Life and Death and Fear

My maw survived.

The necrotic stoma and the pelvic sepsis didn’t kill her after all. The catalogue of complications and ‘things that shouldn’t go wrong, going wrong’ defeated finally – by her will and the medics and just chance.

She’s walking and talking and crabbit that she’ll not be going to Germany with us.

Though the 24lb weight loss she can live with.

She’s back in her own house, champing at the bit that she isn’t up to car journeys or shopping or wee trips out; frustrated with the bag and fucked off she can’t eat without being sick – and nipping my father’s heid. Though he’s happy about that, given the alternative.

We have all survived.

A bit battered by it. By the fear of loss.

The witnessing of her pain transfiguring our relationship with life itself: we are all helpless in the face of death. Nowt truer than that truism.

All of us, simultaneously humbled – diminished and yet bigger than we were.

And I think: How can you be thankful – thankful to what/to whom for fuck sake – when you’ve been the idiot bystander witness to your loved one’s descent into some hellish battle with death?

But that’s what it feels like. Thankfulness. An appreciation of how fragile and beautiful it all is. A renewed understanding of how much and how deeply we love – and what that love means. How that love binds and nurtures. How it sustains. And how simply it can all be taken away.

And how, when you think it’s the worst you’ve lived through and you can witness no more, you realise you know fuck all. Absolutely fuck all nothing. Because it’s not the worst, so long as you can say ‘this is the worst’.

And in the middle of it – the worst of the ‘critical care’ bit of it – our beautiful wee E’s leukaemia kicked back at her and the intensive chemo.

I am ashamed.

Between E and my maw I have two real heroes. But I’m sitting here wanting to scream: It’s not fucking fair. Not fair. It’s not fucking fair – in between feeling scared and feeling pitiably sorry for me. Because I’m still scared. And I still want to cry and rock myself and cry more.

I don’t want to lose my maw or E.

And I haven’t. And I’m thankful.

But I’m still so fucking scared.


5 thoughts on “Life and Death and Fear

  1. The fear is not dependent on how things are going. Just because something isn’t helpful doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel it. It’s okay. I’m thrilled for your mum.

    When are you coming to Germany-land? We are leaving it for six weeks starting from June 8 – any crossover likely?

    • I’ll be in Hanover from the 28th June to 16th July. Then Prague from 16th July to 23rd July then probably (though not certain) back to Hanover (might be another German city) from the 23rd July to 3rd August. Ferry from Rotterdam to Hull on the 3rd… I was hoping there would be a crossover – it would be good to meet. x

      • I’d love to. We’ll be back in Cologne August 1, and will be jet lagged with a three year old, so that may be dependent on you coming here, though.

  2. There is never a known reason for such as this.
    We just have to go through it and be thankful for what we have still got.
    We all know the fear you face. I faced it somewhat with a friend recently but have to put the black tie back in the cupboard for a year or two.
    Be thankful fir what you have, it’s more than many ever get.

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