“Hannah, we’ve got something to tell you. Daddy has got cancer.” That is what I was told by my mum when I got home from school on a Thursday when I was 8 years old. I ran upstairs slammed the door and sat on the floor in silence. I didn’t know what to do, everytime I’d heard the word cancer it was connected with dying. I didn’t know what to say to my dad or my mum, I’m an only child so wasn’t like I had siblings to confide in. I came out of my room and saw my mum just sat on the bottom step crying, I went and sat with her and put my arm round her, I told her everything was going to be alright. I’d gone from the scared child to comforting my 38 year old mum just like a little adult. While I had my arm round her, I kept thinking, what if this is it? what if it’s going to be me and mum on our own now?
There was a massive part of me that wanted to just run in and hug my dad, and another part that thought, I can’t see him knowing he might leave me. I went and got a tissue for my mum and I kept my eyes on the floor didn’t even look up at my dad just hurried straight past.
About 3 weeks had gone and my dad was admitted to hospital to have the cancer removed, my uncle took all 3 of us up there and my dad was given his bed and me and mum waited a while. Seeing my dad laying there just brought back the time he was ill and I drew him some pictures of the garden and I sat on the edge of the bed with him all day, but I knew I couldn’t do that here, my mum kissed my dad then lifted me to reach him, I put my arms on his shoulders and I didn’t want to let go, he promised me he’d be ok and would be home before I knew it.
3 days later he was home and I became nurse, whether he liked it or not ( I was very stubborn).
We were only 2 weeks of Christmas and he was still struggling with walking and his energy levels were low. It was my Christmas play at school and he still made the effort to come and watch me. As part of the play we had to stand at the front of the stage and say what we want for Christmas, when it was my turn I looked straight at my mum and dad and said, “I’ve already got my Christmas present, I wanted my daddy to be ok and I wanted him to be home with mummy so she wouldn’t cry any more and pretend she’s ok when she’s not”
“Hannah, we’ve got something to tell you, your Dad’s got cancer” That is what I got told by my mum yesterday at 21 years old. But this time I did hug my dad straight away and like that 8 year old I didn’t want to let go.
I ask again, for Christmas this year, I just want my dad to be ok.