It was the first time I’d seen Mum since her operation and the chemo.

She was rake thin and walking with crutches. The house had been adapted for a disabled person, with bars and stuff put on the wall, chairs on mini stilts, something on the toilet to make it higher.

The nurse came to change the dressing. Mum lifted up her shirt to reveal her thin, thin body. She had never been fat, but now she was like a skeleton, like a leaf that could be blown in the wind. Her hair was long and grey, even though she liked it short, as she hadn’t been able to go to the hairdressers. She was missing a tooth at the front, from the stress of the treatment. She said it had just fallen out of it’s own accord.

Seeing Mum again had affected me more than I knew. The next week I was working at a learning English residential camp, sharing a room with someone else, working long days and feeling under a lot of stress. I started to sleep walk and sleep talk, and I felt close to the edge of tears most of the time. I felt so awful, I should have left. But kept quiet and didn’t.

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