That was the question my son, Sam, asked me at 2am this morning. He woke up thirsty and wanted a drink. Normally he would get it himself, but we are away in Rye, and he was disoriented. He is more clingy to me these days. There is worry in his voice when he doesn’t know where I am. He cuddles me and grips my hand. Wants to sit next to me, or on me, as often as he can. (Oliver blissfully unaware. It’s wonderful!)
Yes Sam, mummy will always be with you, was my answer.
Physically I may not, but my love for him, will be. So I didn’t feel it was a lie. (It is important to point out here, I don’t find it hard to answer because I may die of cancer, but because no one knows for certain, do they?)
Cancer makes you realise your need to live in the present. In some ways, cancer is a gift to make you live. To appreciate. To build memories. To tell the people you love, that you love them.
41,000 children lose a parent every year in the U.K. It’s a staggering and heart breaking number. It’s been on my mind this week, with the 20 year anniversary of Diana’s death. The impact it had on her sons lives. How they miss her still. How irreplaceable a parent is.
I am 38 and I have needed my mum more than ever this year. I needed her as a child, obviously, but I have needed her as an adult too. When I became a mother, it was my mum that watched out for me. Would come to my house and see the washing overflowing, or notice I was a exhausted and send me to bed while she cared for my baby, and so much more. When I went back to work, she has looked after the boys one day a week for me, despite working full time as a nurse herself. So they were in childcare one day less and I could feel less guilt. My mother is a constant, positive, calming, loving presence in my life. Not having a mum, even at 38 is unthinkable!
(Mum and I, 3 days before I got diagnosed with cancer, celebrating Mother’s Day)
When Sam was 11 weeks old, Damian lost his dad. It was an unbearable time for Damian. A newborn child in the U.K. and a dying father in Australia. He was literally torn in two. Losing his father when he became a father, has left a massive hole for Damian. He talks about all the questions he would have asked his dad about being a dad. Of the positive and loving presence he would have been for our boys. Of the wish he has, that Grandad Ian could have held them both, just once.
(Damo with his sister Melissa, mum and dad, as a teenager!)
We never know when a loved one may no longer be with us, or how long any of us have (terror attacks remind us all of that far to often.) What we do know, for certain, is how much people mean to us. We shouldn’t let the daily grind mean we don’t make memories. See those you love as often as you can. Tell them you love them.
As Winnie the Pooh said ……