Dark Skyes

January 31, 2022

Bentley Bentayga under the northern lights in Scotland for cancer research uk

Cancer Research

This is personal

I’m about to shake a tin and ask you to help me give something back for the people I will never know but cannot ever thank enough.

Bentley bentayga with northern lights and the Isle of Skye

Cancer. A journey is how it was described to us. The journey we were now on wasn’t one we asked for, ever wanted to take or consider. I’m here to admit, while it has been difficult, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

Two Of The Lucky Ones

2016 feels like it was the year a pause button was pressed. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her treatment, our beloved dog had to be put to sleep and we didn’t really deal with it all that well. It wasn’t an immediate change but the facts are that in the intervening years, we pretty much lost everything. Ourselves, our old life, contact with friends, family and reality.

During 2021, many of the things we ran from were faced. Painfully. Brutally. Honestly. The running had to end and the elephants in the room were so numerous we could’ve been on safari. During the last few years, there has been little in the way of constant. Erratic is pretty much the only word that can cover the cancer journey. But it has ended, for us, being able to start again. Not carry on, or go back to what was, for that would be to ignore that it bustled its way into our life and changed everything.

While running, the largest issue we didn’t deal with was the truth. Truth about how we felt. Truth about our circumstances. Truth about each other. The only truth was that we loved each other more than we knew. It’s a cliche, for which I apoligise, but one of us without the other can work. It’s just that this isn’t what we want. 

The cancer that Jo had even ten years ago, would have resulted in mastectomy and, highly probable, death. When you realise that, you begin to notice the world around you a little more. We began to enjoy dark nights. The blanket of darkness, less people around you, less noise and distraction. It allowed you to have peace in your mind. The darkness of our situation would temporarily lift and we became more and more fascinated with stars.

Neither one of us is religious although we do believe in something more spiritual. The dark nights allowed us to feel that connection and given the grave situations we’ve had, the blanket of stars, the mystical northern lights and even the passing of satellites overhead has made us feel more alive than any sunrise or sunset. It is a strange notion but realising just how small you are in the scale of the world, universe and everything, makes you realise the trivialities you no longer need.

The treatment that Jo received was nothing short of miraculous. The specialists, nurses, doctors, porters, care workers and those who listened in the darkest of hours, were and are, everthing.

And that is why I’ve produced a series of prints based around our love of the darkness. Not becuase it is a dour or sad place, but because it was where we could see the light. It has been where we escaped to and are still wide eyed kids whenever a clear night is above us. 

The main images were when we escaped to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Ever since we first went there for a holiday together, it has always delivered in terms of rejouvinating us. Our last visit was the first week of 2022 and we were once again treated to a canopy of stars, the Milky Way, passing satellites and a lone shooting star.

These images are produced in order to give 100% of the profit generated straight back to Cancer Research. The people who help diagnose, treat, nurse, operate and support all of us who go through cancer treatment, are in the majority, unknown to us. But without them, their drive to treat and beat cancer, my wife would not be here to say humbly from the depths of our souls, thank you.

If you can make any donation rather than buying a print, please do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alex-lawrence7 Believe me, every single penny makes a difference.

Thank you.

Alex & Jo.

Bentley bentayga at sunrise on the Isle of Skye

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