By supporting Q Radiothon you will be making a real difference to the lives of families affected by cancer and terminal illness across Northern Ireland. When Kevin’s mum, Carol was diagnosed, he had just 29 days to say goodbye. Kevin shares his memories of that devastating time.
“On 3 March last year, my mum was out celebrating her sister’s 50th birthday. They went out and had some food and drinks – she looked amazing. They had a really good time.
“So, we were stunned when, just three days later, we found out that she had cancer. The speed at which it all happened was like a rollercoaster – I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”
A strong lady
“Before she got ill, Mum was always watching her weight. Dad loves to cook, but he noticed after Christmas that her portions were getting smaller and smaller. She just wasn’t hungry.
“By March, Mum’s appetite had vanished completely and she was in a lot of pain. A biopsy confirmed that it was stomach cancer. The doctors were surprised at how far it had progressed, as most people would have struggled to function at all.”
“Mum got out of hospital on 9 March and we knew her outlook wasn’t good. For her final days, Marie Curie Nurses came into our home to look after Mum overnight, which really helped. At the time, I’d moved back home to be near Mum.
“The nurses were the loveliest ladies I’ve ever met. They would let us get some sleep and said they’d wake us if they needed us. It was such a relief to have them there. Really, it would have been petrifying to not have them there overnight. I was terrified that something would go wrong, and she would die alone as we slept.
“Mum passed away on 5 April. She’d only got her diagnosis 29 days earlier, so it happened incredibly quickly. The cancer crept up on us from nowhere, and once she was diagnosed she nosedived into the symptoms and the disease took over her physical body. But she was still Mum – and was even planning little surprises for after she was gone.”
“It was my 30th birthday on 15 April, just 10 days after Mum died. With the help of my sister and my partner, she’d organised for me to receive a giant box of presents, including a bottle of the perfume she’d always given me for Christmas. It was so thoughtful.
“Grief is like glitter, you can throw a handful of glitter into the air, but when you try to clean it up, you’ll never get it all. Even long after the event, you will still find glitter tucked into corners, it will always be there – somewhere.”
Life without her
“I feel bad, guilty even, when I realise there’s a moment I haven’t been thinking about her. If you’re grieving, my advice would be to speak about that person – be able to talk about them. Analyse and observe your thoughts – you don’t know what might reveal itself to you. And if you feel like you need to cry, just cry!
“When she was younger, Mum used to go out with friends for dinner for Mother’s Day – her and the other mums she was close to. This year Mother’s Day will be hard, as it’s the same month that we all stepped onto a rollercoaster we didn’t want to be on.
“Losing Mum has made me realise that life is short. She taught us to be resilient and now, more than ever, I feel that.”
By supporting Q Radiothon you’ll be making a real difference to the lives of people, like Carol and Kevin, across Northern Ireland. Q Radiothon is committed to supporting people by raising vital funds to support our fantastic charity partners. If you would like to help us make a difference, you can get involved at www.qradiothon.com/fundraising