When my Dad was diagnosed, in 2012, with a cancer that had only been documented in 200 cases in the whole of the UK. The local doctors did not have a positive outlook, they were convinced that things would be tricky and were not sure he would have much success beating it at the time.
I had just returned from a weeks holiday in the Greek Islands. I had a feeling something was wrong before I went away, because my parents were acting strangely. But, like parents do, they kept it from me as they wanted me to have a good holiday and enjoy my break from work. They gave me the news the day I landed back in the UK, suffering with a severe case of Tonsillitis and barely able to speak.
Sometimes you forget that your parents are getting older. It is something like this that reminds you of the finite reality in which we live.
In 2012, my Dad was lucky. His cancer was rare. The Royal Marsden Hospital in London told us that they had only managed 200 previous cases and it is a cancer they don’t know much about. But they were willing to operate and seemed far more positive than the local doctors. My Dad spent two weeks in hospital after the operation, with my mum camping in hospital accommodation so she could help him to pull through. Every day I waited for the call; the bad news. But despite a few setbacks during his stay, he returned home and started to recuperate.
Since then every check up he has had to go to left my heart in my mouth. Waiting for that call/text. Just wishing to hear that everything is still OK. and until last week, everything had come back OK. Or OK enough. At his last check up he had a small lump, but as the doctors did not appear concerned. Neither were we. I feel like I took the good news for granted. Every check up, I prayed. I don’t believe that there is one God, maybe there isn’t a God at all. To be honest, there is too much horror and evil in the world for a belief in God to make sense to me. But I prayed anyway, because when there is nothing you can do, sometimes a supernatural belief is the answer. Even if it just gives you a tiny splash of hope at the time.
I even went with him to his appointments on a few occasions, loving the time together, even though it was spent on train and underground then endless hours waiting between appointments at the hospital.
I am a logical person. I work with teenagers everyday and help them through their troubled lives. So I feel like a complete fraud today. I know what I would say to one of my learners in this kind of situation. Yet I still feel sad and for me that doesn’t feel OK.
I am the kind of person that likes to be strong for everyone else. Doesn’t like to depend on others, because, well let’s face it, you can be let down by the world around you. The only thing you can control is yourself. So I always thought I should be who others believe I should be. Well, today, TODAY, I can’t be that. I can’t be the positive person. Today, I feel sad that my mum might lose her soul mate. That my mum has to come around to the idea that one day between now and whenever, she will say her last words, share her last cup of tea, give her last kiss to the person who means the most to her in all the world. The person who has been her everything.
I will never experience that kind of love. The kind of love fostered and grown in a long forgotten time. The kind of love that weathers the hard times and comes out fighting. I will never have that.
I cry because of that. Because my mum and dad have been through so much already. That my parents have loved each other and their children through every moment of their lives.
I will never have their kind of love. Maybe because I don’t deserve it. I strive to be a good person, but fall short of being pure and good by a mile.
My parents love each other heart and soul. Forsaking all others. Against the odds. I live in a society where if the grass is greener, we try the grass to make sure. That’s what makes me sad.