21st August, 2014 – 8.59am. On this day, this exact hour last year.

eyes crying in dark

It’s funny what horrible things your mind remembers. This exact hour last year, I found mum in bed – groaning – eyes rolling-unresponsive to stimuli.

I had to grow up and fast. I called an ambulance from mum’s home phone in her living room and they somehow called me back on my mobile. The operator calmly gave me instructions over the phone on how to give first aid. I thought the paramedics would give up on her, when I told them she had terminal cancer.

Experienced suffocating nightmares all night – one I remember are a group of old classmates leading me through a door down some stone spiral stairs in the dark. We reach a dead end, they run back up and close the door behind me.

Mum’s cat has been acting up in a big way –he was there this day last year too, quivering behind the TV. I wonder if he remembers too.

20th August, 2014 – The nasal trimmer and other things.

parrots by mum

Well it’s here, the 1st anniversary of mum’s diagnosis.

An odd thing happened too – the flood stuff we had taken into storage at the end of last year – some people arrived in a tiny van to bring it back – two pieces of furniture which belonged to my mum a box of beer and wine glasses and a nasal hair trimmer (still in the box, bought as a joke for my OH because he has a few vines growing out of his nose).

Was delighted to see mum’s favourite furniture – a wooden bookcase and display cabinet. They’re very nice, even though they’re not my taste. We’re really grateful to have any furniture at all and it’s nice to have a bit of mum back in the house.

Other than that, the day has been quite normal. I took the flowers to mum’s resting place, then checked the other plots around her were ok. I could only will myself stay a few minutes in the cemetery.

Went to art centre on spur of the moment to try and arrange an exhibition of mum’s work. The lady in charge won’t be in until tomorrow.

And now what to do with the nasal trimmer…

19th August, 2014 – Didn’t want to get thrown out of the cemetery, so settled for some boring red carnations instead.

yellow mum heart

Another anniversary…is it really a year? No way! Wow, it feels like only last week … can’t believe a year has passed since mum’s diagnosis.

Got the flowers ready to visit her tomorrow. I almost bought a miniature novelty cactus from Tesco which was dressed in pink sunglasses. Didn’t want to get thrown out of the cemetery, so settled for some boring red carnations instead.

The last week has been rubbish if I’m honest – spent most of it thinking about tomorrow. It’s a 48 hour anniversary really, as the following day this time last year, mum almost successfully tried to kill herself.

Had a good think about showing her beadwork work to an arts centre for exhibiting this morning. It’d be a lovely way to mark the first anniversary of her death in November. It’d be wonderful to share her work with others.


14th August, 2014 – A strange dream

cat and doors

Today’s strange dream…

The wind blew open the double French doors (we don’t have double French doors!) and mum’s black cat flew into the garden (the garden looked nothing like ours either!).

Mum suddenly appeared and scooped the cat into her arms and gave him back to me.
The dream came with a vignette surround too.

7th August, 2014 – The last diary entry she ever wrote.

last diary entry 1

The last entry mum ever wrote in her diary was on 6th August 2013,
“ 11.20, ______ Hospital [appointment for scan]. Had a horrible night, was cold and hot. Couldn’t sleep”.


Her writing was spindly and shaky, she usually had such beautiful, artistic handwriting.
This is an example of her normal handwriting:
mums normal handwriting1


She was diagnosed with terminal cancer on 20th August, 2013, so the rest of the pages were blank. That is until I reached Monday December 2nd, 2013:
diary entry after death 1
‘’If I’m still here, make sure to end contract with BT broadband and telephone calls and change to P.O. (Post Office) for calls”

Well that was a shock, as she died a month earlier!

There was also an entry on Saturday December 28th : “Richard Clayderman’s birthday. Favourite artist ever”.


A few weeks before she died, she asked me for some envelopes, so she could write to her sister who had gone back to Canada. Instead of writing on paper, she wrote her thoughts on the envelope. I didn’t realise until I saw this, how confused and paranoid she’d become with the brain mets.
evil envelope side a
Side 1:
“____________ Hospital –
My family are evil I cannot remember why I tried to commit all [suicide]. All I know I don’t why and all my clothes and (?) have been sold. I’ve and my sister come all the way from Canada because she now things out of my (?). My daughter knows knows I have cancer it’s not my fault I can’t get rid of it”

evil envelope side b
Side 2:
“Your evil and I’ll I’ll never forget what you done. I hope it happy”.


I very nearly threw the envelope away at the time as I was so upset when I found it. It was as though it had been written by an angry stranger, not my lovely mum.
Now I realise that it is a small insight into how the cancer had affected her brain and how her perception of the world and people she loved had been affected.

6th August, 2014 – Anniversary

the long walk
Exactly one year today since I took mum for an abdominal scan.

Remembering every single determined exhausted step she took from the hospital car park, to the lift and the long windowed bridge walkway.

*Sigh* – I wonder if other people remember anniversaries like these and do they do it for years to come?

5th August, 2014 – The last hurdle.

tiny flowery path

Mum, it’s taken me a whole year to dare to go back to the last place we visited together alone.

My car had decided to have an epileptic fit yesterday, so I found myself walking that way home from the garage.

Walking down same floral path through the park and past the tennis courts. This time though it wasn’t with you, it was with my OH. As we walked towards the wooden bench next to the bowling green, I burst into tears when I remembered that this time last year I’d sat here with you.

Oh how you’d struggled to walk down that path. You dragged yourself along with such steely determination.

As my OH and I wandered together around the park, peeping inside its nooks and crannies I noticed new small details such as brass memorial plaques on the benches.

Very sweet.