We spent the weekend with family and friends in an atmosphere of nervous trepidation. Visitors came, visitors left. It felt a little bit like Christmas. We speculated and anticipated about what was to become. We had no idea.
What we did know was that we had to shop. We were embarking on a new relationship with cancer and periods in and out of hospital so it was time to plan and organise. This is what I do best and it was something that I could do, so we went shopping. Whilst it may seem insensitive, it was a little like holiday shopping; new toothbrushes, toiletries, new wash bags, new PJs, magazines, boiled sweets (?), snacks, lip balm (?) and mouthwash. It was a huge shop. At some point during the shop I realised that I’d forgotten something so asked my daughter to remind me later to go back for it. When I asked her what she had to remind me, she replied, “everything is nice and normal”. Already, within 24 hours, it had all changed.
As we wandered around the store, I was acutely aware that nobody knew why we were shopping or why we were buying new pyjamas. I wanted to tell people. I wanted them to know and realise that I, and others in the store, had a ‘backstory’. None of us knew, why any of us were there. That is when I realised there is an underlying assumption that people were doing their weekly shop or just popping in for the odd essential. That day I realised that everyone has a backstory. People were all in that store, that Saturday afternoon, for different reasons. We were in there because our son had been diagnosed with leukaemia 48 hours previously. Someone else might have been in there because they had been diagnosed with cancer 48 hours before, or they had just lost a loved one, or they were celebrating, or they were lonely, or they were about to lose their job, or they were just simply bored. Everyone had a reason for being in that store on that Saturday afternoon.
Everyone has a back story, this is now one of ours. One of which we are sharing with you now but will soon become part of our history.