My mother was told she had Breast Cancer in July of 2004, her first comment to her Dr was ‘that’s a bit shit’, and then she continued to give it the finger until her death in November 2008.
Her decline was met with resistance, sometimes she was graceful sometimes she was more like a stubborn child, always strong though even having the foresight and courage to ask if it was OK to go, accepting death.
Dads diagnosis came in September of 2008 so whilst Mum was ending her battle Dad was beginning his. Coupled with losing his love of 40+ years the time between her passing and his in May 2011 was the worst time of all our lives.
In that time though I saw another side to my father, a softer side which I had never seen. Up until my mother’s death I had never seen him cry, rarely heard I love you.
From her death a part of him was lost but equally a part of him was set free and had Mum not passed first perhaps I would never have seen that side to him.
The cancer spread quickly in Dad and within 2 ½ years his battle ended, though he continued to think he would always pull through, even joking on his last day that he’d pay anything for some more oxygen….we couldn’t if we did have….that day we thought he had more time.
Cancer does the most fantastic job of messing up a family, breaking down people yet providing insights into how a family works and where the strengths lie. It really does allow you to focus your attention where it is rightly needed. You cannot shy away from it. It doesn’t go away. My brother and I are healthy, Cancer has taken loved ones yet we’ve come away stronger.
As well as losing both our parents we have also lost a cousin, Dawn, (my father’s sister Jens daughter) to Skin Cancer, she was only 28, after first being diagnosed at 18.
Uncle Peter (my Mothers sister Judy’s husband) passed away all too quickly from Asbestos related Lung Cancer. Uncle Michael (my father’s brother) from among other things, Lung Cancer.
Cousin Martins father died of Prostate Cancer.
My Mum got it right in her first diagnosis ‘that’s a bit shit’ and also in how she continued afterwards.
As with the events I’ve done in the past I am going to be raising money for Cancer Research.
Here’s the link if you would like to donate, £1 would do nicely or more of course.