Monday 5 March 2012

These are the good times

Friday 2nd March 2012, a date which will live in infamy. It was a day that nothing changed but everything did. The weekend which followed saw me as low as I have ever been in my life. Today sees my efforts to try and restart myself in the face of the new because I have to.

My mum got ill at the end of 2009. Having never had any breathing difficulties before, suddenly she found herself out of breath at the merest physical exertion. A trip to the doctor and a chest x-ray later discovered that she had fluid on the lung. This is really never a good sign.

On Christmas Eve 2009 she had over a litre of fluid drained from her chest. Although she was back home for Christmas, by New Year she was back in hospital for a similar procedure. By this stage it was pretty clear that all was very much not well. At the beginning of January 2010, it was confirmed that she had cancer. A particularly elusive cancer, mind you: it wasn't actually discovered until the middle of April after a chest operation at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. The diagnosis was not good, the prognosis likewise. Mesothelioma, an incurable but "treatable" condition.

Good times 
These are the good times
Leave your cares behind 
These are the good times

Almost two years have passed since then. That in itself is pretty good going. The fact that my mum has actually been, if not bouncing around with health, then pretty much entirely able to function normally even more so. But last Friday was the day that we all knew was coming, the day that the doctors at the Royal Marsden said that there was nothing more they could do, treatment wise.

Good times 
These are the good times
Our new state of mind 
These are the good times 

Given that I knew that this day had to come eventually, I am pretty stunned as to how badly it has affected me. Stunned, too, as to the sort of livable paradigm that I had gladly entered into whereby a nameless, faceless doctor would fill my mother up with snake oil, moonbeams and rat poison every week. As if that was just the new way of things, when the real new way of things has been with us since the start of 2010.

But a lot of the flamboyant black cloud of gloom is due mainly to the fact I know I have to snap out of it, for everyone's sake. So far, life is not all that different. The sun comes up and my mum wakes up and everyone does their best to make it in one piece to the end of another day. That is what we all do, ultimately, whether or not we are aware of what is killing us. No good - for anyone - can possibly come of me suddenly starting to act differently, or worse, rolling myself up tightly into a hedgehog ball and withdrawing from all family or social life, a self-defence mechanism whereby I figured if I don't speak to or see or spend any time with my mum then it will hurt me less. Which is, truthfully and completely shamefully, what I was doing yesterday.

A rumour has it that 
It's getting late
Time marches on 
Just can't wait

None of us know how much longer my mum has to live. She has very wisely steered well clear of the old TV show cliché of wanting to know how many weeks or months or years or days or hours she has to go. No good can come from getting into that mindset. No-one knows how much longer they have left. I could die today. So could you. Or we could both laugh about how I suggested we might both die today in a blog post I wrote 75 years ago one day in a pissy rest home. The important thing is just to make the best of everything. That is all anyone can do.

The worst part of this is actually knowing that I am right. Right, right here. That my deeds now need to match my sage words and thoughts. That is the hardest part. Harder than knowing that my mum probably won't be around for much longer. Because I know that I will be alright. That is credit to her. I now need to be a credit to her for however long it is she has left.

The clock keeps turning 
Why hesitate
You silly fool 
You can't change your fate

And frankly I am terrified. I've not cried yet. I've not really felt anything yet. I don't know if I've got anything left to give. I hope that I will come out of this pleasantly surprised in myself and proud. In fact, I know I will. But I'm not looking forward to it, because it is going to hurt.

Good times 
These are the good times.


vicky said...

sending love xx

alicestronaut said...

Also sending love. You know where I am if you need anything at all. Much love to all of you xxx

Fran said...

This is completely shitty Ed. I'm so sorry. Just know you are in my thoughts and in my heart and that we will all do whatever we can to be there for you. If you need anything - a phone call, a text distraction, or just the sound of someone elses voice then you know where I am.

Sending you massive hugs.xx

Louise Johnson said...

Oh no - I'm so sorry.

Thinking of you and sending futile internet hugs, for what they're worth.

Chopper said...

Sad news. I have some idea of how you feel, my Mum passed away from something similar about 4 years ago. I haven't got any easy answers about how you deal with this. I think it's different for everyone, but spending time together will help.

Thoughts are with you and your Mum though. Take care.

mollbird said...

I don't want to said anything stupid but I don't want to not say anything at all. BIG HUG x


You have reached the bottom of the internet