The creation of a charity, from the very beginning.
In the first few days that followed the diagnosis, I felt a strong sense of anger begin to creep over me.
I remember specifically being in Booths in Kendal and a female member of staff wouldn’t let my Mum pay for the newspaper at the upstairs checkout- she had to go downstairs. I remember being incensed. “Tell me why!” I demanded. The woman looked at me with shock. “What difference could it possibly make to you, or anyone where she pays for this paper?” I shouted. Mum told me to calm down. “No, I’m sick of people saying they can’t when they mean they won’t. It’s pathetic” I screamed as I walked away.
I obviously feel embarrassment looking back at the situation. That poor woman was probably quite content in her little Booths microcosm with it’s quaint but nevertheless ridiculous rules. And if you are reading this Booths Lady, I truly am sorry.
But really everything that was happening to my Mum at that time had the sub-context of the fact that she was dying. She’d buy a book and in my head I’d wonder how many books she would read in her time left. In the same way that cancer was consuming her body, it began to consume my mind:
“Saturday Morning, 19th January 2013.
So it’s been three days since the diagnosis. Although you could have told me it had been one hour or one year and I would have believed you either way. I have no concept of time due to the fact that all I think about is cancer.
It genuinely takes up every second. No matter what I’m doing. Sometimes it makes me cry and sometimes it makes me want to be stronger. But I cannot read or listen to music because it makes me too emotional. I link every page and every verse to this pain.
I can’t watch any old T.V. The only thing that works is watching quality programmes or films that, whilst they don’t take your mind off it, they also don’t make you feel quite so alone.
I even dream about it. About the cancer, the diagnosis, the dying. I have never experienced something like this before. It’s like I’m having one long thought and everything else is background noise.
There is a futility- but not a hopelessness- in everything. Shopping is pointless. Food has no flavour.
I still haven’t spoken to anyone on the phone. I plan to today.”
To be continued…