Then the phone rang. My mother, in tears, indecipherable, except for one word. Leukemia. Another word. Donno. My step father.
Questions. Some answers, not the right ones. Nothing comforting about these answers. Chemotherapy. Isolation ward. 4 weeks. Get your affairs in order.
When you hear news like this it takes awhile to comprehend it, to understand it, to accept it. I've heard news like this twice before, the first when I was 12 about my Dad, cancer, 12 months, inoperable, get your affairs in order. He died on December the 25th, 1992, 12 months after his diagnosis.
The second was when I was 28 about my Father In Law, cancer, inoperable, get your affairs in order. He died on January the 30th, 2008, 12 months from diagnosis.
Leukemia kills. It ravages and hurts and destroys. Which is never good, but when it is planning on doing it to someone you love, someone your family love, someone your children love, it's awful. Revolting. Terrifying, infuriating, devastating.
I want to fall down in a big heap and scream this sorry business away. Cut my arms and bleed this hurt out. Stand in front of this wonderful man and protect him from this horrible disease.
As it is I keep laughing nervously and making black humoured jokes. Trying to fight off the waves of helplessness, sadness, terror by laughing, smiling, carrying on. I refuse to give into the pain. Not yet. Not until we know more.
Donno became a part of my family nearly 10 years ago. He fell in love with my mother, bedded her, then married her and thus became my Step Father. I've watched my Mum bloom through his love and it's always been so easy to know him, to love him. He is the kindest, softest, cleverest, gentleman I know. A man full of love and completely at ease showing it.
And how he loves my kids. What a man he has been to them. The greatest grandfather they have known and what love I have felt watching them connect.
Maybe he'll beat this. It will disappear from his 63 year old body and he will stay with us for another 30 years. Because life without him is unimaginable, unbearable. What will we do without him? Please beat it. Don't go. We need you.... Can you guilt someone into not dying?
So Keeping Calm and Carrying On is the mantra. Getting my own affairs in order and preparing for battle.