Your Children Must Be Scared

There was a lot of cancer talk.

I made a new friend who I instantly liked and we talked all things cancer. Her diagnosis, my diagnosis. Her treatment plan, my treatment plan. I got some great tips, learnt a few (more) things I didn’t know, and walked away feeling stronger. I went home and made notes: get the name of the nail stuff that helps stop your nails from falling out, look for ginger lollies, mouthwash. I emailed the cancer nurse and read over my oncology notes before rushing out the door to meet up with friends I hadn’t seen since I left in June.

Over lunch we talked cancer again. A friend had been there, done that. We compared stages, types and cycles before I retold the story of the past month. There were giggles, numerous inappropriate jokes, and sincere questions over children and what needed to happen next. Good friends.

The supermarket was an afterthought. I ran in, found the right aisle and did the price check between Rexona and Dove. When she asked if I was the lady with the blog who had cancer I hesitated, I mean, there’s a lot more than one, maybe she didn’t mean me. She didn’t seem to know my name. My children, how old were they? They must be scared. The universe was surely trying to tell me something. It was a great opportunity to listen.

I thanked her. I have no idea why, I think possibly just to get away, but I thanked her? I went through the motions: school pick up, the corner store, the re-cap of the day. I was quietly seething. My children, that’s my children your talking about lady who doesn’t know my name.  What’s the universe trying to tell me? That it’s my turn? That sometimes the universe is an arse? That life is complicated and messy and full of shit that we all have to somehow learn how to deal with?

When G came home the day was discussed over a beer. Ms 13 sat nearby with headphones and an episode of Pretty Little Liars. I told him of all the new things I’d learnt. I could lose my fingernails. I would possibly lose all taste for coffee, wine, and bubbles. The steroids may have me sleepless, I could blow up like a balloon.

When it came time for kisses goodnight Ms 13 asked me to crawl into bed with her. We spooned, went through the pics on her wall and I stroked her back. “Mum, you know your story will be your story, what happens to everyone else is their story. I’ve heard you say that. You don’t know what’s going to happen to you until it happens. Maybe some of the things that happened to other people won’t happen to you – you don’t know yet. ”

I kissed her cheek, squeezed her with both hands firmly wrapped around her waist. “You’re a clever girl. When did you get so clever?”

We said our mantra, our every night goodnight.

“Love you”

“Love you more”

“Impossible”

“Possible”

I listened to her breathing change and crawled out of the bed. Your children must be scared. Maybe. I know I am. But we’re going to be okay, this is our story, no-one else’s.

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