Tag Archives: I will never be a grandmother – mine is a different story. I was given the gift of ‘breast cancer’

Looking ahead

28 Jul

 

When I started this latest blog post I had every intention of writing more about the inspiring back2health conference at Exeter castle this past June but the universe had other plans. Trying to find the time and impetus to write has been extremely challenging these past few weeks, with one thing or another. Time has passed so rapidly and I have been focusing on this next phase of healing whilst also trying to support others with theirs.  Keeping up with a serious regime is a full-time job, and with mine ever-expanding -well it gets pretty overwhelming let me tell you!  But then there is always renewal like a long overdue trip to Brighton and  the Vision of Hope clinic with further healing from Dottie at New Approaches to cancer: as well as arranging to finally have my mercury fillings removed and other really exciting developments that I will share next time….

In the meantime………MUM…….

Last sunday marked  one year since mum’s passing – dad went on the exact same date July 20th, many years before…. So being ever the romantic, I take great comfort in that truth, and can look upon it as a miracle even. A bigger miracle perhaps would have been me actually finishing and posting this in a timely fashion, but here we are a week and some later…
July 20th I awoke early and went barefoot into the garden, still wet from the morning dew. Picking flowers to mark the occasion, tears began welling up, spilling everywhere remembering the first day we moved into this little house – our first since arriving back in England from Malaya as it was known when dad served in the British army. It’s Malaysia now – and the whole world recognizes that word lately.
It was an idyllic time of adventurous experiences until the day my three year old brother Kenny unexpectedly died under tragic circumstances. Witnessing the horror engraved on my parents faces when they returned from the hospital without Kenny remains etched in my memory. I was 8 at the time, and my other brother Michael a few years my junior. I do remember pretending that everything was alright and I can even remember the teacher reading a special bible passage about death. All the other children knew what had happened as news travelled fast in the army camp – but the interesting thing was that I chose to ‘pretend’ it was all happening to someone else – somehow I had managed to find a way to transmute the pain and create a different reality in my head where it was all make-believe……a concept that would play a big part in shaping who I was to become in later life. Ultimately my parents were strong enough to survive this tragedy and went on to have two more girls, my dear sisters, who brought them much happiness, but I could not then realise the full extent of their grief until reading the heart-breaking letters that my mother had carefully kept all these long years in her top drawer. I will not go into detail here but the letters and telegrams brought alive that pain when the heart breaking truth saw the light of day. My brother, during what should have been a straightforward tonsillectomy, was given an overdose of anesthetic from which he never woke up.  No-one took responsibility, and to make matters worse the army refused to let my father accompany the body of his dead son home to England. As a concession they said my mother and us children could, but as the letters showed – my father was in deep mourning and to be parted from the rest of his loved ones, could have fueled his complete breakdown. When the time is right, I have promised myself that I will re-open those letters and write to the army for some kind of explanation.

And so in an attempt to mark the one year period of remembrance, I was putting a photo of mum and dad together into a frame, when I found another of mum taken on her 80th birthday – sitting beside a giant bunch of sunflowers and smiling – another omen I thought…..as we have come to associate mum with these giant sunbeams. She stayed as long as she could with us, and I like to think they are both with my little brother Kenny now, and we the grown-ups must continue forging ahead with our own lives.  Later, listening to the radio I shed more tears upon hearing that when the recent Malaysian airline was shot down, many bodies were found amongst a field of sunflowers. It will come as no surprise then when I tell you that I chose to imagine that mum may have been at the gates when those dear spirits arrived in heaven……but wait there’s more….
Just yesterday I fought the crowd of thousands to witness the Giants in Liverpool. (You’ll have to google that.) It was the giant grandmother returning from the alternate universe to tell her story about the Liverpool lads who fought during the First World War that was calling out to me and yes – secretly in my heart, it was my mother Edna who was up there towering above the world, walking through the streets of Liverpool with her smiles and sunbeams for everyone…..
Yes – the spectacular was all make-believe, but for me this was hi-lighting the strength of memories and indeed of the influence of our elders in today’s society.

I am no longer the little eight year old girl in a foreign land; I have lived many experiences and have many stories still to tell. At 62 – I will never be a grandmother – mine is a different story. I was given the gift of ‘breast cancer’, as my challenge to overcome, and to help pioneer better choices in treatment…
‘Gift’? – I hear you say…..
Yes – Life and all that comes with it is a gift…..We are all on an amazing journey to find our way back home – so yes – make your life the biggest ‘make-believe’ you can muster. It may just save your life!