The creation of a charity, from the very beginning.
The next six weeks were a blur. I understood for the first time what it is to truly be on auto-pilot.
An appointment had been booked for Mum’s operation at the start of March. Until then, she was going to move in with me so I could look after her. I cleaned the floors and the walls of the spare-room over and over again. I wanted everything to be spotless. Everything had to be clean and healthy… and cancer free. I decorated the room with little sequin birds and a small table lamp. It was simple but it had to be just right.
Mum stayed in Sheffield half of the week and back home the other half to spend time enjoying the Lake District. When she was not at mine my day consisted of waking up, going to work, coming home and going to sleep. I’d only eat if my partner cooked. He’d wake me up and for half an hour I would eat in bed, then turn the light off and go back to sleep. Back to nothingness.
Months later, my partner told me that I wouldn’t even speak when I got home. I really had no idea quite how bad I was.
I had booked a three week holiday to see my best friends in Thailand and Dubai during March. Those three weeks coincided with Mum’s operation and so I used them to go home and care for her.
The day of the operation came. I sat with her in hospital whilst they prepped her. I watched her put on the surgical gown and surgical pippy-longstocking socks. I kissed and hugged her before they led her along the corridor to the operating theatre. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was smiling. I still cry when I think about it now.
The nurses told me that the operation would be finished by six and they would call me. I went home and did the only thing that helps block out the stress. I set my alarm for six and I slept. Six o’clock came and there was no call. Seven o’clock came and there was no call. I rang my partner, beginning to panic. Seven forty five came and I couldn’t take it anymore.
My partner was in Sheffield and so I was alone. I rang my oldest friend, Lizzy, who I knew was in Lancaster for the weekend and asked her if she could come with me to the hospital. I was scared. Lizzy knew it. She dropped everything and literally ran to where I was.
We went straight to the ward where the nurses said they weren’t sure why she wasn’t in her allocated bed. They asked us to wait next to where she would be sleeping.
So there we sat, next to an empty, sterile hospital bed, labelled for my Mother. Neither of us said it then but we’ve told each other since- we both thought she hadn’t made it.
An hour passed. Lizzy made conversation because I couldn’t.
Then, as I gazed in to the corridor, through the checkered glass panel, I saw my Mum wheeled in. She was awake. The relief was indescribable.
To be continued…