Feeling helpless and navigating Christmas.

I have come to the conclusion it was easier to go through my own cancer journey than watch someone else especially when that someone is my 15 month old grandson.

Theo hasn’t responded to the initial chemo regime and so is now starting a much harsher one. His breathing has been compromised hence he is now in PICU. Apparently he is likely to get the same symptoms as I got – hair falling out and as I wrote in a previous blog. Prior to hair falling out my head was really painful. Ulcers that went down my throat. Feeling sick. How do you explain to a baby that this will pass eventually.

In past blogs I have talked about ‘strength’ and now I understand what people meant. Theo’s parents are strong because they want and need to be for their son. However underneath they are crumbling. They are having to face realities and deal with new blows every day that no parent should face.

Friends ask me how I’m coping – same as Theo’s parents I have chosen to be strong. Believe you me it would be all to easy to curl up in a ball and go into self pity mode. But I have a daughter who needs me and so the choice is easy.

I came off all the ‘grieving’ social media sites within weeks of Julian dying because if I am honest they freaked me out. To read comments such as ‘ my husband died 5 years ago and I still cannot get out of bed’ was soul destroying. Some posts still appear on my newsfeed and of course now they are all about Christmas and ideas as to how to get through the holidays. I wish with all my heart that my broken heart was just because Julian won’t be here. I wish that it won’t just be one person missing at the table but 5 more people.

I used to love making lists in December- loads of food ones. Inevitably I usually forgot to take them when I went shopping and would get so stressed as to how we would get through Xmas day without whatever ingredient I had forgotten. Christmas Day would fly by and then Julian or I would say all that effort and money on one meal.

This year I have not made one list and I barely know what day it is. I cannot plan anything because the reality is we are living day by day sometimes hour by hour. At some point we will have our turkey ( after having googled how to carve it) but the main focus for me will be appreciating the time I can spend with my family be it at home or in the hospital and the best gift would be Theo’s siblings being healthy enough so that they are able to visit him Christmas week and for Theo himself to on the road to recovery.

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