“Black Wednesday”

imageWriting this on the train on the way back from London following Julie’s final visit to the Royal Marsden it’s difficult to describe my feelings following the last 15 months.  Dealing with the ups and downs of chemotherapy, the incessant worry while awaiting scan results would appear to be at an end.

Last week we were given the news that there was nothing more that could be thrown at the cancer which would produce a positive result.  Julie and I came out of the Marsden full of apprehension. Not because the news was bad, we’ve been expecting the worst since we were told Julie’s disease was incurable but we had to somehow tell our three grown up children they are going to lose their mum at some stage. I rehearsed by phoning Julie’s dad, he was certainly devastated but held it together.

After the news while walking along the Cromwell Road, Julie was hit by a car while on the pavement,  a wing mirror had clipped her arm, I ran after it but couldn’t catch it.  I got back to her and she was in tears. ” I hate this, I just want to f—–g stand here and scream!”  I just held her for a minute before we continued into the Natural History for lunch.  We sat at a table and I tried to comprehend how Julie was feeling, although I did all the eating, I knew somehow she was sorting her mind.

I had just published my latest Blog about one of my pet subjects, obesity.  We talked about it, Ju gave me the usual lecture about being blunt and to the point and we continued our game of fat watching and boy there was some subject matter wandering the halls of the Museum that Wednesday!  I had just finished my sandwich and a woman came over and asked if we had finished. “Yeah” I answered “Just give us a minute”. She decided to hover.  “I hate this, having to stand over someone” she whined.  The husband appeared.  “Let me clear the table and you can have it” Julie, always the pinnacle of politeness said.  “Come on, come on time’s moving on” The idiot husband attempted to joke.  Enough’s enough!  “You’re not wrong, my wife has just been told she may only have three months to live!” I snap, daring him to continue!  “Surely not?” he was clearly embarrassed.  I had my coat on and started to walk away when I heard Julie’s voice.  “Yes it’s true, I’ve cancer. I’m sorry, it is very raw at the moment!”  Mr and Mrs Pushy went quiet and suddenly I felt embarrassed.  Not embarrassed because for what I said to the couple but embarrassed because for the first time in 40 years, Julie felt she had to apologise for me.

We walked into the gardens of the museum and I apologised to Julie for putting her in the position where she thought my actions needed defending, she held my hand tighter.

After finding a bench to sit on we started to discuss our options.  Did we wait until we arrived back at home then tell our family? Did we want to do this over the phone?   Who to tell first?  They are all adults we decided and this is a time to be an adult.  After much conversation we came to a decision.  I would speak to Simon, our son-in-law first then he could break the news to Leah, then they could speak to Hannah and Nathan.

I made the call to Simon while standing by “the tree that is older than the dinosaurs”, he was clearly upset but as usual he was calm and listened and made suggestions.  I felt a little calmer after talking to Si but something still nagged at my mind.  Julie and I continued our walk up Exhibition Road then took a left past The Royal Albert Hall and back to the hotel for dinner.  All the way we held hands and talked and talked, almost as though we had just met again.

Once back in our room I told Julie what was on my mind.  I had made a promise to Nathan to keep him informed whatever.  “I’m gonna call Nathan, Julie, I made him a promise and don’t want to break it.  He’s a man and an adult and will be able to handle it! He’s working but the guys will support him.”  I made one of the most difficult calls I’ve ever make.  The anger in my son’s voice was there and I knew there was nothing else I wanted but to give him a hug like I used to when he was hurting as a child, but of course he was seventy miles away.

That Wednesday evening was full of mixed emotion, we spoke to Leah, Hannah and Nathan again then Julie’s older brother, each time just as hard.

To Be Continued……

Thanks for Reading 🙂



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