A couple of days ago, I emailed my brother telling him it would be good if he could phone our parents. Mum had sworn me to secrecy about her diagnosis but I felt he had a right to know.
They have shared a long history of passionate love for each other often expressed destructively in arguments and long silences. I have long thought that when Mum died Michael would suffer more than any of us for a host of lost opportunities for magical memories.
I feel strongly that he had a right to know about Mum in the same way as my other brother and myself. I do not think it was fair to treat him differently. I was in a real dilemma to go against my mum's wishes or to do what I felt was the right thing. In the end, I stage managed a phone call so that he would find out the awful truth.
So now he knows and we spoke yesterday. He describes himself as "devestated" and in his case this is not a word used at all lightly. He has had cancer himself and has persuaded his oncologist to look at Mum's records. However, Mum and Dad appear to not be going with this generous offer. Pride it seems will last a lifetime. Meanwhile there is no clear information coming from their current medics which is frustrating for us all. Sometimes, I find myself feeling quite hard. If the cancer is incurable, why is Mum subjected to all these tests and invasions? Yes, we can all want her to stay with us for ever but wouldn't it be better for her to go peacefully and soon without all the loss of dignity.
I know she has some views about how her funeral should go. She always used to say she wanted a jazz band there. Today, I looked at some funeral readings to see if any reflected how I feel and what I would want to share about her. It helped in a funny sort of way.
I find myself as the "baby" of the family being the lynchpin for communications between family members. It is a heavy burden but also complimentary in that they must think I am the strong one. Or maybe these things always fall on the woman!
I kept a mental note today of all the things I was asked to remember and do that were actually other people's jobs. It was my job apparently to remind my children to remind their Dad to give them their Comic Relief money. It was my job to persuade Mum to take up my brother's offer of medical support. It was my job to reply to an email from my husband's colleague informing him of the colleague's wife's death from breast cancer. It was my job to send family news to my stepdaughters. And so the list goes on.
There were some lovely moments today. My youngest son came out of nursery with his face painted in red spots, big splodges of Comic Relief madness. My daughter gained a superstar award for her reading. My son was proud to go into his Dad's work "like a grown-up". Life goes on and is definitely for the living!