Silas should have turned 21 last month. It was a difficult milestone in my head. We did very little as a family on that day – just kept ourselves busy and opened a couple of bottles of the red wine one of his godfather’s gave him back when he was christened. I wonder so much what sort of man he would have become. He would have been a giant of that I am sure. He would have topped all his brothers in height and I suspect have been around 6’4. I wonder how it would feel to be enveloped in his trademark enormous bear hug when he’d be that size? What would his infectious laugh sound like now? Would he and Inigo still be best mates? Would have have a girlfriend? Would his heart have been broken by someone already? Would he still need to curl his fingers through my hair? Would he still be as quirky and crazy as he was in this picture above taken on holiday in Scotland many moons ago? So many, many things that I will never know from a future that was stolen from us all.
We have learnt to live with our grief – we are not strong, we have had no choice in the matter really. It’s just one foot in front of the other – a gentle trudge into a future without his shining face – and the waves of grief, although they still come, are less likely to knock us off our makeshift raft these days. Very little though has changed in the world of brain tumours. Ben and I have been in touch with a family whose beautiful daughter died just after Christmas, just like Silas. It breaks my heart that families are still going what we went through and told there is no hope and no treatments that can save their children. When people say to me “have you not done enough yet?. Isn’t it time to stop?” – I want to shake some sense into them and say that I don’t think we will ever stop – not until families have more treatment options and these tumours are not a death sentence. Brain tumours remain the biggest cancer killer of children and young people and we have to fight until this changes. We need to at least “double survival” – one of The Brain Tumour Charity’s key aims.
So, more fundraising in the pipeline with our Masquerade Ball in June, and my fingers are sore from constructing table decorations and other bits and pieces – a welcome distraction from the permanent ache in my heart.
And then yesterday an unexpected surprise…. My mother turns up on my doorstep with a small package in her hand. Back in 2006, a local artist drew some portraits of the boys for her which she wonderfully gave me that Christmas. He had though in the back of his drawers several more that he had done at the time and this week he gifted them to her. One of the hardest things when someone you love dies is never seeing a new image of them ever again and there clasped in her hands were two glorious drawings of Silas that I had never seen before. Such little things but how my heart sang.
Today I have a slight spring in my step despite the thunder and rain…