' Wonderful, Jenny where are you'
'No Mum, it's not Jenny its Sue'
'Sue' she asked quizzically, 'My Daughter Sue?'
'Yes Mum your Daughter Sue'
'How wonderful, what are you doing here darling?'
'Jenny told me you were ill, I thought I would pop in and see how you're doing; I brought you some bits, but I wasn't sure what you liked'
'Thank you darling that's very kind. I must be dying quicker than I thought because I am getting visitors and phone calls from all over the place, now come and sit down and tell me all your news, I want to hear all about what the family is up to and I hope you have photos with you.'
I couldn't help but laugh, she always did have a way of defusing a situation and making me feel like we just hadn't spoken for a couple of weeks.
We sat for hours talking and catching up, she updated me on her health, or lack of it and I updated her with my news, it was like we met yesterday or last week, there no awkward silences and we even managed a few laughs. When I popped to get her a tea I shed a few tears; while I know that we have had not the best of relationships or much of a relationship at all, she was still the woman that brought me into the world, we will never have a chance for that relationship again and soon her life will be over.
As I handed her the tea she said ' You know I always loved you darling, I didn't want to give you up but I really had no choice at the time , my life was in such a bad place, we didn't even have a proper home. I did what I thought was best for you and I know you had a good life'.
'I know you did Mum, please don't worry about that now, it's really not important'.
'I know I haven't been in touch much, that's not because I didn't want to, but I know you had a new life and I didn't want to get in the way, or make you feel that you had to see me. It wasn't because I didn't love you Sue.'
I felt a lump growing in my throat, then she continued:
'I saw you didn't I last year, when I was at the bus stop, it took me a few minutes to realise but I realised it was you as soon as I got on the bus. I am sorry it took me a few moments, but that was at the start of my illness and I wasn't very well at the time'.
'It's fine Mum really, I was in shock myself when I saw you so was probably talking rubbish anyway'
Over the next few hours my brother, sister and nephew also came to visit and we reconnected also like there had been no time in-between.
There are a few things I have learnt from my own experience of cancer:
Don't hold onto a grudge, it doesn't get you anywhere and ultimately hurts you more than anyone else - like drinking arsenic and waiting for the other person to die!
Don't have regrets, as the saying goes 'we only regret the chances we didn't take'. I could have stewed, I could have thought 'stuff her' but then I would never have known that she wanted to see me and I wouldn't have brought her some peace in her final time on this earth. Make your decisions and own them, but never regret them.
And finally, what we leave behind on this earth is the imprints we make in peoples hearts and minds, it's the love we give, the people we connect with and the things we create that benefit others. Our legacy is not the cars we drive or the houses we live in but the hearts and minds we touch.