I remember the phone call when Mum told me that she had breast cancer. She told me that the doctors had given her 6 months to live.
So many thoughts went through my head. Was it anything that I had done? What was going to happen to her? Will I get it? Why did this happen to my Mum? I was 19 years old – my mum was 43.
After 12 years of treatment, Mum was admitted to hospital on the 8th May 2006. I received a phone call from my dad while at work.
He said to me “she won’t be coming out this time” – I was shocked to hear my Dad say that – this is my Mum, his wife that he was talking about.
I was going to visit Mum that weekend anyway for Mother’s Day, but decided to take the Friday off work.
It was a 4 hour drive to Newcastle. I stopped at Ourimbah (about 20 mins from Dad’s place) when I received a phone call from my brother. He said “Dad’s just gotten the phone call – what do I do?”.
Here I was, still at least an hour from the hospital, and my brother had asked me what to do.
My heart sank. I told him “get yourself to the hospital – I will be there as fast as I can”. I am sure I broke some land speed record to get to my Dad’s place where my Aunty was waiting for me. She drove me to the hospital and I saw Mum.
My mum was a fighter, not this lady lying helpless in the bed, who had lost so much weight, could not breath or move by herself and was yellow because her liver and kidneys were shutting down.
I hugged my Mum. I knew at that moment she would not make it through the weekend.
The oncologist came in to assess her, and he told us “we can fill her full of drugs, but it’s not going to help”. My Dad, my brothers and I decided that after 12 years of radiation, chemo, drugs, losing her hair and hospital visits, enough was enough.
At 5.30am, Mother’s Day, 14th May, 2006, my Mum passed away aged 55.
She never got to see her children marry.
She never got to see other grandchildren come into the world.
Every Mother’s Day I write a poem for my Mum because Mother’s Day is not the same anymore.
My mum was not only a mum, but a wife, an aunty, a nana, a friend, a neighbour and a work colleague.
Breast cancer not only affects the person with the cancer, it affects so many other people in so many different ways.
That is why I participate in the Mother’s Day Classic, it helps make Mother’s Day meaningful again.
By Karyn Thompson, who will take part in the Mother’s Day Classic in honour of her mother Colleen on Sunday May 8. Register or donate at Mothersdayclassic.com.au
Main image source: Shutterstock