I started writing this blog titled "it's been a rough week" last week. It was mums day 1 to day 12 post chemo no' 3 and it was hard. Least hard for me. As my aunt was the one looking after her and then mum was the one going through it, but there is something about being far away from it that makes it so hard too. Not being able to help. Not being able to see how bad she is. Not being able to just sit with her. So at the end of her bad bout of post chemo hell she came to stay with me for a few days and it was so lovely to have her.
This chemo round had wiped her. It made her so very nauseous that she couldn't even listen to podcasts or watch telly. Which makes her feel shit as it is. I can't imagine feeling held hostage to just your bed on a normal day let alone when u feel life is passing you by and you don't have as much time. So not only do you feel so sick you don't wanna talk to anyone, you can't eat, it's hard to take your medication. You then just feel like you are doing nothing. You are just here. Worse than existing and before mum had got cancer, that had been her fears. Just existing. So when she got cancer she decided "fuck that shit, I'm gonna live" and then chemo said "ha, not right now you are not"
So the words touched her lips "I don't think I can do this" and my biggest fears rose in my throat sitting there waiting to spew out. "Mum's gonna give up, mums gonna give up and I have to be ok with it. I cannot be angry"
But I was angry. But anger is surely fear coming out in a way that I know how to express. I know how to be angry. Well. Spent my teens being the best angry person so I feel I have that common pattern down. But really. I was just scared.
There's a whole heap of understanding I have in this situation but selfishly, my 14 year old self wants to stomp my feet and say try harder. You CAN do this. Do NOT give up. For me. For me you cannot give up.
But that's not fair, although granted, I don't think many other people would feel anything different. I'm not beating myself up. But I still don't think its fair.
But... day 12 13 14 she felt better. And on day 16 as she drove home from mine in London, back to sunny slough, she felt... normal. She messaged to say she had a glorious drive back and the sun had been shining and she felt normal. Not like a cancer patient. Not Ill. Not surviving. Just normal. And my heart skipped a beat and I breathed.
You don't realise you are not breathing until you do again.
Day 17 18 19 that followed have been "normal" too. No grand plans of taking over the world and climbing Everest of running a marathon. Fuck that. Currently she is basquing in the glory of normal life and I couldn't be more pleased. Having a cuppa with her best mate, then having Chinese with her other bessie. Then reading books and watching TV. Coming to mine for a roast last night like our good ol Sunday's we used to have regularly. It all felt blissfully normal.
I think there is a lot of pressure when you are given a time that's tick ticking away, to go out into the world and "do" but really, all you wanna do when you feel like "you" has been stripped away, is just "be"
Mum doesn't need to take over the world. Well not just yet :) She needs to just be. Being isnt existing. Being "content" versus being unhappy for me seems to be the difference between living and existing. If you can be content and grateful with your lot. With the car ride home as the sun shines on your face, then you don't have to stress about "doing" anything. But I'm sure, whilst you are spending your days missing that feeling of the sun on your face or the simple act of having a cuppa with your oldest friend, then you miss the magic cos you are worrying about what you "should be doing" and that, that is not living.
Mum's always said the cancer is hear to teach her (us) something. It's not happening "to" her but it's happening "for" and as each stage passes you do realise there is so much to discover and learn. About life, about relationships and dynamics and strength and being "you" Not all the lessons are nice, or fun. Some are so painful I'd like to bury my head in the dirty, muddy pitt that is cancer.
But you don't. You can't. And instead mum is teaching me to embrace it all. She has no idea how wonderful she has always been. Anything good in me is from her. And I am so proud of everything she is. I think she thinks I want her to become something else. Something extraordinary but I just want her to be her, and to be happy being her. Cos she is extraordinary already.
Now we brace ourselves for chemo no" 4 and armour up for the shitty bit but know that there is sunshine at the other side. We can't wait for the sunshine.