The Unspoken Word

We knew when the hospital called him in three days early, what it was.

However when it’s someone that you love your never willing to give up hope that it might be something else, absolutely anything else.

People say ignorance is bliss, so the night you arrived with the woman who has loved you since the moment you were born, we chose to pretend nothing was wrong or at all unusual about nanna sitting at the kitchen table on a Monday night in mid-December. Although that evening certainly was not bliss.

When I heard the crunching of the gravel drive as the car you adore pulled up, I rushed to the door but paused for a deep breath and a silent prayer for good news (even though we have never been religious). Instead I opened our red front door and saw you crying for only the second time in my eighteen years of life. No words were spoken as we hugged because none were needed. Although it still killed us to hear the words which just a few short months ago while celebrating my birthday in York, were unimaginable.

Cancer, a word which I found two definitions for in the dictionary on that dark Tuesday night.

  • A disease caused by uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the part of the body, this didn’t seem to fit with what we were experiencing, as it implied something scientific, clinical and completely lacked any emotion.
  • An evil or destructive practice or destruction or phenomenon that is hard to contain or eradicate. This definition summed up the emotional turmoil which we were all feeling as it became clear our lives were not the only ones effected. My Grandma, your mother-in-law broke down in tears as did your friends and former colleagues, because the shock waves were so difficult to control as it was such a monumental surprise, as you were only 49 years old. We were also aware that we had a phenomenal fight on our hands, as it had already spread.

I learnt a lot throughout this difficult period, not that it’s a learning experience I wish to endure again.

I learnt who we can truly rely on in life, what real friends are.

I learnt that you are not infallible as I had naively believed during my childhood.

I learnt that you want ‘Simply the Best’ by Tina Turner at your funeral, because your ‘better than all the rest’

I learnt that A-level’s are only important for going to university and that happiness does not depend on A*grades.

I learnt that it’s alright to struggle and grieve for the life we had before, where I innocently took your presence in my life for granted.

I learnt that it’s okay to need external help to process and come to terms with my emotions and fear. (I will discuss my experience with counselling in another post)

It also reaffirmed knowledge I already possessed

You are the strongest man I will ever know. Because I very much doubt the majority of people would have had the strength to endure the excruciating pain from the radiothereapy treatment, especially in the latter weeks when you had to be covered in clingfilm (due to the external burns) simply to have more treatment.

My mum, your wife is extraordinary because she kept all the different pieces of our life together, even though the emotional pain she was experiencing herself was immense because she adores you (yes,even when she nags about DIY or dirty dishes).

As it is the 2 year anniversary of the successful completion of your cancer treatment, I wanted to reflect and give thanks to the NHS, specifically the Northern Centre for Cancer Care for the medical treatment which saved my dad’s life. Plus I wanted to praise the Macmillian Cancer Support nurses for their advice and guidance.

Sadly cancer is a disease which effects many people’s lives and is so often only discussed in clinical terms.

So I would like to know what have your experiences been? and what did you learn during that difficult time?

Find Part 2 Here:

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