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The Girl with the Daffodil Tattoo

A Welsh girl let loose in a wild world

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emergency

Arrival: Sunday 9th November 2014

I let myself in with my key, and gave my sister a big hug.

>Thanks for coming.

>Sorry I didn’t come sooner.

>I didn’t realise. I thought she would get better.

>Thank you for everything you’ve done.

I walked in to my mum’s room. I can’t really describe what I found there, mainly because she is one of the proudest, most independent people I know, and she wouldn’t want me telling anyone how she looked or how we helped her to do things. But I can write this blog post because she was always quietly ELATED that I had a blog, and dreamed of me becoming as famous as Terry Wogan. I’m writing it for her in a way, even though she will never read it.

She was calm, and she wasn’t in pain. They had installed the syringe driver a few hours before, which meant that she had a tube coming out of her dressing gown and a box on the bed about the size of four packs of cigarettes.

This was it. This was the moment Mum had been dreading. When she wouldn’t be able to get out of bed, when she would need help doing everyday things. The worst had finally happened.

It was midnight. As I sat on her bed, I had a sudden temptation to laugh, hysterically. Not because it was funny, because it definitely wasn’t, but more in a “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKING HELL” way.

My sister chattered to me about visits, about what had been happening. She must have been so lonely here  by herself, with only the phone ringing every hour for company. With kindly, but unknown, professional strangers coming in and out, calling on the phone to check up on what was happening, what had already been done, or get directions to our house that no GPS on earth could locate.

It was OK. I was there now.

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Flight Booked, Decision Made: Saturday November 8th 2014

Mum fell last night. She was outside, she fell, she couldn’t get up. She is one of the most fiercely independent women I know. This does not look good.

I try to support my  sister via text, kicking myself for not having taken a flight earlier in the week. I felt like I wanted to “save my energy” in some way, as if Mum’s cancer were a marathon, and I wanted to conserve my reserves for the final sprint at the end.

I must go to support my sister. It must be almost unbearable to be there on her own, taking care of Mum, trying to keep it together both mentally and physically. The flight is double the expense of a “normal” flight, but they need me.

Emergency operation: November 2012

>Hi Fiona

>Hi Sarah

>How’s you?

>Mum’s in hospital. She’s jaundiced. They’re running tests. It’s probably pancreatic cancer.

>How bad is this?

>Bad. She could die.

>Should I come back?

>No, not yet.

I felt awful, but I’d organised an art event in a bar, so I got my shit together and went.

Shock is a beautiful thing. It helps us keep going until we break.

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