The Last Chance
As the car arrived, I couldn’t help thinking about the past, thinking of the good times and the bad times - The Last Chance introduction. I couldn’t help but wish there was less bad times, wishing that I wasn’t such a typical teenager, and appreciated what she did for me. She was the best mum anyone could have wished for, I loved her not just because she was my mum, but because I could talk her about anything. She was like my best friend.
But now I’ve lost her for good, and she won’t ever come back. It stared about two years ago, after just starting my 5th year at secondary school; she kept saying it was just appointments about her back, as she took a nasty fall out riding few months before. But it always felt like she wasn’t tell me something, it felt like the person I could poor my heart out to was lying to me, but I was always to afraid to ask for the truth.
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I felt like I was being pushed away, so naturally I turned to my best friend, feeling scared and worried about my mum I told Becky everything, she even thought that my mum was maybe hiding something, but told to stop worrying about it and push it out of my head as we had our GCSE mock coming up soon. After attempting to push this out of my head, I couldn’t but knew I had to revise for my mocks I knew it was important I just couldn’t remember a word of anything I read. It was frustrating, and I wanted to explode with anger. But I knew if I did it would take an eternity to calm down again.
As well as coursework and exam preparation I had to cope with looking after horses morning and night, as mum was too ill cope with it, coping with this all was tearing me up inside knowing how much I had to do with so little time to do it. Weeks of this same routine went past and I kept falling behind with schoolwork, as the exams started there was a lot more pressure placed upon me, trying to catch up it seemed like an impossible task which was never ending. The relationship was getting worse with my mum, shouldn’t wouldn’t talk to me anymore, just blanked me every time she saw me as if she was guilty about something.
I kept trying to talk her, but I didn’t work, I used to sit by her door for hours trying to talk to her, but I never got a reply, I used to sit there with my coursework, asking her for help, but nothing would work. I even tried to get an argument going to see if that work, saying that she was being selfish, but I just ended up feeling guilty and give up trying. It just seemed pointless. The first weeks of the exams went past, knowing that I wasn’t keeping up with the class and still wondering why my own mother was pushing me away constantly, I was pulled out of Spanish to go talk to my head of hear.
I arrived at his office, knocking on the door my heart was pounding; I kept thinking “What’s happened? What have I done wrong? He can’t be telling me off I haven’t done any thing. What if the exam results? What if a failed? ” a huge mixture of questions entered and zoomed around my head. He opened the door and smiled, he offered me a seat, he wasn’t speaking in an angry voice, as he spoke all the questions exited my head. But then they where replaced with confusion. “Is everything ok? ” he suddenly asked, making me jump slightly.
“What do you mean? Still totally confused about why I was sat here and not practicing for my Spanish exam which was happening first thing the next day. “Well you don’t seem to be yourself, your friends are worried and asking me if there’s something going on, so obliviously I thought… ” “You thought what exactly? You should sit me down and have a heart to heart when it’s the middle of the mocks? Talk to me about irrelevant subjects when I should attempting to learn Spanish for this pointless test tomorrow which I’m going to fail anyway because nothing is going right for me?
I just … I just… ” I suddenly heard myself, all the anger and confusion that had been building up for the past two months was coming out of me at the worst possible time, as I stopped talking I suddenly look at my head of year and bust into tears. I didn’t know what else to do. I just panicked. I didn’t know whether to stop crying and sit back down or just grab my bag and run out of the door. I decided to grab my bag and run but I just froze, with tears running down my face. Sit back down, I think you need to calm down and talk this through” I did exactly what he told me.
But I couldn’t talk, I was to scared I was going to explode again. After twenty minutes of him asking questions, I had enough, I just wanted to leave so I just told him, I told him that my mum was pushing me out of her life I wasn’t talking to me anymore and I was now basically looking after four horses, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, trying to do school work and looking after 2 brothers and I couldn’t tell him why this was all happening.
All I could say was I doing know what is happening, nobody would tell me. After leaving the office it was time to go home, but I couldn’t face it, so I stayed at school at sat in the art room and attempted more coursework. But I knew I would have to go home eventually. I walked home slowly, thinking what I could do to try and get her to talk to me again. But no ideas came into my head. I decided to not try, see if she would come and talk to me, I knew it wouldn’t happen but I couldn’t help but wonder if I would.
I got home, and I saw mum sat at the table, usually she wouldn’t look at me, but she did this time, and didn’t look away, I wanted her so desperately to talk to me, and to tell me what was happening. As I went towards she looked as is she was about to cry, I stopped walking towards her and just stood still. She looked down into her lap and cried for a second or two, then looked back up at me. She kept trying to say something but kept stopping before anything made any sense; it came out all blurred because she was crying.
Finally the words she was saying made some sense, she had cancer. I bust into tears for the second time that day, as I did, my mum walked over to me and just hugged me, it was weird, because she hadn’t hugged me for so long for the first time I properly appreciated a hug from my mum. I felt really weird, I used to be so used to her hugs, but this hug was like I was getting my mum back, as if she been away in another country for the past year it was your welcoming hug, telling you that she had missed me so much, I felt this all from one hug.
Later she told me that it was breast cancer, and that it was an aggressive form, but no doctors could tell her how aggressive. I also found out that her operation had tomorrow; as she told this to me everything else that was happening in my life disappeared, as if it didn’t matter. After she finished talking, I didn’t know what to say, all I could blurt out was “I’m sorry” She looked at me with confusion. “I’m sorry for being such a moody teenager the last few years, I’m sorry for I’ve put you through with the arguments we’ve had and I’m sorry for… “It doesn’t matter! That happens with every mum and daughter! ”
+”But I’m still sorry! ” We kept talking for hours, she explained what she would have to have done, and how long everything would take, in theory everything would be finished within a year, all the chemo and radio therapy. She would have to everything done. I was sat in the waiting room with my dad; I couldn’t go to school knowing were my mum was. I had to be there for when she came out of the operating room. I was growing impatient.
It was taking such a long time, I kept thinking of the worse, kept thing, what if she doesn’t make it, I wouldn’t be able to cope without her. I don’t want to lose her. Finally the nurse walked in, she talked for a while, I didn’t take in any of the words, and until she said ‘She will be fine’ this was the best thing I had ever heard. I knew she wouldn’t be fine for long, as she had to start chemo soon, she would have to be placed on a very intensive course as it was an aggressive form, but my mum was a strong person, she could cope with anything and everything.
In my head she could. As the course of chemo started, she became very weak, and needed a lot help, I wouldn’t leave her side, I was too scared to leave her alone, I got it stuck in my head if left her, she wouldn’t be here when I got back. Everything was becoming difficult for her, she was always an amazingly strong woman, she looked after my grandmother last year when she had a nasty accident, you could always rely on her, and she would never judge you for needing help. If anything she always wanted to help people.
It became hard to see as the women she once was. After her 6th chemo session, dad brought her home and I helped her to bed, as I left her to sleep I turned round and noticed a photo album at the end of the bed. It was already opened, I looked at the page, there was a photo of her with my dad on the honeymoon, and they looked so happy and young. It must have seemed such a long time ago for her, and hard to thing about the past when she didn’t have to worry about having cancer. I wished I could have this awful disease instead of her; she didn’t deserve it at all.
She was the kindest person in the world. A few weeks later, the radio therapy started, the nurses said she was making good progress, and was handling everything very well. But everything started to go wrong after four weeks of starting the radio therapy, nothing was happening, so they had to stop. The doctors wanted to run tests to try and find what was happening. The cancer had spread around the body, the doctors feared for the worse. After more tests and more frustrating waits, there was nothing more they could do.
My mum, the person I had always looked up to, one of the strongest people I knew was being told that cancer had beaten her; no treatment could help any longer. They gave her less than a year to live. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare, I didn’t want to believe a word they where saying, I actually couldn’t listen to the doctor anymore; I had to get out of there. I walked after he droned on about other who had been through the same, it sounded awful and that’s when I decided I couldn’t listen to him anymore.
Twenty minutes after a walked out, my parents finally came through the pale blue doors, I was excepting them to be either angry with me for walking out or crying about the news they had just been told. But they were emotionless until they just smiled at me when they saw me but then went back into an emotionless state. We walked through the hospital toward the main entrance, we had walked through hundreds from when I was little and had appointments with allergy doctors, we always used to stop at the shops and buy a McDonalds but this time we walked straight past it without even having a look at the shops or stopping for food or even a drink.
We reached the car and all climbed in, none of talking, thinking about it I don’t think any of us knew what to say. I had this indescribable feeling in the pit of my stomach I don’t know if it was a mixture of fear and regret or something else, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. It took about thirty minutes to get home, once there we walked in still silently, as I walked through the sitting room door the phone starting ringing, I answered hearing the voice on the other heard it was my Gran, calling to check everything was ok.
I burst into tears and slowly sputter out the words “It’s all gone wrong, she can’t fight anymore” my dad walked in and a passed the phone to him and ran upstairs to my bedroom and just cried. I didn’t want to go downstairs again, and just stayed in bed all day, I didn’t want to face the fact that would have to say a final good bye to my mum in months to come. Four months had past, we hadn’t gotten over the fact that she was going to die but we tried to not think about it. We always did whatever she asked us, made her cups of tea and did all the ironing and washing.
We knew she was getting weaker and she couldn’t cope with much anymore, so the only thing we could do to help her was wait on her hand and foot and asked no questions about how she was feeling, that was the deal we made with her as she didn’t want to talk about it with us. After the rest of the family and my mum’s friend had heard the news, they had all sent flowers or chocolates along with a card saying how sorry they were for her and the rest of the family. After about a week from finding the news the house looked like a florist, every room had at least three bunches of flowers in vases.
Least the flowers brightened the house up and it looked happy and which stopped everyone feeling miserable. It sounded selfish to not think about my mum and how she was coping or not coping, but it was what she wanted and we couldn’t argue with that. Occasionally she would ask to do something as a family, she always said to us that she wanted me and my brothers and sisters to remember her as she always had been, a strong minded woman, the best mum and my idol and not as a cancer victim.
We always had dinner as a family and enjoyed our time when we were all together, always laughing at each other for the stupid things we do, these were the memories that we wanted to remember our mum by, As the time past we spent more and more time with her, but now we wanted to know more about her illness, and what was happening to her, but we knew couldn’t ask her because we had made a deal. I had some idea of what was going on, I knew that the tumors she had were growing and invading her body, and were slowly destroying her organs.
It was the worst thing to think about, but it was even worse watching her as this disease was becoming more powerful inside of her. She constantly said she was fine but I knew she wasn’t. She was becoming weak and couldn’t walk well on her own, she either used a walking stick which she hated or suddenly grab onto someone or the furniture. I went upstairs to her to say goodnight to her and brought her up and drink, then I heard her talking to my dad, I went to turn around but I suddenly stopped because of what I just heard.
I thought I heard them wrong so I listened more, I realised that they were talking about what I thought I heard. She was asking my dad to take her to Switzerland so she can use euthanasia instead of dieing from cancer. She wanted to die with some dignity. I didn’t know what to do, so I just walked away from the door without listening to the end of the conversation. I took the drink back downstairs and left in the kitchen and sat there waiting for my dad to come back down, I didn’t know whether to ask him about what I just heard or leave it until another day.
He walked into the room and looked at me as if he knew that I knew something that I shouldn’t know. I looked at him still wondering, I decided just to ask him. “Is mum going to Switzerland? ” He looked at me stunned, he didn’t answer me for a while and had the expression on his face whether or not he should answer me or not. “She wants to, it’s not decided yet. She thinks its better for to go that way and not suffer more then she has to. ” “Tell her that whatever she wants to do, that we are all behind her with decision, and that we love her. ”
“Is that what you really fell? ” Yes, but if she chooses to go to Switzerland, I’m coming too. ” Another month past, and she had decided to go to Switzerland, we booked it so we had few days before the actual euthanasia took place. It was just mum, dad and I, we left my brothers and sisters as they were to young to understand fully what was going to happen. We arrived there and it was a beautiful day and the first mum wanted to do was to look around the place. We went shopping so we had some food in the cabin where we staying, we just got the basics and few other things as we didn’t know what most things were, so we just played it safe.
The next few days we walked around the neighboring villages and had picnics in the parks. It all seemed a bit too happy and weird, knowing what was going to happen the next day. Mum wanted to take me out jut us to, so we went out into a small shopping area we hadn’t been to yet, she wondered into a shop using her walking stick, and told me to wait outside, I got worried incase she collapsed or something. But she walked back out with two small bags and gave them to me. “Promise me you won’t open them until you get back home, and make you give the right things to your brothers and sisters. ” “Promise. ”
I was slightly curious about what was in there but I made a promise and stuck to it. We went back to the cabin where dad had made us dinner; it was my mum favorite, Ham, pineapple and mushroom pizza. We sat talking for ages, talked about everything and anything. We watched a film to and ended up falling asleep on the sofa. We woke up the next day, I had completely forgotten about what was going to happen until I got up and saw mum, my stomach tightened and I felt scared. This was the last morning that I would see her. I went and had a shower and got ready to go, then helped mum sort some of the packing out.
We had one of our girly chats like we had always done, I knew what she doing, she was trying to keep everything normal between us. Once dad was ready we set off, it was only a twenty minute drive. We arrived there and it was small house, it looked very normal though, I was expecting it to look like a doctor’s surgery or a mini hospital. We walked and it looked more like a doctor’s, there was a reception desk, and a small waiting area but it looked good, in a very strange way. We checked in at the reception, and we were pointed towards the waiting room, were we only had to wait no more then 5 minutes.
A woman walked out, she look around forty, and had her hair pinned up with a grip. She was very friendly and she asked us to follow her into the room where the euthanasia would take place, we did what she asked and slowly walked into the room where there was a table and some armchairs and a bed on one side of the room. We sat down in the arm chairs, and the woman explained what would happened, then asked mum to sign certain documents saying this was her choice and not being forced into it. After everything was sorted and the right documents were completed, the woman walked out of the room and came back with a beaker filled with a liquid.
She asked mum to move over to the bed and lie comfortably, she then gestured us over to the bed, were we where to ay our last goodbyes. I went first so dad could be the last to speak to her and tell how much he loved her. I told her I loved her, and that I will never forget how amazing she is and how she was my idol. She hugged me and whispered in my ear that she wasn’t doing this to be selfish and she didn’t want me thinking that, even though I didn’t think that at all. I stepped back and let my dad say his goodbyes; his took longer than mine, as he had so much to say to her.
It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen, there was so much love between them it was so touching to be a witness of this. After dad had finished the woman made sure this was defiantly what my mum wanted, she looked us smiled and nodded to her. She gave my mum the liquid she had brought out earlier. She told her to drink it on one go when she was ready and told her it didn’t taste nice, trying to make a joke, which surprisingly my mum chuckled at. She drank the liquid still holding my dads hand, it worked almost instantly, she said goodbye and then passed away. I cried as I watched her hand lose grip on my dad’s hand.
He hugged her lifeless body, and kissed her forehead. We left the building trying to be strong, but burst into tears as we reached the car. We drove back to were we staying, and collected everything, including mum’s things and packed them into the car ready to drive to the air port to fly back home, making sure a had the bags that mum gave me the day before. We got back home and made the final preparations for mum’s body to come back home, and made all the funeral preparations. We decided to make a video about mum, and found photos of her at different stages of her life, looking at them reminded me of the good memories.
But I still kept thinking about the times we used to fall out, and have huge arguments, I kept telling myself not to think about them and remember the good times. While thinking about her, I suddenly remembered the bags she gave me, I gave the others to rightful owners, then went I got mine, I opened it and saw a picture frame, I pulled it out of the bag and found a picture of us two together. It was a picture we had taken a while ago, before any of this had happened. I placed it on my shelf above the end of my bed, where I could see it from wherever I stood in my room.
It made me smile, and I instantly thought about the good times we had. Week later it was the funeral, so many people came to pay the respects. They told me about what me was like at school and the nights out on the town they had when the were younger. Listening to all the stories, it made me realise that my mum was always a fun person to be with. We stood outside waiting for the car to arrive which was carrying my mum’s coffin. Looking at my dad, he hugged me and told me that he loved me, and how much i was like my mum, and how proud he was of me.