I come from a typical size family consisting of my parents and a younger brother. My partners family includes her parents, a brother and sister, their partners and a niece and nephew. My extended family is much like everyone else’s with uncles, aunties and cousins that are scattered around Victoria. There is nothing that sets my family apart from the average Joe up the street. Like most families, we had all lost touch over time as we had grown older and formed our own paths in life. Just a normal family, about to receive some unexpected news.
After the initial shock, the first thought that came to mind was….. “how do I tell my parents and brother that I am dying?” My partner and I drove the hour and a half straight from the hospital to my parents home in Central Victoria and organised for my brother to meet us there. I could barely talk the entire way there. I was replaying the upcoming scenario over and over again. Trying to iron out every last detail in order to deliver the news with a little less horror. Trying to make it more palatable, as if that was possible.
They knew something was wrong. There was no possible easy way to give this kind of news, no sugar coating to make it easier to swallow. So I told them as straight and emotionless as possible. “I have incurable bowel cancer” doesn’t exactly just slide off the tongue. Watching the initial shock roll over their faces is something I will never forget. The blank faces as the news settled, to the look of anguish and despair which would later turn to anger and pure gut-wrenching angst. They tried so hard to stay strong in those initial moments, but I could see the emotions. Never should a child have to tell their parents that they are dying. That’s just not how it’s meant to be.
After the initial shock came the questions, and as I was to find out these were questions that everyone had. “How long?”….”How did it get this far?”……”What’s next?”…….Unfortunately there is no clear answers to any of these questions, only guesstimates.