C is for….

is for……Cancer.  My 49 year old uncle was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago.  We reeled.  But everyone survives cancer, right?  In the space of these 4 short weeks, he’s been told it’s inoperable, then terminal.  He’s dehydrated because the tumour in his stomach makes him feel full and nauseous; he won’t eat or drink.  So he can’t have the chemo he desperately needs.  He’s delirious because of the lack of food and liquid and is increasingly aggressive, shouting at the people who need to love him, now more than ever.


Yesterday the oncologist told his wife 6 weeks.  Six weeks?  How do you wrap up your life in 6 weeks?  How do you tell your children you’re going to die?  How do you tie up the admin, when the pain is like a fist and your family is falling apart?  Father of 3 kids, the youngest of whom is 9 years old and raging.  The middle child confused and desperate.  The oldest, 16, quiet, internal, shredded. My aunt, guilty, raw, howling. 


My mom and I will go up this Friday, taking my 89 year old grandmother to say goodbye to her son.  I don’t know how to do this.  I don’t know how to sooth this monstrous tragedy.  I don’t know how to make sense of this for my cousins (and godsons) who’s lives are veering wildly off course.  I don’t know how to hold my aunt and murmur platitudes and clichés.  I don’t know how to help my mom or my gran.  I don’t know how to say goodbye to the man who was my guardian, who played the role of dad when my own father was not up to the task.  A difficult man to talk to, but someone who loves his family with a fierce, unwavering loyalty. Someone whom I love very, very much. 

I’m not ready to say goodbye. 


I don’t want to.   


23 thoughts on “C is for….

  1. kyknoord says:

    Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

  2. daisyfae says:

    dolce – you can’t change the outcome for your uncle, but you will influence the path. just be there. listen. touch them, hold them, and cry with them.

  3. Rox says:

    I agree with daisyfae – just being there is the best thing you could do.

    My cousin died of cancer about 5 years ago, it was Hodgkins lymphoma and meant to be very treatable… except she had the atypical version, which is hard to diagnose and almost impossible to treat.

    She was treated for TB for 8 months, and then finally when they realised what it was, she endured 3 years of chemo, radiation, getting better, relapsing, getting better again, relapsing… being told by the hospice to prepare herself for the worst. It was hell.

    She eventually lost the battle, and managed to organise her will in the last few days. She opted to be at home, and the whole family was there with her. It was probably one of the most painful memories of my life, as we were closer than sisters and had been almost inseparable since the age of 2. I was like losing an aspect of my self, and the entire family all suffered in their own ways.

    Coming together as a family though, we managed to get through those dark days – including that final Christmas and New Year just before she died.

    So be strong, and be prepared – but realise that your support will mean the world to your family, and other than giving them that, there is nothing you can do.

    I’m really sorry you have to go through this hun, and also sorry for leaving such a morbid comment… but just wanted you to know that you WILL make it through this – you AND the family.

  4. tenmiles says:


    Can’t imagine how difficult this must be for all concerned. Strength will come when it is most needed, but there is no rule for action, no particular way that we should handle these things. Anger is good, it reminds us of the value of life, and everyone will probably look at everyone else and think they should handle it a different way.

    The person your uncle is, the shape he has given to your life, what he has done and how he has lived his life will always outshine and outlast the darkest of shadows.

    Whether that shadow falls now, or years from now.

  5. No words suffice…big {{{hugs}}} to you and your family. You are all in my thoughts & prayers.

  6. Just ((((hugs.)))That is all.

  7. jenty says:


  8. […] thanks, kono for the reminder…  and a special thanks to dolce and The Brave Little Toaster for providing the gentle bitch-slaps to get me over my holiday […]

  9. michaelm says:

    Be there for the people that need you.
    I have a feeling you will do this anyway.
    Saying goodbye in such a short period of time must be hell.
    In my heart, your uncle will find the words to say to those he truly loves.
    I say, pray much.
    People underestimate its incredible power.
    My heart breaks for you in this post and I offer my shoulder and email address if you should need it. My door is always open.
    Hang in there for you and your uncle.
    Keep the faith.

  10. nursemyra says:

    Dolce I’m so sorry. Don’t worry about what to say or do, just be there. Words are not always necessary, the fact that you’re there may be all you can offer but sometimes it’s the most meaningful thing.

    My heart goes out to you in this agonising time xxx

  11. nursemyra says:

    Dolce I’m so sorry. Don’t worry about what to say or do, just be there. Words are not always necessary, the fact that you’re there may be all you can offer but sometimes it’s the most meaningful thing.

    My heart goes out to you in this agonising time xxx

  12. thegnukid says:

    having just been there, i still have no words. you have all of our love coming to you. you must choose to accept it and let it comfort you.

    for your uncle? just talk. just be there with him. let him lead where he wants to go. capture the radiance of his life, not his impending death, so that it may light the rest of your life.

  13. tNb says:

    I am truly sorry to read this. But just writing this post is a way of helping, you may be amazed at what we can survive when we have no choice.

    I don’t know you, but *hugs* …

  14. Dolce says:

    Aaaw flip, guys. You just made me leak all over my desk again. thank you. Thank you so so so so much for the kind words, the advice, the hugs and just for the support. This is the only place I can talk about how angry, sad, heartsore *I* am, without feeling guilty about taking away from the horror that my uncle and his family are experiencing. And so your gentle love means so much. I’m one flippin’ lucky blogger.

    Thank you.

  15. Dusty Muffin says:

    So sorry, Dolce. So, so, sad.

  16. Dolce says:

    Ta Nursie and Dusty!

  17. The Tart says:

    I am so sorry to hear this … Many many hugs your way & to your family.

    Sweetest of smooches,
    The Tart
    ; *

  18. Parenthesis says:

    I lost a good friend to cancer a couple of years ago. She fought it for three years, but we all knew from the start that she was fighting a losing battle. It was a sad time for us all, but at least we had time to prepare for what was to come, and to say our goodbyes. Words are hollow when confronted with things like this. All I can offer is hugs, and more hugs, and the advice to savour these last few weeks. It’s hellishly difficult I know, am thinking of you xx

  19. vapour says:

    Hey Dolce.

    No words. My thoughts are with you

    Love Vaps

  20. oniongirl says:

    fuck. fuck some more. not in a good place to comfort you. my mum’s just had a postive diagnosis – thyroid cancer. they operate in early jan. i’m not dealing with it. at all. want it to go the fuck away. NOW.

    sucks. sucks. sucks. and i’m so bloody terrible sorry/sad/angry for you and yours dolly. much power to you.

  21. Dolce says:

    Thanks for all the stories and love and support. I are lucky bloggirl. It’s been unutterably hard. But I’m really glad I went. And I’m really glad my cousins know I’m there for them. 😦

  22. […] 10 weeks of pain, morphine, anguish and fighting, he lost his battle with cancer and let go last Wednesday […]

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