Yes, that bastard cancer has taken another great person.
Julia Watson, author of Breakfast, School Run, Chemo died last night, surrounded by her loving family and friends.
I won’t say she “lost her battle with cancer” because that terminology would grossly underplay her mighty fight. It was a battle she knew she would lose eventually, but that was never the point. Julia knew, better than any of us, that death is not a fightable foe.
It awaits us all, and succumbing to it is not a failure. It is the natural way of things even if it’s timing is just too damn early sometimes to seem like anything but a crushing, hopeless, unnatural defeat.
Despite everything, Julia Watson kept on smiling. Listen to her beautiful podcast interview with Meshel Laurie.
Julia Watson started a blog exactly three years ago when she was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer. At the time she was given months to live, which just seemed impossible to her.
Julia was nothing if not vibrantly alive.
She had four young daughters and a lovely husband.
She’d just decided to take the big leap and follow her passion into writing. She was about to go back to study, was working passionately for refugees and had found her dream house. I don’t know that anyone in the world has had more to live for than Julia Watson did in December of 2013.
She contacted me in early 2015 to tell me that she would make a great guest on my podcast. She also flattered me by confiding that all her friends thought we were twins, separated at birth. How could I resist?
So we got together to podcast and she told me the story of her life.
A childhood in which she was preyed upon by an adult, and bullied at school, just about broke her, but she fought back as Julia was always inclined to do.
She seemed to me to have an inherent understanding of her own worth, even as others tried their best to diminish it. Somewhere down very deep inside Julia, a fire of self-esteem refused to be snuffed.
Eventually she met Gaz, a man described by his oldest friends as a rough diamond, polished by his relationship with Julia into a beautiful husband and father.
Their partnership fanned that flame inside Julia, and in her words, she found herself, “living the dream.”
When they discovered their fourth daughter was a Downs Syndrome child, Julia believed it was the really big, challenging event she’d always felt awaited her in life. That child brought so much love and light into the family, Julia wrote about her relief.
If that was the hardest life had to throw at her, she felt she was doing pretty well.
Then came her cancer diagnosis, and her decision to blog about it and reach out to other cancer sufferers around the world.
She hoped for a miracle, or course, but she soon started to notice miracles all around her, and in doing so she inspired thousands, including myself, to live this life differently, right now.