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When I saw Nickie's site I knew I wanted to write about my experience. Its been a long-time since I lost my brother and sometimes I feel a bit numb about it all like I've just closed the door on it all.
While I sat thinking what I’d like to say and share I remembered that I’d written a piece before at school while it was all going on. I felt compelled to find it I knew it was somewhere boxed up, as I would never have thrown it away. I ventured the boxes of old memories and actually found it. I’ve decided to share this rather than write a new piece, as it is so full of the feelings I had then and my hormonal teenage angst, I don’t think I could express it better now.
I’ll give the background to this piece as its relevant… I was 15, I was a bad pupil, I was messing about in class, I got sent to sanctuary to sit in a class room on my own. The teacher there threw pen and paper at me and told me to write something. So I did. My pen frantically scribbled across the paper as the words flew out…He looked a little scared glimpsing up from the desk. When the bell rang I placed it on his desk and went to my next lesson. The school called my mum.
This is exactly how I wrote it aged 15.
[ Tuesday as I made my way home from school I was worried about several things, mainly homework and an argument I’d had with a friend. Strange considering when I got home my 18-year-old brother was to have his brain scan results. I wasn’t worried about it. He’d had a few since his first tumour two years ago, which they removed and they had all been clear. He had his Chemo and the remaining bits had gone we were all back to normal. This was old news. Mum had not even gone to the hospital just Dad and Matthew so it wasn’t a big deal.
I was having tea in the kitchen.
Mum was in the lounge.
I heard the door go.
Mum went into the hall.
My brother came into the kitchen.
Dad was talking to Mum in the lounge.
I was half watching TV and stuffing my face when I asked him ‘How did it go?’ Matthews voice was calm as he told me he was going to die…all I could say was ‘Why?’
Then I heard a noise I’ll never forget as long as I live, the screams of a mother being told she was about to lose her son.
The scan was a full body scan I don’t think the others were because this one showed he had tumours again, multiple tumours on his spine. An operation would mean he could never walk again at best. Chemo could be used again but it would not stop the inevitable. There is nothing they can do he is going to die.
I can’t be bothered with school.
I can’t be bothered with my stupid friends.
I want to sit down the beach, watch the sea and smoke cigarettes.
If people don’t like that I really don’t care. ]
Matthew died a year later aged 19. The bravest boy I ever knew. He has left a hole in our family but has given us all the gift of never wasting a day, of always knowing things could be worse.
Cancer took a lot away from our family but it has also given us something back. We are closer as a family than I think we ever would have been without it in our lives. It has made us brave in the face of hard times since and we will never have that ‘worst day’ because we have already had it.