerous task; joyful though. The boxes and bags of decorations past make a magical appearance from where Rose has hidden them all year. They are dusted off and the ritual begins.

"Does this garland go here on the front door?"

"How about these bells?"

"Can we put the tree in the window?"

"Let's put tinsel around these PNG carvings."

"We need more lights - look at the neighbours!"

At least this year we have Ellis - an enthusiastic helper who is thoroughly into the spirit of Christmas decorating - to help arrange things.

I become a supernumerary; the women have taken over.

So I become the disc jockey and start with tradition - Handel, Bach, Berlioz, Russian blockbusters, the Nine Lessons.  But I meet with some push-back. 

"Play real Christmas music! How about Johnny Mathis, Elvis, Don Williams, Buble and Dolly. And that one "Don't they know it's Christmas."

I succumb.

Christmas preparations are underway.

My abiding thought as I select the right CD's is that this may be Rose's last Christmas.

The cancer seems to be in retreat for now, but the blood results are still a bit disturbing so her chemo treatment has been extended.

I have been through this twice before. Both mum and my sister Kay had a 'last Christmas' where there seemed to be remission and we celebrated in style only to have that evil devil come back with a vengeance a month or so later.

Judas got his revenge.

But this Christmas will be good for Rose.  Decorations, watching ceremonies on TV (maybe the midnight mass), waking up early for presents, carols, cards, turkey, pudding with all the trimmings, a tearful watching of Miracle on 34th Street, then, in the afternoon, A Christmas Story. Kisses, hugs, silly hats.

I'm beginning to get a feeling for Pascal. Have a bet.  If you believe in God you've got nothing to lose. But, if you are an atheist, you stand to lose everything.

I'm not one for the pokies, but reckon Pascal may have a point. I am also aware of the counter-arguments. You can't fake belief for a perceived benefit.

But maybe there's a point to it all. I’ve just reread Grahame Green's The Power and Glory. Greene was a seriously twisted soul, but I believe he died in faith. Maybe even the torture of questioning faith is worth something to God.

So we go on to celebrate Christmas for Rose in the best possible traditions.  European traditions are pretty stupid in Australia or Papua New Guinea. So we have a black Santa and fake snow and Greek salad with our cold turkey. Seems appropriate. Felice Navidad.


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Arthur Williams

Peter and Rose hope you have a good Christmas among your friends and family. Make it one to remember.

As soon as I read your question, asking for a favourite Xmas movie my answer came out: 'The Bells of St Marys'.....1945.

It was then as a seven year old I fell in love with 30 year old Ingrid Bergman as Sister Mary Benedict the leading lady to Father O'Malley – played by Bing Crosby.

Perhaps a subconscious influence that sent this Baptist back to PNG in 1973 not as kiap but volunteer for the Catholic Mission?

Sadly she succumbed to cancer on her 67th birthday in 1982.

IMDB attributes a quote too her, “Time is shortening. But everyday that I challenge this cancer and survive is a victory for me.”

Fraternally and prayerfully.

Peter Kranz

Oh dear a typo. Should be Miracle on 34th Street of course. (I was confused with 42nd Street - my favourite musical). And I would add It's a Wonderful Life (Capra) with an honourable mention to The Apartment (Billy Wilder). Any advance on favourite Christmas movies?

Well fixed - KJ

Laura Tamakoshi

Best wishes and prayers for Peter and Rose. I don't know them but my best friend is fighting cancer as are several other close friends and we're hoping they beat the dreaded fiend ....they sound like a very brave and upbeat couple.

Marlene Dee Potoura

Merry Christmas to you and Rose. May you both have a joyous time.

`Robin Lillicrapp

Well done for persisting with the family tradition. Sounds like there is action aplenty in the Kranz village. If Rose is up to it, get her to compose a paragraph or two. Best wishes to you all.

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