After Mum’s terminal diagnosis (on the 5th November 2017 – one of those dates you don’t forget), it was difficult to feel anything other than anger. Of course I’m sure I did feel other things, but the main thing that sticks out is the anger I constantly had.
I was angry because my Mum was being taken from me, from all of the people who loved her, for no good reason. I was angry because I didn’t understand all of the medical terminology that was thrown at us. I was angry because my Mum couldn’t sleep in her own bed. Because she couldn’t wash herself. Because she couldn’t use the toilet by herself.
I was angry because it was not and it is not fair.
A few days after her diagnosis, Mum got transferred to the local Macmillan palliative care unit. Here, she was helped by doctors and nurses to find ways that she could manage the pain in her back, her dwindling independence, and essentially her inevitable death. Come for the drugs, stay for the bereavement, am I right ladies? Mum genuinely enjoyed her time at the Macmillan unit. She was very excited because patients could have their pets visit them – although they never responded to our request to bring Ian in*. A few days after she arrived at the unit, another patient and their partner had a wedding ceremony in the ward and Mum was effectively a “guest” at their wedding. She sent me a text about it and seemed very excited – used the word ‘lovely’ a lot.
A bit of a side story here…my very good friend Lauren lost her Mum, Lyn, in the same circumstance in which I lost mine. Lyn had gone through cancer, seemed to have beaten it and was getting much better and stronger, unfortunately her cancer spread, and she passed away from it a couple of months later. Lyn passed away a few days after my Mum got her terminal diagnosis, and that was a proper shit period of time! You’ve just learnt your Mum is going to die…and then your best mate’s Mum dies. Cheers, life. Lauren’s support and guidance throughout this whole situation has been so helpful, so if you’ve got a dying parent then definitely hit her up! Lyn’s funeral was on a Thursday morning, and that afternoon I went straight over to see my Mum at the unit, got into the bed with her and just cried. It was in that moment that I couldn’t imagine how I would cope being away from my Mum. That was a really tough couple of weeks.
The Macmillan unit was amazing – my Mum said that everyone who worked there “must have an extra bone from an angel” in their body. After Mum’s death, we asked family and friends to make donations in her name towards the unit. Together people raised around £600 for The Macmillan unit.
My Nan also made this beautiful piece of artwork which was a garden with butterflies. She’d made a fabric collage out of the delicate lace and satin bras that my Mum had before she lost all the weight from her boobies and didn’t need to wear a bra anymore. After Mum passed away, I donated that piece of artwork to the unit because out of something sad and rubbish came this lovely piece of artwork. I hoped that some of the people who were going through a similar situation could relate to it.