Memoirs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I love them. Not the celeb ones which make an easy million for the already famous and not the Jeremy Kyle DNA tests, but the memoirs of everyday people – who’ve written them themselves, like Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes – and how they deal with the adversities of life. I’d always had a notion to write mine after losing my mum in childhood.
My story is a memoir of childhood and youth. I have recently updated the cover to give it a more personal touch with a background image of the bluebell woods where we played as children, which feature in the book, and an inset photo of my mum and I at Trentham Gardens Staffordshire UK c1957.
I had the best childhood but it was always overshadowed by illness. My introduction to worry was when my sister almost died next to me in the double bed we shared when I was nine and she was four. If I hadn’t been teaching her to say her prayers she’d have just closed her eyes and died. It had a profound effect on me and I’ve never stopped worrying since.
My mum was never well although she had a very bubbly personality and was always singing. She baked weekly, gorgeous scones and cakes and she put on wonderful birthday parties for my sister and I when my dad would make us all laugh by joining in the games. Mum made all of mine and my sister’s dresses and knit lovely cardigans to go over them for the typical British summer weather with its unpredictability.
We lived like any normal, happy family, that was until she got breast cancer. Here is a short excerpt from the book of her discovery of it:
‘I am listening more keenly than I have ever listened in my life. When Mum is talking to Dad, to Auntie Eth, to Auntie Myra, to the neighbours; I listen. Something is wrong and it all stems from that night that she called Dad into the bathroom.
She’d found a lump in her breast. The following evening they went off to the doctors and Emily and I stayed in. We had all of the usual instructions to behave ourselves and not to fight, but we didn’t feel like getting up to anything. People only go to the doctors when something is wrong, and we were a little uneasy because we didn’t know what it was.
They weren’t gone long, only about half an hour, then they went into their bedroom to hang their coats up and I sort of lingered about in the hall to try and hear what they were talking about.
“He said mastitis or early change,” this was Mum’s voice, “but I thought that mastitis was very painful and I’ve got no pain at all, and as for early change, well, surely I’m too young for that; I’m only forty two.”
I’ve heard Mum talking with other people about the change. They laugh about it when they get hot and say, ‘Ooh I’m having a hot flush; I must be on the change.’
Dad laughs even more than Mum at this because she is always cold. In winter she wears about five layers, and still she isn’t warm enough. Dad affectionately calls her ‘Old bloody never sweat.’
“I suppose he knows what he’s talking about,” Dad answered.
“I’m not so sure. Look at what he was like when Emily was ill; he hadn’t a clue what was wrong with her. His hands were shaking and he seemed more nervous than us. Then there was that baby in The Avenue that died of pneumonia because he wouldn’t come out to it. You know when his mother answered the phone and said he’d come out in the morning.”
“Ah, I remember that.”
“I don’t think he’s much good as a doctor, he’s not as good as the last one we had.”
“No you’re right there, he isn’t. Well just leave it a few days and if it doesn’t go we’ll go back again.”
They went back a few days later only for him to tell them the same thing and not to worry, but they did worry and went back a third time, two weeks later. Luckily this time there was a locum doctor on; a younger man called Doctor Collins. He sent Mum straight to the hospital for tests. I heard words like biopsy, benign, malignant, and I found out that malignant would be bad. If this lump was malignant Mum would have to have her breast off.
I wondered if this was like Yvette’s cousin having her tongue cut out, but having your breast off wouldn’t be as bad as that because you don’t need them, they are just for show, although Mum doesn’t seem to think so. I once heard her saying to Elaine’s mum that she doesn’t want to lose a breast because that is what makes you a woman. It must be bad to have to have that done but I don’t think it’s as bad as Yvette’s cousin because I’ve never heard anyone mention the terrible thing that is cancer.’
The ebook is available from amazon and also the paperback with the old cover but for the paperback with the new cover it will be best to buy from the publisher feedaread.com (link below) the price is a little less than amazon and P&P about the same.
Many thanks and I hope you enjoy it. If you do enjoy it a review would be most welcome.