That was the great thing about this happening to a person like my Mam. She is such a strong lady that she made her cancer some sort of joke. A joke for her anyway. She’d constantly go on about how much we’d all miss her because she is possibly the greatest person to walk this earth.
Of course, she was exaggerating, she didn’t love herself like most politicians out there or celebrities who have been born into fame and constantly told by people around them how perfect they are. The hilarious thing about these situations was how everyone around her would be hysterically crying, genuinely sad tears and she would just laugh it off and tell everyone to man up. That was easy for her to say. She was the one that was going to die.
My mother’s dealing with her stage four diagnosis was what made the horrific scenes at the hospital easier. The tubes going in and out of each and every vein. The photos Daddy sent me after her first few rounds of chemo and the news that it wasn’t working. The more upbeat photos of her sat with a large gin and tonic in the hospice more recently. It was all of this that encouraged me to book my flight to Paris on September 4th. Today.
However, today is different. I’m not feeling as cocky in my ability to handle the loss of my mother which will inevitably happen. Initially I thought that exploring Europe would set me free from the pain that is about to come but then I feel the pain will creep up on me sooner and I’m not ready to handle it alone.
I have had such an intensely beautiful month spent in Dublin with my family, visiting Mammy every day and making memories that I am going to hold on so tightly. The same way a toddler would squeeze onto their Mum out of jealousy while she was breastfeeding their new born brother. So many memories yet not enough. I am not ready to go.
As I sit and pack the last of my survival kit into a bag that already looks too big to lug around station after station and up numerous sets of hostel steps, I stare at the photo of Mammy and I from graduation. The proudest moment of my life so far and one of hers. I look to the right of me at Jenna and consider where it all went wrong. I wonder what she is doing right this minute and a part of me wants to speak to her. Though it was her decision to leave, to allow her life to go off track, she still may silently need her older sister.