It was my friend’s birthday so we had gone to a rented cottage to celebrate for the weekend. Mum’s pain had been getting steadily worse, but she kept on saying she would “call [the doctor] tomorrow”.

I baked the entire week to take my mind off it. I was a thousand miles away. I tried not to stress. “Worry is a rocking chair that gets you nowhere”, I reminded myself. I swam everyday, trying to release the emotional tension from my shoulders, as with every status change in my mum’s health, the muscles there became tight and painful.

I went away to a cottage with some friends for my housemates birthday. Mum called me on the Saturday night, when we were playing poker. The GP was just arriving. My blood ran cold. A GP visiting my mum at midnight on a Saturday night?

I took a deep breath. There was nothing I could do. My sister was going the next day. Everything would be OK.

Poker finished. People drifted off to bed. I held on to my phone, jumping every time I received a Whatsapp.

Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I went outside for a “walk”, following the path of a river. I began sobbing uncontrollably, leaning against a fence, staring at the moon all the while. I screamed, and cried. I said “no”. The sobs wracked my body. The moon stayed the same.

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