Bittersweet Day

Oh what a day it has been. It’s my gorgeous husband’s birthday today, he is officially 42. It’s been such an odd day though as whilst we wanted to celebrate his birthday, it feels wrong to be jolly when it’s mum’s funeral tomorrow. 

We normally make a huge fuss for both our birthdays, well why not eh? So not being able to fully indulge has felt weird in lots of different ways. In the end we went for a small breakfast buffet with birthday cake but no singing or candles.  

We all clubbed together as a family and got him an Apple Watch, as when he tried one on in the Apple Store, he just LOVED it! It doesn’t ship until June, but this is him in the Apple Store! 

Giddy kipper
Giddy kipper

We have then just been to see dad and just stayed for while and had a chat. He has cleaned the house up beautifully ready for tomorrow and so everything is set. 

I wish I was set. My stomach is in knots and my IBS has taken a serious turn for the worse. I am dreading tomorrow and it still all doesn’t seem real. 

I hope M has had a good a day in some ways, but I know the whole thing has been very subdued. What else could we do? 

 

Gx  

Barbecue and Sympathy

So today is, well should be a happy day as our fancy shmanzy barbecue has arrived along with some “stress relief” purchases of a ridiculously expensive cover and grill scraper. 

It’s a funny thing that when you are living through a grieving process you feel like either you can’t or shouldn’t be laughing and if you do so involuntarily, you feel guilty. But the simple fact of life is that, it does carry on. Things DO carry on being funny and people and things are able to make you laugh. 

Just because you laugh it doesn’t mean you aren’t still grieving or that your loss is diminished, it isn’t. For me, it just means that I am human. But I still feel guilty. 

But dad has been round today and we haven talked about mum and things and I think it helps us both. By all accounts, my sister is coping in her usual way, by shopping the hell out of her credit card! We all have our ways of dealing.. 

I have also had some flowers from work today, I was very touched.. and our sideboard is heaving from the sympathy cards. I always think of myself as a person with very few friends, so to receive so many cards is a real humbling experience. 

G x 

Arrangements

So as I mentioned in my last post, my mum passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning and since then, things have been a bit, well odd.  

I feel better than I thought I would and I started  feel guilty about that. But I have to give you some context. Mum had Cancer for about a year with so many complications and set backs, it isn’t even funny. About 5 weeks ago she was told that treatment was no longer an option and was told to “go home and be with your family”. 

I think I maybe started my own grieving process then as I cried and sobbed when the news was confirmed. M had to come home from work I was so upset and I had countless sleepless night and bad dreams, all the time going to work with a mind full of worry and pain. I crashed my car one morning after some nights with poor sleep and I had to take some time off to sort my head out. 

So when mum did pass, I feel sad of course, but calm – accepting almost. 

Is that wrong? Am I weird? I feel like I should almost measure how I am feeling against other members of my family, but the truth is, everyone has their own experience and there is no script for something like this.  

We have been to register her death today and organise things like the wake and food etc etc. There is so much admin whe someone dies that you really have to have your shit together at the worst possible time. Madness, 

 

g x  

Sad News

Very sad news to report as my lovely mum Margaret passed away in her sleep last night. I was staying overnight with her as she didn’t want to be on her own and also so my dad could have a decent sleep. So as it happened, I was about 2:15am and I was on my own with her. She just drifted away.

Cancer is such a cruel disease and it’s robbed me of 3 out of 4 grandparents, my beloved Peggy Dog and now my mum. It’s not fair and we really really need to find a cure.

Don’t know what to say, so I just thought I’d leave you with her lovely face.

G x

 Margaret Esther Dixon 1946-2015

End of life care

So this is quite a tough diary to write as yesterday mum had a bad night and both my sister and I had the day off so we could help look after her. She was visited by both the doctor and the district nurse and because of her deterioration, the conversation turned to End of Life Care. *sighs* 

We discussed things like syringe drivers and “do not resuscitate” orders. All quite heavy but unfortunately necessary. Mum was understandably upset and dad is somewhere down a river called denial. 

In some odd way, we did have a nice day though as all th family were together and even my gorgeous 2 nieces came at the end of the day to eat ice pops and play in the garden. They are 9 and 5 and had no idea of the seriousness of the situation – what a blessed and light relief. 

Blackpool

Just a quick one tonight as I’ve had a very busy day AND I’ve been to a very sunny BLACKPOOL!  

 One of of the teams I look after is based in Blackpool and today was their “final presentation”. I have to give a speech about The Prince’s Trust which I usually do on the hoof, but I’ve done quite a few now, so I usually say a version of the same thing, which makes it easier.  

Some of the young people were nervous and so not able to actually give their speech, but it was a good day overall. I am now just sat waiting for M to finish training with his sister and then for her partner to arrive so we can have our tea!  

I have to admit, at the moment, the effort of appearing happy and professional at work tires me out and by the evening time I really just need to chill out and watch some crap on the telly. It’s just so sad about what’s happening to mum that it’s all consuming, but I have to get up every morning and just get on with it don’t I. 

Many way, he’s my slightly rubbish attempt at a Blackpool Tower selfie.  

 

Not the best selfie. It was very sunny and of course aman having his lunch!  
Not the best selfie. It was very sunny and of course aman having his lunch!  

G x  

Cancer

So this time last year, give or take a few weeks, my mum was diagnosed with Stage 3 Oseophageal Cancer. We’ve had a very hard journey since then, I might write another blog on another day to tell you just how hard, but the timeline goes something like this:

  1. April 2014 – Diagnosed Stage 3 Osephagus Cancer
  2. July 2014 – Started 2 x lots of oral chemotherapy
  3. Operation to remove Osephagus scheduled in for early September 2014
  4. August 2014 – Difficulty swallowing, meaning Mum didn’t eat anything for 3-4 days.
  5. Admitted to Whiston Hospital for a stent to be but into her throat to open it up so that she can eat. This failed.
  6. Whilst at Whiston, mum walked to lift to find dad, fainted and broke her hip in the fall. It was pinned the next day.
  7. Cancer operation delayed by 6 weeks.
  8. End October 2014 – Osephagus and cancer successfully removed.
  9. Oct – December 2014 – Mum unable to recover post op as kept getting persistent chest infections, pneumonia, becoming generally weaker and more frail.
  10. Jan – Mid Feb 2015 – Home from hospital, weak but managing with support.
  11. Feb 2015 – She experiences breathing difficulties and is admitted to Whiston Hospital, diagnosed with recurrent Osephagus Cancer Stage 4, spread to her lungs.
  12. She is sent home and referred for palliative radiotherapy.
  13. Attends our local cancer hospital for radiotherapy and after blood tests, is deemed too unwell and is transferred to the nearest general hospital for assessment.
  14. During her stay there, she becomes critically unwell as she vomits during the night and swallows it, which goes onto her lungs. She is unresponsive, but resuscitated by the crash team.
  15. March 2015 – She is seen by a consultant who tells her that she is now too weak for treatment and she should go home and be with her family.
  16. She then started to go somewhere every day to not waste any time. She attends a couple of family events, which she enjoys.

So as you can see, the whole thing is a sorry tale of treatment and crisis and the stress this has caused not only for mum, but on the family is immense. It’s almost unbearable to watch someone we all love to much, be destroyed by such a cruel disease. And if you are wondering just how much things have changed….

Such a happy smiley person with everything to live for, to someone in the last few weeks of their life.

Breaks my heart 🙁

Gill x