Last words of love

My amaz­ing mum left us a couple of very spe­cial gifts...

Chat - - Inside - By Kirstie Scotch­brooke, 24, from Stock­ton-on-tees

Sit­ting in my bed, I des­per­ately tried to breast­feed my scream­ing new­born.

Mi­ley-grace was strug­gling to latch on, so I held my breast with one hand and guided her head with the other. ‘Come on, sweetie,’ I said. Even­tu­ally, she be­gan to suckle.

But as I be­gan to re­lax, I felt some­thing. A small, hard lump just un­der my left nip­ple.

The more I felt it, the more wor­ried I got.

What if it’s can­cer?

I barely slept and went to see my GP first thing.

He re­ferred me for a biopsy at the lo­cal breast clinic.

There was only one per­son I wanted by my side – my mum Jinette, then 44.

We were more like best friends than mother and daugh­ter.

‘I’m so scared, Mum,’ I sobbed.

‘Don’t worry, it’s go­ing to be fine, I prom­ise,’ she said. And she was right. The re­sults came back to say the lump was just a blocked milk duct and noth­ing to worry about. ‘Thank God,’ I said. But the next morn­ing, in April 2014, my world was turned up­side down again. The phone rang – it was Mum. ‘Ev­ery­thing OK?’ I asked. ‘Not re­ally, I’ve found a lump in my boob,’ she said.

She’d been in the bath and, af­ter what’d hap­pened with me, de­cided to check her boobs.

She’d found a pea-sized lump in her left breast.

‘It’s prob­a­bly noth­ing, but let’s get you checked out,’ I said.

The GP re­ferred her for a biopsy.

On the day of the re­sults, I was ex­pect­ing her to call with good news.

But when I picked up the phone, all I heard was cry­ing.

‘I’ve got breast can­cer,’ Mum sobbed.

Hear­ing that, I also burst into tears.

Mum ex­plained that the tu­mour was 5cm across and al­ready classed as stage 3 – but the doc­tors were hope­ful that, with treat­ment, she had a good chance of a full re­cov­ery. Mum was the strong­est, most pos­i­tive per­son I knew. If any­one could beat can­cer, it was her. Within days, she went into surgery to have her left breast re­moved. As soon as she re­cov­ered, she be­gan an in­ten­sive course of chemo­ther­apy fol­lowed by ra­dio­ther­apy. It was a gru­elling process, and it broke my heart to see Mum go from bub­bly and out­go­ing to lethar­gic and weak. But by Novem­ber 2014, we had amaz­ing news. Tests showed that the can­cer was gone. We went out for a big fam­ily meal to cel­e­brate. Af­ter that, Mum soon got her sparkle back and be­gan en­joy­ing life again. Then, in June last year, she started feel­ing un­well with a per­sis­tent cough and bouts of vom­it­ing. The GP said she prob­a­bly had a mu­cus drip. But at a fam­ily wed­ding a week later, Mum couldn't stop be­ing sick and had to be taken into hospi­tal. I was wor­ried, but I never ex­pected what was com­ing. ‘I’m afraid your can­cer has re­turned – this time to your liver,’ a doc­tor told Mum. I watched in hor­ror as her eyes filled with tears. Over the next few days,

The tu­mour was 5cm across and al­ready stage 3

she went down­hill quickly and was moved to a hospice.

Then, a couple of nights later, as I held her hand tightly, Mum slipped away. She was just 46.

I sat at her bed­side for hours and sobbed.

Even­tu­ally, a nurse came to see me.

‘Your mum wanted you to

have th­ese,’ she said, hand­ing me two notes. One was for Mi­ley-grace...

I want Mammy to tell you all about me and how much I loved you. I wish I saw you bit longer... Keep laugh­ing baby girl. The other let­ter was for me...

I re­ally can’t be­lieve I’m writ­ing this but want you to know how much I loved you. You came into the world that lovely morn­ing and the hap­pi­ness I felt was un­real. I couldn’t stop look­ing at you and I knew from

that day that moth­er­hood was defo for me. I cried like I’ve never cried be­fore as I read her words. I prom­ise I will be at your side through ev­ery­thing, I’m only sleep­ing eter­nally.

My heart felt like it had shat­tered into a mil­lion pieces – and I’m still strug­gling to piece it back to­gether to­day.

I’ve only had the strength to read her let­ter once since the night she passed, but hav­ing it brings me great com­fort. And I’m busy telling Mi­leyGrace sto­ries about her spe­cial Nana – just like Mum wanted.

I cried like I’ve never cried be­fore as I read her words

NANA’S NOTE

The two of us were so close

Mum and my Mi­ley-grace

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