It’s been a really long 2 weeks. I’ve shed more tears in the last 7 days than I think I’ve spilled all year. It all started with a visit to my friend Sheree, in hospital. Sheree was part of our June ’08 online mum’s group. Some of you may know her, or know of her story. She battled breast cancer – triple negative, rare, aggressive cancer – for over 3 years. It had metastasised into her spine, then finally into her brain. On top of having to fight this nasty disease, she also was lucky enough (please note heaviest sarcasm ever) to have to deal with a massive blood clot, cellulitis and lymphadema as well as breathing problems in the last months. The breathing scared her the most. When she found out there were tumours in her brain, she started brain radiation. A group of us went to see her after her 2nd brain treatment, and she was talking about Christmas. She was talking about her continual fight with this shit disease. She wanted to live for her boys, to see them grow up and become men, husbands, fathers. So when just 2 days later she told us she’d been given 3 days to live, we were all shocked. She had defied doctors at every turn of this nastiness, and I think we thought she would defy them again. She said she would go out fighting, and go out fighting she did. When doctors gave her 3 days to live, she made sure she lasted 4. Defiant and fighting to the end. She passed away exactly 1 week after we had seen her. She was only 39.
On the Tuesday I got a phone call from a friend. Another friend of our’s had just lost her sister. She had dropped dead while walking along the beach with her daughter. While she was revived, there was no brain activity and the family decided to donate her organs and turn the machine off. It turned out she had a tumour (?) or swelling of the brain that she didn’t even know about and she was essentially a walking time bomb, so to speak, that eventually exploded. She was only 54.
On Thursday, the day of Sheree’s funeral, Phillip Hughes died. I didn’t know him. Not personally. I didn’t know my friend’s sister, either. Yet here I was on Thursday, unable to hold it all together. I cried rivers for the 3 of them. Or perhaps they were all for my friend, but compounded with each new tragedy. The week was full of death, and I couldn’t handle it.
On Facebook ads keep popping up telling me “Sheree McLeod likes this” as if she is still here, looking at their Facebook page. Every time the radio or TV is on there is a tribute to Phil Hughes. I bawl every time. I feel a connection to the Australian cricket team – I know what it’s like to lose one of your own. Sheree was one of our own.
The outpouring for Phil Hughes has been incredible. I know that cricket is one of our national past times, but there are plenty of people who don’t like the sport. But I guess you don’t have to like the sport to feel a deep sadness for the teammates left behind, Sean Abbott who delivered the bowl that killed him, for his family who have lost their son when he was just playing a game of cricket. It was just a stupid, tragic, fluke accident and it’s not fair.
There have been two stories of babies abandoned by their mothers, left to die. I have cried rivers of tears for these babies too. For the one who died, but even more so for the one who lived, who will grow up and one day know what his mother did to him. Who will one day know he was so unloved and unwanted that she put him in a drain and left him for dead. But I hope that one day, he will grow up to have compassion for people who are so desperately mentally ill that they know no better or different. It is easy to judge these women, especially as someone who has battled fertility issues for 5 years. But judgement does not help anyone. It does not help the mothers, it does not help the babies. It does not solve the problem, which is that no woman should get to the stage where they feel these acts are their only choices. The comments on social media make me sick. There is no compassion, no kindness left in today’s world, it seems.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned recently it is that life isn’t fair. I’ve also learned that life is short, and if you’re not happy, you better do something to change that. I’ve learned that if you wait to do things, you might not get the chance. I’ve learned that you should tell your family you love them, even if you see them every day, send a message anyway. And I’ve learned that at the end of a really shit week, putting up Christmas decorations and having a few drinks can make you feel just that smidgeon better. It’s time to make changes.
Linking up with Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays!