Saturday, 30 March 2013

One month on ... not so brave now

My friend Helen posted this on face book today and it so resonated.  Helen's son, Dom, also had a sarcoma.  Another beautiful young man just starting out in life.  He is fine.  They've had a much better ending than us (to the say the very least) but once you've been touched by cancer in a young person I don't believe you can ever be the same again.  I spent a long time in the teenage cancer ward with Helen.  She was funny, bossy (in a really good way) and her strength often made me feel really safe. I felt we kind of clung together sometimes - both stuck in a world where neither of us wanted to be - but we just had to get on.  She came to Chloe's Celebration of Life with Dom and her husband.  I thought that was really brave.  There must be a temptation to just run as far away from cancer as possible.  But they haven't done this.  So admire Helen and  this quote really reminds me of her ...... and of me too.

Chloe died just over a month ago now.  In some ways it feels like way longer than that; and in other ways I feel she is still here.  Anyone who faces cancer, and decides to fight, has to be brave.  It's vile, horrific and terrifying.  Just the facts - to me.  But looking back I don't feel I felt brave; most of the time I was utterly and absolutely terrified.  Anxiety would kick off first thing in the morning, until I went in to see how she was, and, depending on the result of that, would either ease off a little or rise into an absolute all consuming terror.  Life really was sometimes a nightmare - although I must remind myself not all of the time.  Nobody would know, of course.  when your child is ill you can't do emotions.  They look to you for a lead on how things are.  I became the most brilliant actress and I don't regret this.  I think that this helped Chloe to have a good life whilst she was ill.

So when I saw this post it reminded me that Helen - such a larger than life, strong, assertive, woman, probably also has her terrors underneath and that sometimes all we need is a little kindness and little recognition that this really really hurts.  And that hurting is ok.

So today this is how I'm feeling.  I am strong, I am resilient.  I know that.  For my child I was driven by a love that was all encompassing - there was no option but to be strong.  And I keep going for my other beautiful daughter and my little ray of sunshine, my nine month old grandchild, but underneath I feel like ten layers of skin have been ripped off and I'm walking through fire.  It really really hurts this loss thing.

But I need hope today as that is my promise to myself - and to all other bereaved parents who I hope at some point may receive a tiny bit of comfort from my ramblings.  My journey is to find hope.  So off for a walk with Ralphie dog and my lovely friend Rosie and then a pamper afternoon with some of Chloe's friends Mums.

Lesson for today - I'm not going to paint that smile on quite so brightly.  I'm too tired to do that.  I want to just quietly enjoy the company of people at love; but maybe I won't be quite so brave today.

I love you and miss you Chloe.  With all my heart.


  1. As a bereaved parent, I do get comfort from your writing. Thank you for putting this tormenting pain into words.

  2. thank you so much dear Suzanne for posting. Want to know how you are doing. Tried to email you but can't seem to find your email address. xxx