It may never seem so, but this one’s from the heart.
Nobody really expects me to remember much about when my mum had cancer, but sometimes, bits shine through. I remember my dad crying silently when we went to visit her. I remember my aunt, who was nine months pregnant, dropping everything and coming to our aid. I remember how my mum got diagnosed the day we got handed the keys to our house. I remember the whole family trip to the beach my grandparents organised to keep my mind off of my ill mum. I remember how, through all of it, my mum was always smiling and telling me to be glad we were still together then.
I remember how my dad and my uncles used to take it in turns to take me to school on their shoulders, so that I could never feel that my mum wasn’t there. My aunt used to cook for us every day, so we wouldn’t feel the lack of my mum’s cooking. When her baby daughter was born, it was really good for us. It made everyone happy after so much sadness. I guess maybe she helped my mum get through as well. She always says to me now that she only got through because she was fighting for something. She says she was fighting so she could see us get older and so we would never feel the lack of a mother like she did, so we’d always have her there.
It seems silly now, nine years on, that all that’s left is the scar of the fear, the strength of the hope and the ‘I remembers’ from the girl who was only five when it all ended. When I was three years old I already knew how to call 999 and tell them if anything happened. I had to know. My mum was allowed to take care of me, but who would take care of her?
I bet if my mum was writing this there would be five hundred pages by now. Her own mother passed away when she was fifteen, and I guess mum must have been afraid that would happen to her. But my mum can’t write this right now, because she’s downstairs with my dad, in front of the fireplace, happy and warm, because now she’s seen all of those things she never thought she would live to witness. My first day at secondary school, her 40th, my little brother’s 10th.
I’m near to tears now, because I can never know what she was going through quite as well as she does. Did it hurt? Was it hard to smile all the way through? Could she have ever done it without my dad, her siblings and her dad?
It seems ridiculous, when I think about it, that I could think of my problems with Barbie now as bad. I’m writing this at eleven pm on New Year’s Eve, but the words just keep on coming. Nine years ago my mum fought cancer and she won. My mum. My own mother. She battled every day for six months through intensive chemotherapy and a further year and a half recovering, taking frequent trips to the hospital, all so she could see me grow up. All of us can look at her as an example in our lives, because there is always something or someone worth fighting for. She hoped, when everything was dark and the world looked bleak, she hoped. Not a day goes by when I’m not inspired by my mum, because she is a living reminder, that no matter how bad things seem, nothing can destroy hope, and love, and if you just wish hard enough, that little spark of hope can turn into the biggest of fires, that’ll be all you need to come out of the darkness.
So here’s to all of those people who are fighting cancer now, for everyone who survived cancer and everyone who didn’t.
Here’s to everyone who’s fought or is fighting to see their loved ones at this new year, this new start. Here’s to them all, everyone who can look upon New Year’s Day as a new start, as a chance to leave behind, but never forget, the dark times they’ve faced and start anew.
Happy New Year and I HOPE 2014 will be your best year yet.