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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Growing older

This is a bit of a strange one - I've Googled it and come up with nothing, so writing it here instead.

 It's my brother's and my 23rd birthday next week. Our first birthday since we lost our beautiful mummy. I'm also sad because we didn't get to see my mum on our 22nd birthday - she'd become jaundiced and was admitted to hospital up in London to have a stent fitted. Our 21st birthday the year before was two weeks after I found out my mum was ill. She'd just started chemotherapy and was very tired. During the afternoon she had a sleep, and my best friend and her little boy came round. He was ill at the time though, so we went to the park because we were worried about my mum's immune system in case she caught something.

In effect, the last time we had a birthday without cancer trying to destroy things (although our 21st birthday was a very happy occasion and we had a lovely time with our family, my mummy included) was when we turned 20 in 2009. And even that was 3 months after losing my nan to cancer.

That is slightly besides the point though. What I am struggling with at the moment is becoming a different age. It sounds silly maybe. It's not possible to change this, we will become a different age whether we like it or not (I think we'd be joining a queue of very happy people if there was a way to stop ourselves growing older!). We're just one day older anyway. It makes no difference, nothing will have changed since the day before.

But it does mean something. Whether or not it is rational, I want to hang on to everything the way it was when my mummy was here. We were 22 when my mum died, and therefore I want to be 22 forever. I don't want to be 23 because my mum won't be here to see me be 23. The same as New Year - I didn't want it to be 2012 because my mum was not here in 2012, and she was here in 2011. I'm not ready to move on yet. I need things to be the same. I can't bear to grow older, feeling as though I should be dealing with this 'like an adult'. I barely had the chance to learn to be an adult before the cancer took over our lives, and from that point onwards I was my mummy's little girl only. I was strong for her, I was there for her, I held her hand throughout everything, I talked to her, I lay on her bed and cuddled her. And now I'm getting ready to 'celebrate' my 23rd birthday and my mummy won't be here to give me a hug.

I am very lucky. I am a silly sentimental person at heart, and I keep the birthday cards and Christmas cards that my family and best friend give me. So I will hang onto the fact that I have a birthday card with my mum's handwriting in it. I just wish I could get one with her name in this year too. x

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Our local funeral home sent us a letter with three memorial cards included. They send them to all of their 'clients' for the year, so that you can write the name of your loved one and a personal message to them and then hang them on the memorial Christmas tree in the window of the funeral home.

Apparently it's quite a common thing, a lot of funeral homes do it.

It's a lovely idea I think - something I'd never thought of before but it's very comforting to know that there's a 'tribute' to your loved one. To know that they're being acknowledged, and that the fact that they aren't here is acknowledged.

Having said that, it was more difficult than I expected. I coped perfectly well when I was actually in there - and it was very comforting to see that the lady from the funeral home actually remembered me, she asked after my dad and my brother and she let me hang the card on the tree for my mum. And then I cried all the way home, I cried a lot during the afternoon and I cried a lot during the evening - more than I have for a long time.

It was a lovely thing to do though, and I'm very glad I did it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Thinking about the little things

Most people don't really think about the number of things that make them smile.

Not just the big things, but the little things in life. You don't necessarily need major events to make you smile. It's just those little moments that can genuinely make your day just because they make you smile.

Things like spending time with people you love, even if you're not really doing anything. Doing silly things to make yourself (and other people!) laugh. Getting excited about things, counting down to things, laughing about things. Things you can remember in the years to come, and wonder why you found them so funny.

Those are the things that really make you you. :)

Friday, 30 September 2011


It's a strange sensation, the time-shift.

It feels so long ago. So far away. So distanced. Such a long time that you can barely remember what it was like before. You miss it so much. Their voice, their face, their smell, the touch of your hand on their skin, the way they move, the things they say, the look on their face when they're happy, surprised, confused, anything. You spend your time going over it, thinking about it, remembering them. You're terrified in case you forget even the slightest detail.

And at the same time, somehow it feels like it was just yesterday. Sometimes even closer than that. Sometimes you feel like you're reliving that day all over again. It's all so new and so fresh. The memories are so vivid in your head. You're back there again, in that room. You see them there like it's just happening, and somehow at the same time it doesn't seem like it's them. You hear that sound. That sound that you will never forget. And then it's quiet. You stand outside and the doctors and nurses are silent, they stand in the reception and look at you in silence. It's strange. A&Es aren't known for being silent. You feel the pain as if it's happening all over again. You feel the hurt you felt when you heard that. You feel the shock you felt that night. You feel the anxiety, the sadness, the fear, the tension.

It simultaneously feels like so long ago and so new and close. And all that time you're living in a dream world.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The subjectivity of time

Time is a very subjective thing.

When you're looking forward to something it seems to go so slowly. You count down the days and it seems like forever away, all the anticipation and excitement.

Consider summer holidays when you're a child. You look forward to them for so long, you can't wait to finish school and enjoy six weeks off. It goes slowly at first, just a long summer ahead. But by the end of August it's hard to believe it's almost over, and it suddenly speeds up.

And when there's something you really, really don't want to happen...time suddenly seems much shorter. It goes by much more quickly. 'A couple of months'. That can seem like ages away if there's something exciting planned in 'a couple of months'. But if it's your worst nightmare, 'a couple of months' suddenly seems so short, it's not enough time, and it's so quick.

The thing about time is that sometimes it's hard to live in the present. We live in the past, going over and over old times, or we live in the future, worrying about what's to come. But sometimes the best thing to do is take each day as it comes, to live in the present and to take time to enjoy things as they come. Because one day something hits you out of the blue and your life changes forever.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


My mum is going to stay in the hospice tomorrow, just for a couple of days so that they can sort out the medications she's on and her insulin and get the pain under control.

It's a strange feeling knowing that your mum is going to go and stay in a hospice. I think it's because of the stereotype that hospices are where people go to die. It doesn't work that way; hospices do so, so much more than that. They offer support for the pain and medications, throughout the treatments, practical and financial support, emotional support and counselling, etc etc. They've been great so far, I don't know what I'd do without them.

Nevertheless, it is still a strange feeling. I'm ok on the outside, it doesn't seem to affect me much at home. But inside it hurts a lot sometimes.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Results :)


I got a First in my degree apparently! That in itself was a huge surprise - I was just hoping for a 2.1 overall, but it averaged out as a First overall, mainly due to getting a First on my Final Year Project (which was worth quite a large percentage of my final marks).

The second major surprise was that I got home from Essex on Thursday night, checked my uni e-mails and received an e-mail saying that I have been awarded the Board of Examiners' 2011 prize for Final Year performance!

I haven't got a clue why: I've looked at my transcript and can't see anything amazing at all - I got 81% overall in Forensic Psychology and 71% overall for my project, but those were the only really good marks I got and they're nothing particularly special! But I'm not complaining, I'm so proud of myself at the moment.

If nothing else, I'm just glad we're at this point and that things are still ok at the moment. With the year we've had even just completing the exams was a huge achievement, let alone anything else. And I'm definitely considering future research now!