On May 9th, 2014, my mum told me that her blood tests had come back positive for her cancer having returned. I’m not great at remembering numbers, so dates usually escape me, but I know that that was the date because it was my 26th birthday. I hadn’t called my mum as I’d been travelling (I’d had an amazing opportunity to go to New York), and I called her on my birthday. She told me immediately partly because she was in shock and had forgotten what day it was, and partly because I had made her promise at the start of this that she wouldn’t bullshit me, nor hide how ill she was, not even because I am “the baby” of the family. I thought I was strong enough to take it.

When she told me the cancer had come back, I felt like a cartoon character who’s had a giant rock fall on them. Tears were rolling down my face while I struggled to keep my voice even, and I told her I loved her. I asked if there was anything I could do for her, and she asked me to call more often. From then on, I called at least once a day most days for a chat, just to keep her company.

Mum said she had to go because she was very tired, so we said goodbye. I lay on the sofa, and I cried, and cried, and cried.

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