It is a fortnight today since I first heard the words ‘You have cancer.’ Unquestionably that is a bit of a bad way to start any day. I still find myself reeling when I hear others use that word. Apparently it is ok for me to say. And I do. Quite frequently as it goes. But somehow hearing others say it in connection with me takes me aback. Each time, I do a bit of double take, I kind of want to correct them with a ‘Sorry, no, you’ve got that wrong,’ or a ‘Cancer? Me?? I don’t think so,’ or even a ‘Don’t be absurd!’ Hearing others say it makes it sound so much more serious than when I say it (and yes, I do realise how ridiculous that sounds even as I type it).
Being with my Mum this weekend inevitably meant hearing other people talk about it: my Mum; my Mum’s friends, my Mum’s church. And I have no problem with any of them knowing. Or talking about it. Or anything really. It is just a bit weird. It is even weirder realising that your eighty year old mother is actually fitter than you. That is not weird. It is downright depressing. There is something in the natural order of all this that has been disturbed. And I do not like it. I should be caring for her.
Who am I trying to kid? My mother is the last person in the world to allow anyone to care for her (not that we don’t try). Feisty, fiercely independent and beautiful in spirit and nature, she will fight for her right to care for her children till her last breath. I am enormously grateful she can support us the way she is doing.