Monthly Archives: June 2015

Just thinking


Tuesday 30th June

“A wife who loses a husband is called a widow.

A husband who loses a wife is called a widower.

A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.

There is no word for a parent who loses their child.

That’s how awful the loss is.”

Love you forever my sweetheart xxx



Monday 29th June

Your brother’s car had conked out. Well, it really belongs to his girlfriend. But anyway, the brakes have failed, the oil filter needs changing, the two front tyres need replacing, and the steering needs checking. What it really needs is a bit of care and attention, oh, and regular servicing probably wouldn’t go amiss. You’d call him a Jerk, or a Ninny.

The garage have had the car since last Wednesday, and today it is ready for collection. Your brother is working, so we are going to take his girlfriend in our car. She arrives with a gift for us: a gorgeous sunflower in a little pot. It has one flower ‘head’, but many, many more buds around the stem. Perfect. She knew you loved sunflowers, and this was so thoughtful.

We drive to the garage, collect the car, and stop to have tea in the garden centre. When we arrive home, your Dad plants the sunflower in a bigger pot, so that it can take root. You would have loved to watch it grow.

Just as you were coming to the end of your chemotherapy, you had bought some sunflower seeds, and said you were going to grow the biggest sunflower ever. Dad has planted those seeds in the garden, and right now the seedlings are about 20cm tall ~ no sign of flowers yet, but the stems look really strong.

My brother in America has also planted sunflower seeds, and his are probably three times the height of ours ~ must be the warmer weather at his cottage.

So your sunflower spirit will live on, across both sides of the ocean.
I just wish you were here to see them.

Love you, my own little sunshine xxx

Sunday outing


Sunday 28th June

Our Sunday’s have gotten into a little routine ~ we collect my mum from the care home, meet up with my sister, and all go out for lunch and afternoon tea.

I was going to say, it was a family outing, but it’s not really, because you’re not there with us. You would always enjoy coming out for Sunday afternoon drives, stopping somewhere for a cake and lemonade, being able to walk outdoors and chat with Nan.

Now, all we can do is talk of you, about you, remembering you. Nan sometimes becomes tearful; she really does miss you, and it is hard for her.

Having said goodbyes to my mum and sister, we end the afternoon with you. At your graveside, talking to you, recounting the conversations we have had. Standing there, in the quiet solitude, just the two of us, we try to understand. But there are no answers.

We miss you.
It shouldn’t have ended this way.
And the tears fall.

Love you forever Angel son xxxx

A quiet day


Saturday 27th June

Late morning, and we’re tending your graveside, renewing the flowers, watering the plants, and trimming the grass. We’ve been doing this daily, for eighty days now. It’s our way of keeping close to you, talking with you and trying to feel your spirit near to us.

Earlier I had bumped into someone who recognised me from school, (he was also a teacher, and I had taught his son), and he asked how I was, as he hadn’t seen me for a while. I found it hard to talk to him, explain about you, and not get upset. He was very kind and understanding though. But I left feeling sad.

It happened again this afternoon when we were out for a walk: a lady we both know just came up to us, and gave us both a hug. She said she was so used to seeing you walking around, you were always there, everyone loved you. She said she couldn’t imagine how we were feeling.

I know how I’m feeling. I’m hurting.

We love you so very much.


A couple of appointments


Friday 26th June

This morning I have my annual appointment with a consultant dermatologist. A whole body examination to look for suspect moles ~ none found. (She doesn’t think the one on my arm looks dodgy at all ~ the one I’m due to have removed next week. Hey ho). Plus a check for any swollen glands ~ none of those either.

We talk about our elder son, and she expresses her shock and kind condolences. She remembers how we would talk about him, our travels, and the fun we used to have together. It was difficult to talk, and we felt sad. All over again. Explaining what has happened never gets any easier.

This afternoon I have an appointment with my lymphoedema nurse for a massage session on my left leg. This is most relaxing, and necessary to move the lymph fluid up, and away from my knee and thigh. As I no longer have lymph nodes at the top of my leg, I have these weekly massages to reduce the swelling. I still have to wear a ghastly support stocking though, but it certainly does it’s job. Alluring it is not.

Later in the day, once the rain has stopped, we come to the cemetery. The sky has cleared, and we watch for vapour trails of the aeroplanes overhead, imagining that you are being flown away on holiday. By now you would have been so excited, with only about a month to go before we flew off to America. But not this year. Not yet.

Night night sweetie pie.
Sweet dreams my Angel.
Love you forever.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy


Thursday 25th June

Instead of sailing across the sparkling, blue ocean, aboard my father’s yacht, I’m floundering in the sea, with the surf breaking over my head, and all I can see are bigger waves on the horizon. What I once had and enjoyed, has now sunk without a trace. Well, that’s what it feels like to me.

Maybe I’m a bit cynical, or I just know what the problem is, but today’s hour and a half course on Stress, left me, well, stressed.

Today I attended the first of four sessions, entitled The Stress Less Course.

I know all the stressful feelings I experience: numbness, guilt, low mood, jealousy, discomfort, insecurity, futility, hopelessness, upset, flat, tearful.

I know the stressful thoughts I experience: worry, cut-off from others, poor concentration, hard to relax, loss of interest, no get up and go.

I know that stress has affected my actions: avoidance of doing things or going places, withdrawal, avoidance of responsibility, eating less.

I know how stress has affected my body: tension, drained, headaches, tiredness, shallow breathing, stomach pains, insomnia,

I know what has caused my stress, that leads then to depression.

My own health has led me to deal with huge changes in my life recently. That I have Stage 3 malignant melanoma is something I think I have accepted since being diagnosed in 2013.

My father passed away in 2009 from Pancreatic Cancer.

My mother is in a Care Home as she has the beginnings of dementia.

My elder son passed away fifteen weeks ago today, diagnosed with Testicular Cancer, having undergone 99 days out of 100 days of chemotherapy treatment.

Oh, and I’ve been signed off work since the day my son died.

So my stress is caused by depression, life problems, anxiety, sleep problems, health problems.

I suppose this afternoon’s session was introductory, and necessitated going through all aspects of stress, anxiety and depression. But I did find it stressful, in that I had to think about what it was that created the stress, and what I should or shouldn’t do about it.

And yes, I know there are coping mechanisms, and things I should be doing to help myself, gently along the way.

I take anti-anxiety medication and sleeping tablets. I don’t smoke, nor do I drink alcohol, but I do like my cappuccinos. I try to exercise by going on a daily walk to increase my normal heart rate. Our diets are improved, and include much fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken. And I find writing about my feelings in this blog, quite therapeutic. I’m also trying to raise awareness and money for a testicular cancer charity, in memory of our son. I also have a goal to focus upon, and that is to climb Mount Snowdon in August.

What I also need to do is learn relaxation techniques, and diaphragmatic deep breathing.

I know I won’t be able to change what has happened, but I would like to feel better about myself, to have my once positive attitude back.

The biggest cause of my feelings of depression is, of course, the death of my son. My grief is, and has been, all-consuming. I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with it. Our lives have been changed forever. The future that we thought we were headed towards has now disappeared, and we don’t know what path to take.

Maybe this group therapy to come to terms with stress, anxiety and depression will be of use to me.
But it won’t bring my son back.
It won’t change the past.

But I need to be able to swim again, without feeling I’m drowning, being able to hold my head above the waves, and reaching the shore without a struggle. The waves will always continue to break, the tides will rise and fall, I know I can’t stop the inevitable, but I’d like to be able to go with the flow, and enjoy the current as it takes me to somewhere better than where I’m stranded at the moment.

As always, thinking of you, my dearest sweet Angel xxxxx

Last night’s sunset


Wednesday 24th June

Yesterday evening we walked down the hill, to the top of the beach, to watch the sunset. It was a beautifully warm end to the day.

Many people were lined up along the wall, or down on the sand taking photographs. The colours in the sky changed from fiery orange to a deep, smoky red.

An aeroplane vapour trail had split the sky, almost creating what looked like wings. And was that an angel shape to the West?

I thought of you. I think of you all the time, but you know that, don’t you? I think of you, with your Angel wings, soaring above the clouds. Care-free. Pain-free. Cancer-free.

Missing you every day.

Month 18 results


Tuesday 23rd June

Speaking with my melanoma trials nurse this morning, I can report that I am NED ~ no evidence of disease. This follows a large battery of tests that were performed two weeks ago. That should be a good thing, right? No metastasis of the cancer. Everything looks normal, with no change to any internal organs.

I should feel over the moon, happy at least, or a huge relief. No cancer in my body. Hip hop hooray.

On the one hand, yes, of course I do, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. For another three months at least, when I go back, and the scanxiety begins all over again.

I’m trying hard not be negative here. But it’s difficult.

Because on the other hand, I do feel “Yeah, so what?”, shrugs shoulders, curls lip. “Whatever”.

You see, melanoma is a sneaky disease, it can lay quiet for months, even years, before unexpectedly exploding back on the scene. It’s not just a case of cut it out, it’s gone, you’re good to go.

I already know that the cancerous cells spread from the mole on my toe, through my lymphatic system, up to the nodes at the top of my leg. This follows a number of surgeries and a skin graft. Despite being told the nodes were encapsulated, there is always that niggling bit of doubt, quietly knocking on the door, at the back of my mind. It’s a bit of a deadly lottery really.

No, melanoma needs much vigilance: perhaps a change in diet and lifestyle, sun awareness and proper sunscreen use. And very careful monitoring of your skin.

So yes, I am feeling positive that I am NED, but I won’t let my guard down. Gone are the days of beach tanning to a leathery brown, my diet now contains lots of fruit and vegetables, and I try to exercise daily by walking, despite the lymphoedema in my leg. Oh, and I use sunscreen every day, too.

(Thinking of my darling boy in heaven, whose cancer was diagnosed too late.
I so wish things had been different.
Love you, love you, love you xxxxx)

Butterfly Kisses


Monday 22nd June

I came across the poem Butterfly Kisses and loved the words.

When we went to your graveside today, it was gently raining down, covering the flowers with sparkling droplets of water. We spoke with you for a while, despite becoming wet: I would like to think the raindrops on our faces were your butterfly kisses.

Of course we’d love to have the real thing, to have you back, to hold, to kiss, to cuddle. You really were very tactile, and genuinely loved to be loved. How we miss you. We break our hearts every single day because you are no longer around.

Sending lots of butterfly kisses to you, my darling Angel son in heaven xxxxx

Father’s Day


Sunday 21st June

You were the reason our family could celebrate Father’s Day in the beginning. Our elder son, born thirty years ago, followed two years later by your brother. Many meals out, cards and presents would be given over your lifetime. You were the reason my husband became ‘Dad’.

I remember one year you sent a card through the post: the envelope simply said ‘Daddy’, followed by our address. I think we still have that somewhere. So sweet, and sent with love.

Today however, was tinged with much sadness, as it is the first Father’s Day without you. Tears were shed this morning, I can tell you. And again when we visited your graveside, sat on the grass, and talked with you for quite some time.

We still can’t quite come to terms with the fact that you’re no longer with us. It just doesn’t seem right at all. Things shouldn’t happen like this. Not in this order. A father should not have to bury his son. It’s not fair.

In the afternoon we wandered down to the beach, where a fancy dress surfing competition was taking place. I’m sure you would have loved to walk about on the sand, listening to the music, and seeing all the weird and wonderful outfits on display. You liked to sit and watch the lifeguards as they patrolled the beach, look at people playing games, or watch the families on holiday having fun.

In the evening we went out for dinner when your brother had finished work. All three of us drank a toast to you, and talked about what you might have chosen from the menu. You should have been there with us, but you were in spirit, and that is important.

We love you and miss you so much.
Dad did especially miss you, on this, his ‘Father’s’ day.

Love you forever.
Sweet dreams my Angel son.