Why am I at the tip? My son has cancer…

Why am I at the tip? My son has cancer…

This is the dichotomy I find myself in.

I had ruthlessly cleared the shed of tins of paint, broken but hoarded gardening equipment and a variety of plastic garden toys and made my way to the local tip.  It was a bright and sunny Sunday morning, the tip was teaming with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose.  I proudly joined my fellow tippers and launched the bags over the wall with a sense of virtue and success.  We nodded at each other and rolled our eyes as less experienced tippers attempted to dispose of their goods in the wrong area.  Then it dawned on me.  What on earth was I doing here, involved in this senseless, mundane activity, when my son had cancer?  I had this sudden panic that I should be at home with him, enjoying him, loving him, laughing with him when instead I was here, surrounded by strangers amongst tons of rubbish.

Whilst the booklets and pamphlets had explained the ins and outs of life with leukaemia, there wasn’t advice about this.  How do we combine a sense of normality with the enormity of having a child diagnosed with cancer?

The ‘tip’ incident did rattle me.  I began to question whether we should be doing things differently.  Should we be making the most of every minute, making life ‘spectacular’, cherishing every moment?  Should we be aiming for a life which is ‘picture perfect’ and ignoring the every day necessities?  During the short drive home I had determined that no, life had to go on including the banal as well as the spectacular.  We had to look at the bigger picture; the stability and happiness of the whole family.  This meant trying our very hardest to raise our children to be polite, kind, hard-working and happy and to live a meaningful life.  We had to continue with ‘normal’ life even if that meant doing a tip run and all the other day-to-day stuff.

So, as we carry on with ‘normal’ life and I am raising my voice and getting agitated with the travel insurance company, I smile at Felix.  This is not a magical, memory making moment but it is life and a life that Felix is living and enjoying for all of its high and lows.  During the phone conversation, he is learning that he has the right to complain if he is not happy with something and that there is no need to shout but to listen and assert himself calmly.  He is also learning that people cry when they are angry as well as sad!

Felix does have a cancer diagnosis but he is still our beautiful 10-year-old boy.  A boy who we still have the responsibility to raise to have a broad and balanced view of the world.  A boy who understands that with the amazing things in life there are the mundane and relentless; without the mundane and relentless, we couldn’t have the spectacular and amazing.

The next time I go to the tip, I will take him with me!




  • sjpgalton
    Posted at 21:17h, 24 April Reply

    I have read all your blog posts and have to say how amazing you and Felix are. Its amazing to see you and Felix carry on and have fun as well!

  • Debbie James
    Posted at 22:13h, 24 April Reply

    I know exactly what you mean. My family has also been invaded by cancer . So you do keep doing the everyday things and you smile and say yes I’m fine thank you. Your an amazing family . That is what is so important, the simple things . On Saturday, our son Tom is getting married, without his Dad there . But we will laugh, smile and no doubt cry . Remembering all the happy times and memories that we made , as a family . I send you my love and good thoughts . Debbie . Xx

  • Paula McCarthy
    Posted at 08:34h, 25 April Reply

    Intelligent, smart, brave, strong, funny, mature & gifted..that’s you Felix x
    I’ll keep you in my prayers xxxx

  • Mo
    Posted at 14:34h, 25 April Reply

    Living in the “cancer bubble” must consume your every waking moment but am sure to put pressure on yourselves to provide Felix with the picture perfect life would not only give him a false sense of normality but would put such huge pressure on you both that it would make your lives so much harder in the long run and would be a recipe for a crash.
    Everyone can see what a wonderfully close and loving family you are and that in itself is the biggest blessing. The highs and lows are shared, as are the fun times and amazing opportunities that this monster cancer has opened up for Felix, for you all.
    Let going to the tip be symbolic of clearing out all the unnecessary things we carry with us both materially and mentally leaving room for new beginnings. Am sure Felix would really enjoy throwing things out with you at the tip, it’s a great feeling ? ? Xxx

    • The Diary of Mrs Brown
      Posted at 14:47h, 25 April Reply

      Thanks Mo – absolutely agree. I really appreciate your kindness and support. ??

  • Marie-Celine
    Posted at 20:00h, 25 April Reply

    I totally agree. Some of my best memories are of life carrying on regardless of the threats against it.

  • Hayley
    Posted at 19:13h, 27 May Reply

    I love your blogs and can i just say i follow felix too, & dont you worry youve done exactly what you say already ….your children are amazing kind and most definately happy as you can see from pictures, and both of your updates i read show you have such a close knit family. Stay strong your truly amazing even if some days you fee its all too much we are all behind you x

  • Karen DeBonis
    Posted at 22:19h, 24 April Reply

    I get it. When we got home after my 11- year old son had surgery for a brain tumor, all he did was sleep and watch TV. We had been in the middle of a kitchen renovation when it all happened. So I sat with him some of the time, and painted the kitchen in between. That was 21 years ago. He’s fine now. I still feel guilty.

    • Mrs Brown's Blogs
      Posted at 22:29h, 24 April Reply

      So pleased to hear your son is fine now – not so pleased about the guilt though! Thank you for commenting, it is so comforting knowing that Im not the only one with these weird, wearing but mostly wonderful moments in time!

      • Karen DeBonis
        Posted at 00:06h, 25 April Reply

        Yes,it’s always good to have company. Is there a way to subscribe to your blog?

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