Now we have reached October 2004. From this date to the present, I am still greatly affected about what has happened to my family and I. Although October was the month in which my pain and heartache started, two years later on Saturday 24th June 2006 was the day that many things ended. Equally, it was the day that many other things and experiences begun.
Monday 11th October 2004
“Come on Bex, up you get.”
“Yeah, ok mum, just five more minutes. Please?”
“No. Now!” With that, I peeled off my covers and rolled out of my bed. I stood up and pulled back my curtains. The sun was glistening and the leaves on the trees were swaying in the morning breeze.
“Bye, I’ll see you after school. Love you”
“Bye mum. Love you too.” So, there I was strolling off towards school for yet another long day.
“BRRRRRING!” At long last, the end of another exhausting and dragging Monday at school. Lumbered with bags and files, I started my journey towards home. When I, eventually reached my house, I recognised Siobhan and Ruth were running about frantically. I asked what their problem was; they replied with the words, “Mum’s gone.” I was so confused; I had no idea what they were doing or what they were talking about. Suddenly, it clicked. Mum had been ill for quite a while now, which had been extremely odd, as mum hardly ever got ill. If she ever had the flu she would still be up and down, being her busy old self, helping people, caring for people, being there for people. When we had all calmed down, we retired to the front room.
Siobhan picked up her phone and tried to call Mum, Ruth did the same and phoned Dad, I also called someone, my Uncle John. He had been at home all day looking after mum, due to the fact that she wasn’t feeling to good. The three phones rang and rang. No one answered. Not Mum, not Dad and not even John. Yet again, panic had struck in the Heneghan house. Siobhan then noticed my Mum’s flowery coffee cup, placed upon the table in front of me. She walked over and dipped her finger into the coffee. It was stone cold. The panic in the house was growing by the second. No note, no text, no phone call. Nothing! The three of us just sat there, we knew that the only thing any of us could do was wait.
That night as Dad returned home, he sat us down and explained where Mum was. Immediately we all got in the car and drove to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. We sat tight listening to what we were being told about our critically ill Mum. After having found some active cancerous cells in recent blood tests, she had been called into hospital at once. The doctors explained that she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and needed an immediate transfer to St. James’ Hospital in Leeds.
Mum remained there for two months, in the Leukaemia unit on ward 68, room 5. Two months seemed like a long time for Mum to be away from home, but the fact that I wouldn’t get to see her much, as we lived a twenty five minute drive away, seemed totally irrelevant. I thought to myself, as long as she’s in the best place for her, then that’s all that truly matters. Isn’t it?
Saturday 25th December 2004
Christmas day had arrived. Could I have possibly been more wrong about my earlier prediction? It certainly was one huge issue that Mum hadn’t been there for the previous two months. It was unbelievably hard for my Dad, both my sisters and I. With cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing and various other jobs to do, the four of us were finding it an enormous struggle. Being thirteen, I had never really done many of these “jobs” before and some of which were new to me. I realised how much I had taken my Mum for granted and had relied on her for thirteen years of my life. Now, it was time to grow up.
Friday 31st December 2004
New Years Eve and also, the day Mum was allowed to return home. Lumbered with bags upon bags of tablets, medicines and dressings, Mum, emotionally, unpacked her bags and remained on a strict diet of only certain foods and liquids. Weeks passed and finally, there was a phone call saying that they had found someone whose bone marrow matched Mum’s and that she was now ready to start the transplant process. At this, Mum repacked her things and, once again we kissed her goodbye.
Friday 25th February 2004
The day of the transplant. Mum was now being treated in the BMTU (Bone Marrow Transplant Unit) back in St. James’ Hospital and was to remain there until further notice. With long daily visits from her husband and her three girls, Mum made a rather speedy recovery and returned home, again, on Friday 8th April 2005. Although this time, it was for good. Or so we thought!
The family was told it would be about eighteen months until Mum would be in the all clear. With weekly check-ups, four months had past. Next, the check-ups were every fortnight, eight months had passed. Now, the check-ups were monthly and sixteen months had passed. It was now May 2006. Two more months to go and then Mum would be fully recovered.
Thursday 25th May 2006
Apparent side effects and symptoms were starting to happen to Mum. These had come from her, now small, dose of tablets and medicines. We were told that these symptoms she was experiencing had never been obvious in any patient before, yet they were happening to my Mum. They were happening to my family. They were happening to me. Who could I turn to? Where could I go? I couldn’t, I had to be strong. I had to be there for my Dad and my sisters but most of all, for my Mum!
Within the next few weeks of Mum being in intensive care, in the BMTU, things got rapidly worse. Mum started to deteriorate; her platelets became lower, as did her blood count, also part of her memory.
One of the worst things I have ever experienced in my whole life was when I went to visit my mum. She was drugged up with large amounts of morphine and her other medications. This made Mum’s memory and mind very vague and distant. As I was visiting, I walked into her room. She stared at me blankly, just looked straight through me. She had no idea who I was. I walked over to her, stroked her hair and kissed her on the head. She peered up at me.
“Who are you?” she asked me. I burst out into tears and ran out of the room. It was the worst feeling I have ever had. My heart just sunk like an anchor on a ship. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that my own Mum didn’t know who I was. Eventually, I pulled myself together and managed to go back in to support my Mum and to be there for her every single step of the way.
Saturday 17th June 2006
The whole family were called. We had been told that Mum would have just a few more hours to live. My heart started to bleed viciously. I felt so sick. It was too hard to think about the fact that these few precious moments could be the last ones I would ever share with my Mum. Once again, Mum managed to prove the doctors wrong. She hung on in there for yet another week with my dedicated Dad at her bed side, all day and all night.
Saturday 24th June 2006
Heartbroken and alone, Dad returned home with the expected news.
She was gone!
It was over. Mum was in no more pain. Her suffering had ended. She was fast asleep, resting in the place that was best for her.
I was fourteen when it happened and it was now time to start living my life without my Mum. It was right in the middle of my school exams. I did them. She never left my mind of course, but with my friends, family and also a huge help from my teachers, I did them. I had to; I knew it’s what she would have wanted.
Even now I still hear her sometimes, waking me up in a morning. Shouting me down for my tea. Telling me to clean my bedroom. It hurts and I know full well that it always will, but at the same time, it has made me so much stronger. I could never forget my Mum, no matter how unhappy I may be at times, no matter how much pain and heartache this ordeal has caused me. I know, deep down, that she will never leave me. She will always be looking down, watching over me and will always stay in my head and in my heart. For eternity she will be a marvellous Mummy, wonderful wife, devoted daughter and fantastic friend. I miss her so much, words cannot describe. Wherever you are Mum, I love you!
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