I have come out from behind my wall of silence today to speak over at the Cancer Research Blog in support of their latest campaign to weaken the marketing power of tobacco companies. To talk about what smoking did to my mother and me, and why I would do anything to stop my own kids from getting hooked. I’d appreciate your support so please come and have a read and leave a comment here if you can – especially as tomorrow is the 1st year anniversary of losing my darling mum who I miss and yearn for every day.
If you wish to read more about what cigarettes have done to my family, or what the journey has been like check out these posts.
I hoped the silence would be temporary, but I think perhaps the past year has taken more out of me than I realised, and now we are moving city and schools and lives. So I fear the silence might be permanent.
I hope I’ll find my writing soul again, but a part of me believes that maybe I found writing at just the right time, or rather writing found me, to carry me and give voice to my tortured thoughts at a very difficult time.
Can you write your heart out and have anything left to say? Only time will tell.
In the meantime you can still find me over at In The Powder Room for my regular weekly column on a Thursday. So I’m still writing and mixing it up – a little.
Today is not a day I wanted to see again. 2nd February 2011 and I heard those words for the first time “Strongly suspected lung cancer”. A precise yet misleading jumble of words only superceded in its devastation by the final field on a form flashed up on screen at the doctor’s surgery a week later:
<body copy> 6-12 months.
Of course there was to be nothing as munificent as a whole year.
And so the rollercoaster began. The concrete cancer diagnosis, the tests that confirmed its spread to the liver. The terrifying fits and subsequent brain scans that showed further metastisis. Radiotherapy. Chemotherapy.
And then 10 weeks later, the end.
So it’s a year to the day my sister rang to tell me the routine scan bore shadows.
And with those words I remember she took my voice. Leaning against the glass of my patio doors for support, silent, the breath sucked right out of me. Curious physiology.
I’m In the Powder Room today talking about the differences between girls and boys. I’m still a bit uncomfortable about using the word “piss” and wish I’d gone for “urinate”; I was obviously a little urinated off about clearing up the typical boy mess again that day.
Don’t much feel like welcoming in a New Year – 2012 – a year my mother never saw.
All change and every first is tinged with enormous sadness now. I turn around, bursting to share my news, to feel and share and experience together.
It’s just not the same.
But I WILL try and embrace that difference. There is going to be an awful lot of it this year.
Love to all for the year ahead.
image courtesy of grahamowengallery.com
Christmas is rushing at me at a hundred miles an hour I hardly have time to breathe, let alone think. Except people keep reminding me of the significance. Telling me how sorry they are, how difficult it must be, how much I must miss her. Somewhere below the surface I sense the gaping hole, but I am being carried along by the momentum of childhood.
And thank God for that ceaseless wave of agitation that rolls up and down but is never one way for long.
I watched The Lovely Bones for the second time the other day and I can’t stop thinking about it. How dark and menacing the world can be, but how beautiful things can come out of that tragedy. New relationships can form, old ones strengthen, your focus crystallised on life’s brief flashes of wonderment.
You can’t keep looking backwards with regret and loss, you must look to the future and allow yourself to be swept along in the tide of life.
I’m not sure if that IS what the film was about, but it’s what I took from it. A sense of magic, mystery, hope sparking free amongst the ashes.
Yes Christmas will be difficult this year, I miss my mum every day with an aching that never dissipates and I am still incredulous as to how I got here and just how much I’ve lost.
But living in the here and now, treasuring the precious moments with my family and especially my beautiful boys – well, I have my own lovely bones right here.
As most of you will know I have 3 children. Well I have 2 children that I gave birth to, but a few years ago I acquired a third – a 92 yr old neighbour called Walter who has variously called me fat, told me I have bad breath and asked me whether I wanted his (dead) wife’s open pack of stockings.
Walter is a German ex prisoner-of-war who has no family or friends in this country, and who has, over the years, alienated the rest of our neighbourhood. Apparently they don’t take too kindly to being asked whether they are pregnant again or just fat, and are not buttered up by a half eaten packet of eclairs.
On the other hand, we’ve become really rather fond of Walter over the years; however, we definitely have a love/hate relationship. Having someone knock on the glass partition of your adjoining porch doors 7 times a day to get your attention would rattle even the world’s most patient person. But we do try and do our best for him, which in reality is rather a lot. Doing his shopping, taking phone calls, arranging appointments, doing his weekly lottery, putting his socks on, taking his measurements for new underwear. I’ve drawn the line at cleaning his house and washing his feet but not much else has really come between us.
A few weeks ago I walked in on him having a wee in the washing machine. Neither he nor I batted an eyelid. Apparently the past 5 years have foistered an intimacy and understanding that is not shattered by the sight of a 92 yr old penis.
In any case, my children got their own back on me tonight. Finally sitting down on the toilet with the paper and some peace and quiet I hear the familiar bang bang on the glass partition door. “Leave it” I shout downstairs as I hear my eldest turn the handle and slowly open the front door. “Walter” he shouts really loudly (Walter is also profoundly deaf) “Walter” he screams, just incase the rest of the neighbourhood hasn’t heard,”you’ll have to knock back later, mummy’s on the toilet doing a poo”.
To be honest, I wasn’t even too bothered. Apparently we’re well passed any embarrassment over MY bodily functions as well.