I remember when my mother phoned me at University to tell me the news. My grandmother, my amazing, strong and wonderfully kind Grandmother had cancer. The woman who had lived through the war, who had pledged her heart to a young soldier and awaited his return from the East. A lady that had travelled the world, worked in the Land Army and lived in far off countries was being beaten by cancer.
My Mum explained that the cancer was very advanced. That we were looking at mere months before it swallowed this amazing woman. I couldn’t believe it. How could this have happened? Where had this horrible cancer come from?
It transpired that my head strong Grandmother had been hiding this secret from us for some time. There had been a growth on her leg for years and years. Always covered by a plaster. First a small one and then as time went by a larger one. She had known something wasn’t right. But too afraid to say anything she hid from reality. By the time she told anyone the melanoma was so large and advanced there was nothing to be done. Despite being seen by a specialist my grandmother and grandfather made the decision that they didn’t want to waste her last few months on fruitless treatment.
That was hard to hear. She didn’t want to fight. My gutsy Grandmother who had always fought for everything was giving up. Of course I understood why she couldn’t fight this. But I was so frustrated, why didn’t she say something earlier? Perhaps something could have been done.
I watched over those short months as she became frail. In next to no time she was in a bed downstairs. My parents and grandfather providing round the clock care. With some help from her amazing local GP and Macmillan nurses. The sparkle started to fade from her eyes. She desperately wanted to know whether I had been successful in gaining a place at nursing school. So proud that I was hoping to dedicate my life to such a worthwhile profession. I never got to tell her. She died two days after my 22nd birthday and a week before I found out that I had indeed been granted a place to study at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing.
I never got to introduce her to her two beautiful grandchildren. She would have loved them and them her. So many things I wish had asked her. How I wish I had learnt more about gardening from her. The regret that I never talked about what she did during war time, how she felt as a girl joining the Land Army. Or what it was like to have the love of your life so far away for so long, not knowing if he would return. But mostly I wish that I had just one more hug, one more moment to say I love you.
You can’t hide from cancer. It’s all around us. Nearly every family I meet has been touched by it. More research is needed, more awareness is essential. That is why #BloggersBeatingCancer is so important. Maybe just maybe one day we will live in a world where cancer doesn’t haunt families. Until then I shall be drinking coffee tomorrow at 10:30 with my fellow bloggers and raising as much cash as we can to help win the fight against cancer. Please donate here https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/bloggersbeatingcancer