Monday, 12 February 2018

Five Years Ago

I wrote this five years ago, and didn't publish it, it felt too raw and real and I wasn't ready to share all of this with anyone else. But now I am.

My Mum and Dad and me, in better days - (Mum could never keep her eyes open in photo's)




In September 2010 I was diagnosed with Chronic Myloid Leukaemia (CML)
In October 2011 my Dad had a Heart attack, he nearly died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, but he made it through and had a stent put in.
In December 2011 my Mum was an out patient for a scan which found a lump.
In February 2012 my Mum was admitted to hospital, because she had an obstruction in her stomach
In May 2012 my Mum died

From September 2010 to now, I have got through each day, one day at a time.

My Dad has become increasingly frail and has falls, he takes his Warfarin but he bleeds and his skin is like tissue paper. He has taken to over sharing, some of his bleeds in more personal areas, now Mum is not around. I did not expect that.

My Mum's will is taking a lot of sorting out, it is not resolved, and it is over a year since she died.

My Dad lives in the beautiful big 3 storey house that he has lived in for all his married life, but like my Mum, is making plans to live just in the downstairs. My Mum died in the bed we put in the dining room when the the hospital could do nothing more for her.

When we visit, I cook a Sunday dinner and we eat in the room my Mum died in.

My Dad made me go and see my Mum after she died. He told me to hold her hand. So I did. And now when I think of her, I think of her cold body and her open gaping mouth and stiff tongue. This is not the way I want to remember my Mum a year after her death, I need to remember the vital, strong women that taught me to stand my ground.

I want to remember the woman who slapped me around the face mid argument because she was infuriated with me sleeping with my boyfriend at 17.

I want to remember the woman who built, sit in, sand trains when we were small at the beach in Borth.

I want to remember the heated political debates around the dining table.

And as I struggle to remember what my Mum was, what my Dad was (before age and grumpy old man-ness came along). I want to remember me, before my cancer, before Mum's cancer. I feel, adrift.

I have three shining lights that keep me from completely going off the rails (although at times I am pretty close). My daughters and my husband. I am also fortunate to have some great friends.

They remind me what hope is, what joy looks like, there is laughter and light and I hope my daughters mostly see that in me, and not all this. Hopefully, I save this for the late nights and the quiet moments when they are not around.

So, moving forward, what do I do?


  • I don't think I need to be strong for everybody else, I think I need to focus on me for a bit.
  • I need to be more open about how I am feeling, I have read the bereavement pamphlet the doctor gave me. I think I may be 'bottling things up' (As my boss would say, 'No shit, Sherlock').
  •  I don't think I need to weep, but I do need to accept I am sad my Mum has died. 
  • And I need to remember not to get confused about the whole who is my Mum thing (being adopted and all) and adding an unnecessary layer to my grief. My Mum died, just because she wasn't biological makes not one iota of difference. She was mine.
  • I really need to get my head round my own cancer, come on, it has been nearly 3 years, I have had painful bone marrow biopsies, I take medicine referred to as Chemo every day. Come on Jane, accept it!!! 

Now 5 years things have improved, Mum lives on in my heart, telling me off when I do things wrong and generally being Mum. Dad is in a home. The big beautiful three story house is sold, to pay for Dad's care. And I think I have accepted the CML, it is now as much a part of me as my bum, I'm not particularly fond of it, but here it is big and proud. 
So I share this now for the people in the depths of despair to remind them that, time will heal. Time doesn't make us forget but it does make things feel a little better. 
I am in a completely different place now. Happier, contented and ready for all that life can throw at me, because, to be frank, if I can cope with all of that, I can cope with anything.

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