Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 6th January

Ever since Mum died, I have, on occasion, thought of phoning her as I always would, just to tell her something, or to ask a question, or to share a thought. Not very regularly, though.

In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself actually reaching for my phone to phone her, or to send a Whatsapp and it has been an almost physical effort to stop myself from doing so. It only takes a second for all these thought processes to happen, but it is quite disconcerting to actually have to realise each time that Mum will not be on the other end of the phone.

We are on the way home from Sedge and staying at a really nice guest house in Hanover. There are lots of Lesser Kestrels that fly around at dusk and I wanted to tell Mum about them. I suppose, in some way, I did.

This is where I find that it’s so good to have the siblings. I know that if I tell them how I am feeling, they will relate completely. Perhaps they are not experiencing the same thing right now, but they will have done so, or it will happen to them too.

We’re all so used to having Mum around and sharing things with her. She was like that: so much a part of our lives and so interested in everything her children and grandchildren did and the places we visited. I’m sure that at least half the photos I take are with Mum in mind – both to show her and because she loved her photography so much.

I miss her.

Today is three months since the mastectomy. I still wish, so vehemently, that Mum was here – had been here all the time –  for this whole cancer thing. There is no-one I can talk to exactly how I talked to Mum. There is no-one who would give me the kind of advice and guidance that she would. It has been hard, I think, doubly hard, without her.

Also because any one wants their Mummy when they are sick or worried. Or sad.

Having cancer is one thing. Having cancer without your mum around is quite another. Having cancer less than six months after losing your mother is quite on another level.

I know that my cancer and the aftermath are not the most terrible that can happen to a person. Even just in the last four months, I have learnt about too many other people who have had (or have) much more aggressive and more threatening cancers and who have had much more demanding chemo regimes. Because of what I have gone through (and am going through), I can empathise with these people. I can also understand, to a degree (and better than most) some of what they feel.

All this does not diminish my experience and make it any less real and any less threatening for me. And for those around me.

Michael asks me regularly if I will be okay. He does not say much more about the cancer, but that is what he is like.

It’s hard, it’s so hard, to know and to see how those close to me have been affected by this whole thing.

It would also be very, very hard to have had to know that Mum was dealing with her daughter having cancer. She would have been worried and stressed by it all, although she would not really have shown that and would have been very practical.

Although I dearly and selfishly wish she could have been with me through all of this, I am also terribly grateful that she did not have to go through it as a mother.

Selfishly too, I suppose, I am so glad that I did not have to cause her so much upset, my darling mother.

God works in mysterious ways…


  1. Sharon says:

    Love you, my special friend and I hear you, loud and clear. Xx

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