Jane Ballot

Jane Ballot in writing

Dear Mum…

We are working on a production based on this blog. Part of the process has had me thinking about Mum a lot…

Dear Mum

It feels as though so much has happened in the last little while. And everything is overshadowed by losing you. I think that losing a parent must be one of the hardest things to be able to bear. When I was little, all I had to do, practically, was turn around and you would be next to me, or not far away.  As an adult, it hasn’t been much different. You have always been there.

Now you’re not.

Remember when you used to walk through the shops with your hands clasped behind your back and you’d waggle one hand, then I’d run to catch it? Right now, it feels as though you are still walking just a little way in front of me, still waggling that hand to tell me that you’re still there for me. It’s just that I can’t quite reach you.

This cancer thing is flipping scary in so many ways. And yet, strangely, at the same time it’s not. When I had the biopsy, I just knew what was going on. How could I have grown up in a house with you and not known something about medicine and women?

I don’t remember actually thinking to myself that this must be malignant. I think it was that the whole ‘cancer-death’ thing was ringing in my head, which is why, of course, I went to 55. Even if we’d lost you, we still had the house and, particularly, your garden which has been so rich with memories of you over these months. I needed to feel you close by, as much as I wished I could just ask you so many questions.

Standing in the garden, you were with me – you and Dad. And I knew this would all be okay. Somehow.

Being without my mother, my best friend, my mentor, my source of comfort has been so hard. Right now, with this cancer thing, being without my medical advisor and expert guidance has been so much more so. I know I’ve made the right decisions, though, mostly because I’ve been guided by those who you have taught.

I would so love to be able to sit down with you and ask you a myriad of questions. Every time there is anything medical, you know how I would come to you just to check. It’s not that I haven’t trusted other doctors, it’s just that you were my mum and you knew.

Now you’re not here, but I still have to face all of this.

I do know that there is only one way to do this whole cancer journey and that is to do what needs to be done and keep on looking and moving forwards. That’s how you would have approached it. I am like you in that, I know.

I think my whole life I have wanted to be like you. You were the most remarkable woman, doctor and friend. And the best mother.

Obviously, I was never going to get the ‘doctor’ thing right, not like the girls!

Through this cancer thing, I have been told by a number of different people that I am so strong and brave. At the same time that I have been hugely humbled by this, I have also been so, so pleased because, to me, that proves that I must be like you.

I’ve come a long way and there is still a way to go on this journey. I know I can do it, though, because, somewhere not too far ahead of me is that hand, waggling and telling me that it’s okay, you are there with me.

Jane

 

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