One of the hardest experiences of my life was getting the phone call informing me that my dad had passed. It happened to be on the day I’d had my 20 week scan during pregnancy and we’d just found out we were having a boy. Being our first child, my dad was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to be a grandfather. He had been diagnosed with cancer a year before but was responding well following surgery and several rounds of chemo.
With my parents being overseas, it made the blow far worse. I had not seen my parents in person in 3 years and could not be there in my mom’s darkest hour. She has been holding on in the hope of meeting her grandson this year and was due to come through in the next few months.
I remember feeling empty. Empty for the rest of my pregnancy, empty for the first few months of bubs’ life. The last conversation we’d had, he’d clearly said he would hold on until he walked on the beach with his grandchild. There was still hope and it had been stripped away without so much as a goodbye.
Fast forward almost 2 years, and I’ve now found out that my grandmother has skin cancer and in the same conversation, that my mother may also have cancer. Travel is nigh on impossible for us at the moment, and at this point the best case scenario for her is surgery and delays on all travel until she is clear. Speaking to her this week, I can hear her voice wavering, her hope slipping away.
While I hold onto the hope that her tumours are benign and that she can make it here, the sense of hope I’d held for my dad is not there. I’m bracing myself for worst and wish I could be more hopeful. My wish was for them to meet their little man, for him to be able to, at very least, have photos to remember them by. Yet now, I’m facing the distinct possibility of saying goodbye to the two matriarchs of my family in the same year.
That being said, if the worst happened, how would I say goodbye to her? With my dad there was no warning, no time to say goodbye. We knew it could happen any day, but it still came as a shock. Now, I’m left wanting to prepare for that phone call, the possible “last call”. Yet every time I think about it, I’m left cold and broken hearted, without so much a sentence to show for it.
How does one say goodbye? Or is it best to keep on hoping that there will always be another day?
Posted anonymously, 25th January 2016