The "C" Word - Part 3: Forget-Me-Not

When I was young I believed I was the first person to ever stumble upon Forget-Me-Nots. I was playing in my garden, as I ran up and hid from my Dad behind the wooden shed, I saw these tiny little blue and pinkish flowers in the hedge behind me. I picked them and thought they were beautiful, I forgot about hiding and ran to my Dad so excited with my new discovery. Of course, he went along with it smiling and acting as excited as I was over this. For a while after, I truly believed the Forget-Me-Not flower was "mine".

Did you know that within someone's last days, they can really make very little sense in what they say? Not all of the time, just sometimes. I'm not entirely sure why, I'm sure there is a good explanation behind it and I feel like I was told, but frankly it is something I do not wish to look up. It's something I switched off to.

It was a week before when I sat beside the bed.

"Em, have those shelves gone up in the kitchen yet?"
'Um... What shelves?...'
"You know... The shelves"

I panicked slightly, I was completely unsure as to what was happening. Was I being really stupid? Are there shelves in the kitchen that were supposed to be going up? I wasn't sure, everything surrounding me had become sure a blur over the past few months that I was totally unaware.

"Am I speaking in a different language or something?!"

We both shot a quick look at the family friend who had quietly slipped in and sat down on the other side of the bed.

'No, you're making perfect sense' The family friend shot me a look and a wink back
'Oh, sorry, the shelves! I completely forgot about them, no they're not up yet but I think we're sorting them once we go home'
"Oh okay, good. They'll look nice once they're up won't they?"
'Yeah, they will!'

It was February 15th 2012 when my big brother turned up at the house from Leeds.

He had come home because he simply didn't feel that things were right. Personally, I felt the same but just swallowed the feeling whole and pretended that it didn't exist. That night my brother asked me if I wanted to go to the hospice, he felt that we needed to. I agreed. I was afraid. The room in the hospice felt crowded that night, the air was thick. It didn't feel right.

It was 4:05am when the phone rang.

It didn't wake me as I was already awake. I had an interview for a Fashion Design degree at University coming up and I was trying to prepare myself. That night I took all of my work to bed; portfolios, research and sketchbooks everywhere. I told myself that tomorrow morning I would go to the hospice and show all of the work I'd done and it'd be a really proud moment.

It was 3:50am when I decided to stop working.

It was a pit in my stomach that stopped me from working. That same gut feeling that made me so afraid of the "C" word for all of those years, that feeling that something bad was going to happen.

I packed away my things and I got back into bed, and I just sat looking at the blank wall ahead of me. It was that same white noise around me. I felt as though I was waiting for something, and while I felt as though I could guess what, I pretended I didn't know. I just waited.

It was 4:05am when the phone rang.

I thought I was going to be sick. I heard my parent's bedroom door open and footsteps run across the landing to my door.

"Em, get dressed, we need to go to the hospice"

I was dressed and downstairs within minutes while my brother was woken up. I paced back and forth, clenching my fists and my eyes darting to the clock every few seconds. My hands were shaking, my heart was pounding, my legs felt like jelly, my stomach turning, my head spinning.

On 16th February 2012, I lost my Dad to his battle against cancer at 57-years-old.

I sat alone beside him in silence. I expected him to turn over and say something silly. I remembered all of the times I had denied what was happening. I remembered him telling me to be strong for my mum and for my brother.

For the first time in months, I cried. Uncontrollably. I was short for breath and I couldn't stop it. There is absolutely nothing I can compare the pain I felt in that moment to. It is beyond imaginable. This is a pain I now live with each day, some days it is much worse than others. Some days I will find myself crying and crying over it as though I was back in that moment.

It has been three years.

It is not a pain you get over. It is a pain that you learn to live with. It is not a pain that most people at my age can relate to or will even try to understand. It is a pain that I simply just hope people can accept and help me through.