Tuesday 27 August 2013

It's a funny old place

It's a funny old place: the world.   Once it's been seriously rocked it's very hard to get one's footing.  Just as you think you're on slightly firmer ground; the thick black mud pulls you back down and it's like you never got out in the first place.
It's a funny old thing : grief.   Once it's been unleashed one never really knows where it's going.  It's really hard to get a handle on it.  So chaotic; so very unpredictable, so angry, so brutal.  A bit of a design fault on God's part; if I may be so bold as to say so.
Six months since my child died.  Six months of very strange emotions.  Six months of hell; even six months of heaven. Six months of spinning like a top and wanting the spinning never to stop.  If it does it reveals the deafening silence and that is definitely the worse thing about grief.  It strips you bare, isolates you from the world, makes life a thousand/ a million times more difficult - but it is the silence that is the hardest to bare.  Knowing I'll never hear her voice again, never be told to "get a life", that I'm "so embarrassing" that she wants a "shakeaway" just as I'm heading home.
Oh what I'd give for a minute/a second to hear her, to hold her hand to see her whisk off into the night with her friends - too much make up, half a bottle of my Channel tipped over her beautiful body, high heels, short skirt. The beauty of youth up against the hideousness of cancer. A real contrast that one.  
Not fair; but who's listening anyway.  It's a funny thing life.
And then just when you feel it's too dark to bare; some delicate shoots of hope tear little holes in the gloom.  I find if I nurture them they get a little stronger; a little less fragile.  I almost feel them taking root and showing a way that has some hope.  And with those little shoots come lovely gentle memories - like balm on the angry bloody sores of grief.  Such a beautiful, funny, tenacious, spirited young woman. I couldn't have been a prouder Mum.  And that's good. Isn't it?
On Monday I sailed down the river.  She was with me all the way.  I swear.  I feel her energy and it sits and stirs around my heart.  It's still restless, agitated and hurting - but the energy is there.  I guess the shoots will take hold when I allow the energy to rest quietly, softly in my heart.  Maybe then she can finally come back home.  Maybe we will both come home together and maybe, just maybe, that's where the peace will finally come.

Night night my lovely lovely Chloe x 

Monday 19 August 2013

The tears are coming

I think you have to pay for love with bitter tears.

I cried tonight.  What,your daughter's died and you think that this is news?  Isn't it more like news if you haven't cried?

I've no idea really; but I see the point.  I don't find crying easy. The worry is, I think, that if I start I really may never stop.   Has anyone ever run out of tears?  Is it possible? Will I be rushed to hospital (just for the record don't anyone dare take me to one of those places. I'm seriously done with them). But what will they do if I run out of water because I've just cried the biggest, roundest tears that I've ever seen.

I think they've been waiting; these tears.  Waiting to feel safe so they could creep out and try and drown me whilst I wasn't watching.  Revenge of the locked up tears - that would be about right.  Crafty little buggers. Maybe God hasn't quite finished with me yet.   I'd held them back for so long they're taken their revenge big time - they're huge!  they are really salty! they burn my cheek, make my eye sockets swell up to the size of tennis balls and my eyes have totally disappeared.  I can hardly see, my throat is so swollen I can't swallow or talk and my nose so bunged I have no effective way of taking that breath.  I now look so hideous that I dare not leave the house.  Room arrest - that's all I have left.  Life just gets better and better.

And then later - a few hours later - the tears gradually stop and I'm overwhelmed with a deep sense of exhaustion.  I could sleep for weeks and weeks.

I read later that this is what grief does.  It floods out your system with these wonderful little pearls of water that help you to open your soul and let the gentle salty water wash a little of the pain away.  Feels hideous at the time; a little tiny bit better after. 

Tears probably are a good thing.

The reason for my tears is the loss of one of the two best things in my life.  The person who inhabited half of my heart.  A pain too hard for most people to contemplate.  And me, such an ordinary being, having to deal with the full tsunami.  If only I were a super hero - or one of those amazing brave selfless people who die jumping into rivers to save another person's child.  Sadly I am just ordinary and the grief, I'm really sorry to report, fastens its grip.  The shock slowly recedes and was is left is a open wound bleeding profusely and you can feel very drop of blood.  Can I cope with this next stage?  I hope so; but it's very very hard.

Today my grief was sparked by the death of Darah.  I've never met Darah, she lives in the states.  But I follow her story and talk to her Mum.  She reminded me of Chloe. I think she was the same age.  And, like Clo, she was so beautiful and so spirited.  She fought and fought - but lost in the end.  Her family will now walk my path and this is what really hurts me.  Somebody else in this unique kind of hell.  I'm so sorry for this.

I'll try and cheer up tomorrow.xx

Tuesday 13 August 2013

I'm really angry today

Aw this picture made me laugh; despite the fact that today I'm actually very angry.  So firstly what's so funny?  Well Chloe and Hannah used to tell me I look like Marge from the Simpsons - well actually they said it when I'd had my hair done.  Cost me an absolute fortune actually - best hairdresser in London.  But every time I'd come home they'd call me Marge.  Little monsters.  But I feel strangely fond of, and attached to, Marge. So I thought I'd check out her angry face - strangely looks just like me:) - well today at least.

Now for the anger.

-  there's a programme on tonight about a Mother who didn't want her child to be given radiotherapy for a brain tumour.  I'm not going to watch it; so I guess that everything I say will be from a base of ignorance.  I usually don't like commenting on things I haven't seen; but I'm grieving so what the hell.  AND in this respect I do speak with the "benefit" of some experience.  Apparently this poor Mother ran off with her son because she was scared of the treatment (check out the side effects of radiotherapy to the brain - doesn't make easy reading).  So far this sounds perfectly reasonable to me.  However, sounds like the side effects of the brain tumour would have been worse -  basically  death.  Eventually the Mother was persuaded to come back and have her child's brain fried; thereby avoiding death.  The Mother was also into "alternative therapies" and believed that the current health system was full of self serving individuals who were quite happy to maintain a status quo,  A few highlights from that status quo:  no new treatments for many childhood cancers for 30 years, no priority for seriously ill children and a general feeling that parents should just be grateful for the treatments they can offer.

I hope with all my heart that nobody I know and care about will ever ever have to visit this world. It is harsh, cruel and often seems without any common sense or compassion.  Believe, if you want, that if your child got ill all the stops would be pulled out to give them the treatment they needed.

But the truth is it won't and you won't be able to do a darn thing about it.  Health professionals will treat you with a kind of kindness but basically you will be dismissed and avoided.  Everything you say will be filtered though a lens of "poor love she's in denial and  just can't accept what's happening".  I can imagine what it feels like to be a person dealing with serious mental health problems - I think you'd get the same kind of reaction.  AND God forbid if you ever even mention alternative therapies or any "anti cancer" foodstuffs - then you really are labelled a "nutter".

Just for the record I don't do alternative therapies, anti-cancer diets, healing or anything else that isn't "conventional".  I like science and I like facts.  But I do understand why people do.  I totally understand when conventional medicine isn't giving you any answers and is treating you like a sub-human - you'd try anything.  It's your child for Christ's sake!  What would you do?

I dare say the tv programme will play the usual media trick of using black and white characters. Distraught Mother into alternative therapies = nutter.  Doctors and nurses doing their best and eventually "common sense" prevails.  Sadly it's all a little bit more complicated than that.  The medical establishment has a lot more questions to answer than that - and the worse thing is they all know they do too.

So a little plea to all my dear readers.  Please talk about, think about, find out about childhood cancer/young peoples' cancer.  The rates are going up and outcomes have stalled.  I know that life is hard enough without thinking about anything quite so depressing; but we do need a public debate about this.  I can't bring my beautiful daughter back but I hope to God that I can do a tiny bit to give another child a better shot at beating cancer without the terrible debilitating side effects caused by many of the current treatments.  PUBLIC AWARENESS is what is needed - otherwise the industry will carry on doing what it's doing. Our beautiful children matter far too much for that.

Love to my dear friends Dana and Darah from the US - you really are my heroes.

Thanks to a dear old friend who wrote to me today.  Your words were beautiful and really lifted my spirits.  Heartfelt words are sometimes all you need.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Message to friends

I loved this extract from a piece written by Nigel Dudley in The Telegraph.  He'd lost his 22 year old son - just suddenly .  No reason - pure fate.  

Here's the quote:

"For example, our neighbours would bring us food, hand it over and make to leave. How could they know that the last thing we wanted was to be left alone? So we had a rule. We told people:

 "We talk a lot, we cry a lot and we drink a lot. Come and join us."

I love company and I adore my friends.  I agree that being left alone to grieve is the last thing in the world I want.  I'd much rather inflict my, often very miserable, self on others :)  

I definitely agree with advice to not isolate yourself if you are grieving.  People are desperate to help.  I know I want to help others.  But people just don't know what to do.  They need directing.  

Nobody knows what's around the corner and life has proved to me how hideously unfair it is.  I hope I can give back to others the love and care my family has received during Chloe's illness and after her death. People can be very good indeed.  One of the very few good things to come from this, I hope, is that I am far more compassionate than I ever.  Actually, dare I say, I like myself better now; it's the injustice of the world I'm not so keen on. 

Anyway I love all my friends and family (and that includes my young friends and "adopted daughters" I've stolen from Chloe)  dearly and I will do anything I can for you.  Sorry I'm a miserable mess at the moment; but I'm working hard at it and I care about you all very much.  

Bottle of wine or two here every Friday night .....

Love you Chloe Jane Drury - xxxxxxxxxxxx