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  • kreenapd


Updated: Nov 23, 2020

‘If love is a currency, I am the richest person in the land.

You my baby, bring me a wealth I never knew existed.’

Dear Amaala,

Writing this entry of the blog has been difficult.

When I told my own Mum I had breast cancer, I didn’t fully understand the love a mother feels towards her child. Now writing this entry as a parent, the pain and emotions of that day seem to run deeper, they break my heart a little more. I can not imagine how I would feel knowing that you were so hurt that nothing I could do would help you, yet that must be exactly how my Mummy felt when I broke the news to her that I was sick.

I was so concerned with protecting her from the truth, with putting on a brave face, that I paid no attention to the bond a mother and her daughter hold that goes beyond words. The bond that goes beyond any facade, that goes beyond science.  The bond that links one heart to another, the bond that connects one soul to another.

August 2013

I had spent Thursday evening gathering Dipshaa Masi (my sister) and Nish and Trish masi (cousins), in one space to break the news to them.  I had purposely planned it this way.  I would tell the girls, and then they would be my support when it came to telling my mum (Baa).

Once again I retold the story, we were in the kitchen preparing dinner when they asked why I had gathered us together on a school night.  They thought I was pregnant, how I wish that was the news I had to share.  I told them about the tests, the diagnosis and everything in between.  Tears filled each of their eyes, streaming down faces, hugs tighter than ever before, pain, so much pain in every moment we shared.

This conversation was different to yesterdays. We spoke about the disease, about what it would bring, what I should expect.  We talked hospitals, we talked consultants.  These girls are my sisters, and they caught me when I was in free fall, helping with advice on the logistics of this situation.

Two days later on Saturday 25th August 2013, me, Daddy, Masi and Masa, headed to Baa’s (nan’s) house. This was the conversation I had put off, the one I knew would hurt the most, the one I wish I never had to have.

It was Baa’s birthday on the 27th, we had previously arranged to be together before my diagnosis was confirmed, so when everyone turned up at her front door, she was happy and excited. There’s nothing more she loves than having her family around her. We busied ourselves for a while, and then we sat her down with a tea beside her and I began to speak.

I was just slightly away from her, Dipshaa masi sat by her feet.

‘Mum, I know I haven’t been over much recently but things have been very chaotic’

‘Don’t worry she replied, I know work can be busy, I’m ok’

‘It’s not work, I’ve been having lots of tests, something wasn’t right in my boob so I went to the Doctor.  I have breast cancer’

There, I said it, the words were finally out of my mouth. I held back any tears that threatened to arise.  I would not allow my Mum to see me cry.  I am her rock, together we have endured so much pain. Her violent marriage, her torturous divorce. When we had nowhere to live, we built this very home together, from a run down property to the beautiful space we were now sat in. Every piece of what we now have was a result of teamwork, of me holding her when she fell, of me protecting her.

I wasn’t going change that now, I wouldn’t crumble when she needed me the most.

She took a moment to digest the words, then turned to Dipshaa masi,

‘What is she saying, I don’t believe her’

For some reason she couldn’t direct her words at me, she looked to Dipshaa masi for answers, and slowly, compassionately, masi took over the reigns from there, she explained it all, she held her as she cried, she told her it would be ok.

I watched from a distance, a somber tone in the air.  Why was I doing this, why was I bringing this illness to a room full of people I love? Guilt flooded over me; my lips sealed as I held back the tears once again.

Eventually the mood lifted a little, I told Baa that everything would be fine.  That I didn’t need chemotherapy, that I would be over this within a few months. That it was just a blip and normality would resume soon enough.  Maybe I was trying to convince myself more than anything else? The more I said it would be fine, the more I believed it would be.

The conversation with Baa was the shortest of them all, we delivered the news, talked about the treatment plan and ended it. I didn’t want to draw it out any further.

Looking back as I write this entry, I can see that being Indian played a huge role in the way I handled this situation.  As Indians, we don’t talk about cancer, so when I had to share my news, it was beyond difficult. It was a subject that had never been discussed before.

We are constantly reminded that our parents are our guru’s and guides, that they require protection and respect.

I felt that pressure from a very young age, and whilst I was well, I seemed happy to empty my own cup to serve others.  I had no idea how deep the consequences of such actions would run.  I had no idea that showing myself self-love was a way of life, not a selfish act.

Since those days, I’ve learnt that protecting our loved ones, is not the same as hiding our pain from them.  It’s not taking away their own strength and stability because you feel you should serve them entirely.

I’ve learnt that protecting those you love, often involves allowing them to see the pain.  To open the wounds and let the pain pour out, whilst reassuring them that you will be there to support them as they discover their own strength.

My one prayer in life now is good health. Good health for me, for you, for everyone we love.  I pray you and I don’t ever have to experience a pain like the pain I shared with my own mother on that dark day in August.

All my love, Mummy xx

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