I have a hole in my stomach.
It’s horrible, achy, painful and black. It expands and contracts as I breathe. It’s getting bigger and I’m scared it’s going to swallow me whole. I believe it’s called grief, but that seems such a small and insignificant word to describe a feeling so big and all-consuming.
Tonight, I spoke to Dad. I rang him up to discuss a website and various other bits and bobs. My uncle had sent me a photo of the family from the weekend. I enquired who a few people were (I get confused by distant relatives) and asked after Mum – she looked small and tired.
She’s sleeping more. Her bloods are fine. She’s just tired. There’s no point in scans now so we don’t know how the disease is progressing unless there are markers in her blood results. I guess her body is just tired of fighting this crap.
We spoke about summer. We don’t know how well Mum will be then… if she’s still with us then. Once again it hits me in the stomach, ripping me in two. Sometimes I forget for a moment – but never for long. Grief doesn’t allow that. Cancer doesn’t allow that. It doesn’t let you forget. As soon as your drop your guard, even for a second, it will strike again.
I spoke to my brother. I had to explain who the family members in the photograph were, how they fit, who they’re related to. It occurs to me that we might not only lose Mum when she dies.
Nights like these I don’t know what to do. Crying seems so pointless, yet often it just happens and I’m left exhausted when it finally stops. I want to curl up, I want a hug, I want someone to tell me it will be okay; thinking like that reminds me of being younger when Mum or Dad would stroke my hair and tell me it will be okay. But they can’t right now, because they’re not here, and it won’t be okay. I want to run and run; to keep running until I can’t. But realistically, it’s gone midnight, I’m crying – it probably wouldn’t be the safest idea.
So I’m left in a state of confused grief; clinging onto hope that we might have a few more weeks or months whilst attempting to accept that we probably won’t. I feel utterly lost and alone in this strange situation. Imagining a future without Mum seems impossible, I’ve never known a life without her and thinking about it sends me into a state of turmoil, so I don’t.
I wish I had someone to talk to who knew how this felt. My brother has gone to bed. I don’t want to burden my friends – I’ve been banging on about this cancer thing for over a year now and I imagine they’re getting bored of it. They have their own issues too, their own lives. I live with a cancer cloud day in, day out, but they shouldn’t have to, too.
Someone sent me a list of organisations in my area the other day. I look through them. There’s some ‘bereavement support’, but I’m not bereaved (yet) so that’s no good. There’s one for parents, siblings and grandparents. I am none of these. It only serves to make me feel more lost and alone. I know there are no words that can fix this. I know that it has to hurt, but sometimes hurting with someone who understands, instead of hurting alone, can help.
It’s half two, now. I’m hoping to get a night of unbroken sleep but I can’t remember the last time that happened. Lately I’ve been going to sleep with the radio on; it feels less lonely. The darkness can be scary when all you have are your thoughts, sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one in the world.
There’s no grand meaning to this post. No take-home message. It’s just me, speaking to you, whoever you are. Thank you for listening.