This is a Bolton week. This is the week for Ellie’s second dose of chemo. As we feared, it’s made her feel very nauseous, despite apparently super-efficient state-of-the-art anti-sickness medication.
So I’m in loco parentis. One of my duties was to take the boys to what Ellie cheerfully calls ‘Grief Club’.
‘Once upon a Smile’ supports bereaved families in all kinds of ways, practical and emotional. The children often have fun together – and appreciate being with other young people who share their unwanted feelings of raw emotion and grief. Yesterday they were at the Trafford Centre, so I had an hour to waste there while the boys got competitive on the bowling alley.
‘Waste’, because shopping is no kind of therapy for me. And the Trafford Centre is a château, a folly, a temple to consumerism. Just look at this. Look at the kitsch statues, the faux gold, the marble, the sweeping staircases and the wannabe classical fountains. And this palace, which dates from as long ago as 1998, is merely a home to the likes of Marks and Spencer, Boots, Next and Paperchase. I got crosser and crosser as I thought of what fun I’d be having if instead I was at a community market, chatting to the locals. And I was cross with myself too, for feeling so holier-than-thou.
Perhaps the Trafford Centre wasn’t built with me in mind. The boys had fun though, which was the entire point of the excursion.
This week’s WordPress photo assignment challenges us to share a wish.
Seokbul-Sa Temple, near Busan
I have chosen an image of the cheerfully optimistic and colourful prayer lanterns we saw so often suspended from the ceilings in the Buddhist temples of South Korea to illustrate our family’s wish, which will come as no surprise at all to regular readers of this blog.
We’d like my daughter Elinor, aka ‘Fanny, the Champion of the World‘, to be cancer-free by the time her twin boys become twelve. Then they, and we can truly celebrate their birthday, shadowed since they were eight by the cancer firstly of their father, then of their mother. It’s chemo-time at the moment. Not much fun, but all in a good cause.
It’s everything to ask. But surely neither greedy nor unreasonable.
A third Christmas with cancer as an unwelcome guest. Regular readers of my blog know my son-in-law died of cancer after living with it for two tough years. Regular readers also know that his widow, my daughter, got her own cancer diagnosis only weeks after his death. Regular readers have read some of her feisty, angry, witty pieces about this wretched disease. They know that her initial hopes : ‘Breast cancer is NO BIG DEAL’ vanished in the face of evidence of more and larger tumours. She faced more invasive tests and scans. Friday was results day.
A month ago, news that she will need a mastectomy, probably six months of chemotherapy, and perhaps radiotherapy as well would have pitched her, and all of us into a pit of helpless gloom. Now it’s a reprieve. Now we can face 2017 hopeful that after all this she will live, will see her twins grow up, will continue to be an important part of the lives of all her friends and family.
I don’t feel like glibly heading this post ‘Snapshot Sunday’ as I usually do. But this week’s theme, ‘New Horizon’ is relevant. My daughter – all of us – have a new horizon to work towards as her treatment seeks to return her to a cancer-free future.
Ellie and the boys’ dog Brian dashes towards the horizon in Anglesey in August, just before Ellie’s diagnosis.