The C word
"Life is for living and packing as much crazy into it as possible"
I've not put a blog out there for ages, and that's not because I haven't written, it's just that so many things have happened that I wasn't quite ready to share anything. This one, the C word, needed more information, like an ending or a progression rather than it being just something that's out there and we have no idea what will happen next.
I remember the exact moment I found out my dad had cancer. Yep, the C word. Our tiny human was only a few weeks old when that bombshell landed. At first it's the unknown that is upsetting and scary. Then it's the questions you have that even they couldn't answer, as it was still early days and it's the frustration at being 10,527 miles away from them in Australia and not being able to do anything to help or even give them a hug. My dad has a tumour in his pancreas and cancer cells in his liver and lymph nodes. Pretty shit really, but they've caught it early and he's a guinea pig in a drug trial so hoping that gives him a long time before the cancer progresses.
My dad and Smum (step-mum) have had, what I would say, was the crappest year you could ever have. It started with my Smum having a craniotomy to clip two aneurysms at the end of last year and she is superwoman to have survived that alone. Then her mum passed away just after Christmas and they'd nursed her at home right until the end. Then my dad found out he has cancer. It's no wonder they wanted to hide away from the world.
The only thing we could do from here was to promise that they would have two visitors before the next scan, to hopefully take their mind off all of the negativity and let them meet their latest grandchild.
So that's what me and the tiny human did. We set off on a journey to the other side of the world. When we joke that we are only a day away it doesn't seem so far but when you're doing it with an eight month old, on your own, it feels like ages. Although I had the bonus of seeing them on the outbound and being reunited with my babies and L on the return. That's certainly a motivation.
With L's work we can travel easily. For that I am grateful, and most of the time we get a very comfy seat. The little one was quite happy on a flat bed to Singapore munching her way through a croissant and granola!! Our girls are already snobby travellers - they don't think you can fly on a plane without a bed!! The journey there and back was brilliant and I'm saying that with enthusiasm as I decided to expect it was horrific and anything better was a bonus. Our tiny human was as perfect as ever and made herself many adoring fans along the way.
Our time in Oz was short, but just what we all needed. We got to spend a really relaxing week together. There were a lot of random hours being awake with the jet lag and a baby who didn't know which way was up, but we made the most of just being together and chocolate helped. It was nice to catch up, pick up where we left off, as last time we saw them we were a family of four, and beautiful seeing the little one light up their days. I really wish they would move closer so they could be a bigger part of our lives, especially for the girls sake, but who knows what the future will hold and if I pester them enough maybe they will give in! Got to keep hoping.
I did miss my babies and L, as I've never been away from them for more than two nights, so thank goodness for FaceTime. But it was all worth it for the week we had making memories with a trip to the beach, wine tasting at a vineyard, shopping time and generally just chilling out as a family. To say they were besotted by the little one is an understatement. The fact that she's such a happy, content baby has been helpful, since my dad doesn't normally like babies. You could see the grandparent delight in their eyes. If little one could've asked for something, there would be no delay in providing. If she asked for a pony it would be, "Which colour?" I need to teach her to ask for a new car for her mummy!
When I left dad and Smum at the airport, I was really sad. It was hard. Normally there are tears when we go, but this time it felt different. I don't think for one second that it's the last time we will see them, or anything like that, but it's just the realisation now that life is more fragile. It's not never-ending and we are all getting older. Trips like this are no longer solely for holidays, but these trips now have purposes. Grown-up reasons to be reunited. This is something you have to accept when you have family in far away places. Sometimes these reunions are hard, but I still see them as blessings, and opportunities, to spend time together and to make it count.
Last week my dad got the news I've been praying for. The cancer has not grown. His treatment will stay the same for now, as the injections are working and hopefully they will really get to live their lives with some of the sparkle that's been missing for the last year. Life is for living and packing as much crazy into it as possible and that's what I hope to keep reminding myself.
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