The Curse of Cancer

Dear Mum

Late 1972, saw your first brush with this evil disease, the coming chemotherapy would forever cause intense swelling in your left arm and see you in pain for you for the rest of your life.

We were not to know it at the time, but you would live for another 22 years, in some ways these years would prove to the best of times in my relationship with you and Dad.

Of course, there were rough times ahead as some parts of the family disintegrated, but your illness had seemed to quell the bitterness between you and Dad.

I have often thought, this family operates better in adversity and nothing emphasized this as much as the time after your mastectomy and the ongoing Chemo you suffered through so bravely.

Once there had been bitterness and there would be some to come, but for now; we bonded together to support you and each other.

Steve and Madeline leaving the farm in early 1972 had certainly left you isolated, the bond between you and Steve was the love between a mother and son borne out of adversity at the end of the Second World War.

You had not only, the fear of Dad not coming home but also the uncomfortable situation of living with Dad’s parents; people who you had nothing in common with and shared no bond.

Financial pressures, the antipathy between Steve and Dad, the distrust between you and Madeline, the constant battles they both had with Jerry, all played a part in their decision to leave, but you must have felt his loss enormously.

Is cancer caused by stress? Opinion is divided on this, but logically; anything that causes upset must have an effect on how the body operates.

I was not there for much of this time, but on the times when I did come home; I was proud of you, and happy to see that, as dreadful as this period was; you were determined not to let it beat you.

You started studying again and more and more immersed yourself in your art and the company of people who shared your passions.

The old antipathies for anyone who dared the breach the family walls were still there, but they were subtler.

The bitterness between you and Dad had subsided, at least on the surface and the advent of grandchildren from both Chloe and Gordy and; Steve and Madeline softened both of you.

I loved both my parents at this time and I was to love the times I would spend at the farm over the next few years.

It is strange that something so awful as was happening to you, would be a catalyst to some sort of healing for the family as a whole.





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