Let's be less British

Death - we don't really talk about it much, do we? Its not a very British thing to talk about, like money and religion, we shove it into a little cupboard and leave it there brooding.

But today, I am getting it out of the cupboard, brushing it down, kicking it a bit and telling it what for - so here goes.

As you know, I'm fifty, and anyone who is fifty is lucky if they have escaped the death of a loved one by this time in life.

Still, when it comes to some one you know, even if you are expecting it, it is always a shock, a loss, in some cases, a relief.

But as Benjamin Franklin said, 'There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes'

My parents talked about their death frequently, they told us (my brother and I) about their Will, about where they wanted to be cremated and then put, they told us they didn't want us to argue about anything. My Mum had told us what bits and bobs she wanted each of us to have from their home.

But I was still completely floored when my Mum died. I was totally unprepared for the grief, that just keeps on going. She died 6 years ago and I have talked about her on numerous occasions on here.

But I was totally unprepared for her voice in my head, telling me off when I do something she wouldn't approve of, or the ache of missing someone in those moments that I know my Mum would have loved to be a part of. Nobody warns you about that.

But, the grief eases, becomes bearable, you remind yourself that the last thing they would want is for you to be moping about.

I don't think there is anyway you can prepare your children for your own death, but as a parent, I think you can't help but try.

I have thought about that a lot, especially after I was diagnosed with CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia - again a common subject on here).

Initially after my diagnosis, when things were uncertain and the scary word Leukaemia was messing with my head. I talked to my husband about how I didn't want him, moping for years and years, that I wanted my children to have a strong female role model in their life (My youngest was 4 when I was diagnosed), I told him that he needed to be strong for my girls, he had to pick himself up and get on with things.
I told him where all the important documents where and what to do with them should he need them. I talked to him about what I wanted him to say to my girls as they became young women.

I told my girls I was ill, that I had something wrong with my blood, and that it was a type of cancer. I told them what the doctors had said to me, that they don't need to worry just yet because they have given me some medicine to take that has had really positive results, but I may be a bit more tired than usual.

I also told them, that If they tell people that I have cancer, people may be shocked, that their friends may tell them that I am going to die. I told them, that yes, some people do die of cancer, but I intend to fight it and fight it hard, because I have absolutely no intention of leaving them (which was true, but at the time I wasn't sure I could keep up my end of that). 

I tried to be as honest as I could with them with out scaring them.  And I wrote them both a letter to have when I die, that is kept with my Will.

Thinking about it I really should update those letters, as things have moved on, and I am much better, and my prognosis is good, now I just have a long term chronic illness, and my doctors seem confident that, that is how the CML will remain.

So Death, there you are, taking people, sometimes when they really need to go and sometimes, way, way too soon.

And sometimes you leap up and go 'Surprise'. and it catches every one out. Because ultimately, Death, you are a little shit.

This blog post is dedicated to Kate Sutton - who is known out there in the Blogosphere as I am Wit Wit Woo. (@iamwitwitwoo). A lady I met only two or three times, who I chatted to on social media and who made me laugh and cry with her posts.

A lady who died suddenly leaving her two boys, a lady younger than me, who had so much more to offer and give the world.

A lady, whose death shocked me, scared me, saddened me, whose death made me give my kids that extra kiss goodnight.

A lady, whose death reminded me that you just never know what tomorrow brings, so #bemorewitwitwoo and live every day to the fullest. For her, for your loved ones who are no longer with you, and for those you walk side by side with every day.

Kate Sutton - October 2011


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