So before I write a blog on how amazing my holiday was, I need to write about something that is burning a hole in my horse and cart (heart. Not fart).
So I arrive in Mallorca two weeks ago, looking forward to catching up with an old friend who owns the frozen yoghurt shop my family and I regularly frequent. He’s a lovely bloke, very friendly and I was looking forward to seeing him again this year.
When I arrived at the yoghurt shop, his wife gave me the sad news that he was unwell and not currently working. He is terminal ill suffering with an inoperable mesothelioma cancerous tumour in his stomach.
I asked if I could visit and whether he would like to see me. She was very adamant that he would love to see me and I arranged to visit the following day.
They have to live in Morocco with my mother in law. It upsets them seeing me like this.
That hit me like a freight train carrying passengers bound for a fat fighters camp. I’m a strong dude, I work with dying children and have done for a long time, it’s my job. My specialty.
I felt my eyes becoming hot and filling up. I looked at his lovely wife who had started to sob a little bit too.
Well smack my arse and call me Julie. I was not expecting to show so much emotion here today.
I fought back the tears and held it together, I just hope he didn’t notice how upset I got. At times like this some people want you to get upset, it shows you care. But I knew that this guy needed strength and perhaps some wise words from the children’s nurse, not tears. There I am, a big bloke covered in tattoos, and all I wanted to do was cry and throw my arms around the dude and tell him all would be fine.
As I was leaving, his wife took me aside and said
That has helped him so much. He has been so down, but today I haven’t seen him like this in weeks.
I visited him most days after that, bringing different jokes and conversation with me each time. He told me on my last visit that each time I would visit he had no pain, that the pain left him.
We can’t always beat the illness we are treating people for. I’ve said many times in my blogs that I might not be able to take the cancer away from the children I look after, but one thing I can do is make them laugh. And for those few seconds they are laughing, there is no pain. There’s no fear, no worry, no suffering. They forget.
It was hard saying goodbye yesterday. That will probably be the last time I ever see him. But I will carry him in my heart for the res of my life like I do with so many lovely people that have had to leave before their time. My heart has been heavy for a while, but I will be more than happy to add some more weight to it.
And the illness? Well, I’ll continue looking after terminally ill children while putting my two fingers up to cancer. I could have stayed away and just enjoyed my holiday, I could have stayed away for fear of feeling like I do now, but who the fuck will benefit from that. I would visit him a thousand times if I could.
Once again, I have proved to myself that although we cannot always win when we treat the illness..
….if you treat the person, you’re guaranteed to win every time. Adios Amigo.