Cancer and other stuff

Auntie Fwan

This weekend I have been in beautiful peaceful countryside visiting my dear friend Laura and her boys, (Big G – husband and Little B – Bertie, aged 2). And for the last 2 days my name has been Auntie Fwan. Which I ADORE.

I’ve talked about Laura before, and I know some of you reading this will know her too. And those who do will know everything she and Gordon have been through in the past 12 months. For those who aren’t aware, this beautiful little family lost their most recent addition, Stanley, last June after just 11 short days with no warning. I will never forget attending his funeral and seeing my darling friend so completely broken. It was a very bleak time for everyone.

Laura and Gordon are happily expecting another child in August and, so far (we only do ‘so far’ hey Laura?), it looks good. Baby is doing well. Mummy is also doing well, in fact amazingly so. The battle she faces on a daily basis is immense. Looking after a gorgeous little two year old tinker, keeping a house and home together, with a steadily growing bump that is playing havoc with her sleep and pelvis would be tough enough I imagine. Add to this feelings of anxiety and trepidation brought on by a complete tragedy that was less than a year ago and it’s a whole different story. This time last year they were looking forward to Stanley’s arrival in May with absolutely no sense of what was ahead and it’s so fresh that of course everyone is bound to be a bit nervous.

This weekend, Laura bravely shared with me the few photos they have of Stanley at home in those first few days, and then at the hospital when sadly his condition became apparent. He was very poorly due to a very rare heart defect that sadly put his tiny, perfect little body under huge strain. Laura and Gordon then had to make the very courageous and agonising decision to let him go.

We talked a lot about it this weekend and I think I finally get a smidgen of the shattering grief and loss their little unit was faced with, and still is. Laura and I often agree that, while our tragedies are, of course, very different, a trauma is a trauma is a trauma. Thankfully most people never go through what we have and neither of us would ever want them to. It’s meant we will always have a bond between us that nothing and no-one will ever break. I feel privileged for her friendship and I hope, actually I know, that she understands she can talk to me about anything, all the unpleasant stuff that ‘normal’ people have no idea about. Things like the type of crippling shock that lingers for months and years, the disbelief, the bewilderment and the very real threat to who you thought you were.

I have to admit that, having seen and cried over the photos of Stanley wired up to a gazillion machines, and what I can only imagine that must have felt like, I honestly think I wouldn’t have been able to go through another pregnancy ever again. But I’m not as brave as Laura, nor do I have the utter devotion to a growing little family that she does. They want a family – a brother or sister for B, the completion of their circle. I have never met a girl more destined to be a mother than Laura, everything she does is devoted to her boys. And if it means she has to dig deep and face the fears that could so easily have swallowed her up, then she’s done it. She does it every day. The pictures she has of her and Stanley together show motherly care, love and complete devotion to the little boy in her arms, it’s written all over her face. Barely a trace of anything other than his welfare, way above her own. I can see it clear as day, I’d never get anywhere near it, even if I could have children I don’t think.

I am inspired by little things on a daily basis at the moment but Laura will always, always be my heroine. I see in her something mind-boggingly amazing. All the time. And to top it off, she’s a great pole dancer too, as evidenced by a DVD from circa 2004. Sorry Laura, I couldn’t resist that 😉 xxx


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