(I haven’t written in so long bear with me as I try to find my writing mojo again)

We all have days in our lives we would rather not remember, that’s for sure. For me today happens to be one of those, because today is an anniversary of sorts, not the celebratory kind, but nonetheless one for reminiscing.

This day 15 years ago I put my baby son 10 mths old in his car seat, no doubt with a kiss on his little chubby cheek. I strapped him safely in the car and off we set for the hospital oblivious to all danger ahead. Sometimes I wonder how I could have been so naive earlier that morning, my friend had offered to take him while I had my appointment, “No, its grand, just routine they are removing the stitches and I will be home in no time”. Even writing about it now brings back lots of emotions, and some anger that I didn’t see what was coming, but how could I have known? No one warned me do not come alone.

We got to the hospital and I remember happily wheeling him along in his stroller glad that I was going to be finished with this routine procedure that had taken so long to get sorted, It was the late June or beginning of July when I had mentioned the annoying itch on my back to a GP, we were now well into the Autumn. When I attended the hospital’s outpatient clinic no-one had mentioned taking extra precautions that summer in the sun, so I hadn’t covered up, I did use suncream and can remember pointing out the offending dark mark under my bikini top to my friend as we strolled back from the beach with our gaggle of kids in tow. But nothing felt urgent or dangerous just inconvenient.

As I was having the stitches out, imagine my delight when the slightly older dermatology nurse and I discovered that she was also born just from a few miles away from my home place back in Ireland. We chatted along as she deftly whipped out the remaining stitches, she made a fuss of my baby, everything was relaxed, normal, no need to panic, but it was the calm before the impending storm.

I often wondered over the years if she knew what was coming when she left the room to fetch the doctor for a chat, if there was any subtle indication I didn’t pick up on it, and in any case I had nowhere to run from what was coming. The news was broken across a desk by a stranger in a white coat, all alone just me my baby, and the nurse from home.

He handled it very badly, I found it hard to forgive him for that, still don’t know that I can. Although I can at least now understand it isn’t an easy situation for anyone, it still hurts when I think of the extra anguish I experienced as a result of badly chosen words and an inability to explain the diagnosis to the patient in an empathetic manner. He disappeared as quickly as he arrived leaving turmoil in his wake, a Friday afternoon nowhere to turn for more answers the nurse did her best taking me to the children’s ward to feed my son until someone could be reached to come collect us, me too distraught to drive, and then she was gone too. I shivered and shook, hot stinging tears rolled down my cheeks as I looked at my son. How could this have happened to me, I had no answers……….for now

My husband at the other side of one of the biggest cities in the world, it was Friday and impossible to reach us. My two little girls expecting to see me at the school gate, were instead distracted by kindness at the home of my friends who had offered to have my son that very morning, kindness I will never forget. Another friend from a long time standing got a call from my husband, quickly as she could came to collect me and my son. I don’t recall any of the trip or the conversation on the way home

What followed was a weekend like no other but that was just the beginning, for now I was a Cancer patient, and so I have remained for these last 15 years, always the danger lurking inside me, Melanoma he had said and once it had been uttered from his lips, things would never be the same again, a day I wish I could forget………..

The Boy has grown