What Will Tomorrow Bring?

If I am honest with myself I never thought that when I got to this stage in my life I would be learning so many big lessons. Of course we learn something every day but I am still surprised how things can happen so unexpectedly to change your life forever. My cancer diagnosis was certainly the biggest life changer I have had, but my recent experiences have come very close to that. When I wrote my New Year post, optimism was flowing through my veins! Everything in my life was looking positive, and as the weeks progressed things were getting better and better. 20160226_215931Every day recently was spent having very positive meetings, with exciting things happening. A couple of weeks ago on the  Friday night I was a guest speaker in London at a lovely ‘black tie’ event which went very well. Sue and I had a fabulous time and the presentation was well received. On the Saturday morning I was due to go to a friends 80th birthday lunch, and I was in the mood of celebration. Then the call came that changed all of that in an instant, “Chris, you must come now, I think your Mum is dead!”

I drove to my Mums flat in my party clothes, to be greeted by her neighbour who had found her. Somehow she had collapsed and died. Her health had been unreliable but heart and blood tests were normal for someone of 83. I was then dealing with police, ambulance people, coroners, funeral directors and some family members, casualties of years of bitterness. All of the memories came flooding back, as I had to revisit old ‘wounds,’ something that I’m sure all of us never really thought about. The positive stuff went right to the back, as I struggled with funeral arrangements and dealing with contrasting characters within the family. It has been very difficult to focus on anything but the funeral, which took place yesterday after an incredibly gruelling fortnight, both physically and emotionally.

Of course it was going to happen one day, death is a fact of life, but my mum was very strong and has survived a lot in her life, including breast cancer, so there appeared to me no logical reason why this happened. My memory is now full of the memories of my mum on the floor, and thinking about the next few weeks.What will tomorrow bring 1 We both never thought that I would be arranging her funeral, as after my own cancer experience, it was looking much more likely that she would be attending mine. I never felt that I would have another event that shocked me as my own diagnosis did, but this has. I think one of the reasons is the dramatic way your life can turn in an instant.

“Live your life as if each day was your last.” If I had a penny for every time I have heard that, I would be a wealthy man. It sounds great in principle but very difficult to do. Not only do we have our own life to live but we are also a part of other peoples lives too. We must live within certain boundaries and consider others. I am a grandfather father brother, son, uncle, friend, colleague, husband and therefore have a variety of roles to fulfil. When I have analysed my own life, there really is only a small part that I can live without any thought for others. I know that if I lived every day if it were my last it certainly wouldn’t include many of the things I do daily!

Having taken eight years to get to a good place, I felt that I had overcome most emotional hurdles, but what has happened is a wake up call for me. A lot of my old confidence had returned and I thought that the worst parts of my life were behind me. Was I being naïve and was my mind finally choosing to see the positives above the negatives? Those of us affected by cancer are used to living life on the emotional rollercoaster, but I was suddenly thrown back into a dark place when I least expected it.

After two weeks of physical and emotional nightmares Mum’s funeral came together yesterday, and the family cracks were papered over for the day. untitledIt was a lovely sunny day and a wonderful service and hopefully we did Mum proud! Ironically I have so much positive stuff waiting for me now with my work, with exciting things that I have had to postpone for a while. Life goes on, as these events may happen to us, but for everyone else, life is normal. Things move so quickly these days, already those terrible  weeks are behind me, but the memories will be very difficult to live with. They say time is a healer, which in many cases is true, though my own cancer diagnosis still feels like yesterday.

For the next few months I will be dealing with the usual loose ends after a parents death, and continuing with my support work.  My family and friends supporting me with this work has helped me incredibly and given me such a positive focus, keeping me out of the shadows and in the sunshine for most of the time. Life for all of us is unpredictable, maybe we need the bad times to truly appreciate the good ones? ‘Nothing lasts forever,’ which is also true, and a good thing at certain stages in your life. The fact that we don’t know what life will bring us tomorrow is a really good thing, and I have enjoyed living like that for most of my life, but the last few weeks have certainly proved that you must really appreciate each good moment and never take anyone or anything for granted!

I would like to dedicate this post to my Mum, June Mary Lewis 14/06/32 – 27/02/16 RIP


  1. We know that our parents will die one day but some how we are never prepared for it ..sadly I have writen this message a few tines this year as friends have lost their mum or dad…we never expect it to really happen .. Sending condolences to you and your family xx

    • That’s so true Helen. My Mum had her ups and downs as much as anyone of 83 does, but she died suddenly which took us all by surprise. It has been a massive shock, and I’m now involved in all the paperwork etc.

      Appreciate your kind words xx

    • Much appreciated Ronny, life can be pretty full on at times. I hope you’re keeping well. Very best to you!

  2. I’m very sorry about your Mum. Sending you good energy. You and your wife are in my thoughts.

    Carpe diem, today and every day! (My personal cancer battlecry!)

    • Thx so much Pat, I think that energy has arrived! Yes we are certainly very busy.

      Carpe diem returned, I also use that a lot!! xx

  3. So sorry to hear your sad news Chris; after all you’ve been through yourself it must have been a very difficult time indeed, losing your mum and then dealing with all the aftermath. Love and sympathy, Ceri

  4. Hi Ceri, thanks so much for your lovely message. Yes, it is extremely difficult and unexpected, but my own experiences have given me the resilience I will need in the coming months. My wife and boys have been brilliant since I got sick, which enables me to be able to do what I do.

    Big love returned to you and thanks for your kindness xx

  5. So sorry to hear the news of your Mum. Sounds like she didn’t suffer, which is a blessing, but a great shock for you.

    You are right that we should cherish each day, but it’s so difficult to do that at times.

    Take care – my thoughts are with you.

    • Thx so much Ken. You’re right it is difficult to cherish every day, and that is why I chose to write this piece, to help people understand how quickly time passes. Your kind words are much appreciated.

  6. My dear Chris and your family I feel so for you losing your Mum there.is no one that can fill that gap and your grief will take you in many places they say it gets easier in time but for a special Mum it doesn’t. You have come through he’ll and back and I know you will get through this with the wonderful family and friends. My love and I will send my thoughts out to you. Rest in peace lovely Mum

    • Thx so much Georgine for your kind words. Although Mum was 83 she was reasonably well, so it was a total shock. The last few weeks have been difficult, but now the funeral has been done, I can start dealing with the next stage. My family and friends, and the lovely community we have on here will help me. xxx

  7. I’m so sorry to hear your sad news Chris. Sending much love to you and your family at this difficult time xxxx

  8. So sorry to hear of your sad loss our thoughts are with you at this very sad time you have your memories which will help in time . Take care of yourself and take time out for you xx

    • Tu Sandra! Yes the memories certainly help and Mum was always encouraging me with my work. My world is very fast moving now, but i am managing to find some private time at home. Tu for your kindness xxx

  9. So very sorry to hear about your loss Chris, my thoughts are with you and your family. Take time out for yourself – you give so much to help others but now it’s time to pull back for a while and look after yourself. Love and hugs. xx

    • Thx so much Kaz, it has been a difficult few weeks and will continue to be with all the things I have to sort out. But my work is like a beacon for me, and I’m sure you feel the same. There is so much good stuff happening and we are breaking into some exciting areas. It is what gets me through my health situation, and I’m sure will help me here too. I am taking my own quiet time at home, which is helping. Being able to help others helps me too. xxxxx

  10. So sorry to read about your mum,Chris, wishing you and your family lots of love and best wishes. You have all your happy memories together.Take care and look after yourself xx

    • Thx so much Sam. Yes it’s been a difficult time, but with so much to do, the days pass quickly which is a blessing in this instance. The memories certainly help. Appreciate you message, Chris xx

  11. I am sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. Thank you for this post and for sharing your thoughts. My father was a year younger than your mother, he died suddenly in 2010. It is interesting that you write that “the family cracks were papered over for the day” and that old wounds surfaced upon her death. This was true of my family as well. My mother and sisters are still living with those ‘cracks’. We cover them up so that we can get along, but they bubble to the surface from time to time. What I don’t want to let happen is we close off from each other and walk away in anger. I want us to be able to hold each other with love and listen to each other, because what we have is each other. Many best wishes to you and your family.

    • Thank you so much for your kind message Rita. As you may notice I rarely write anything about my family, but in this instance it felt right as there was a lot for us all to think about.

      It seems that most families have ‘cracks’ but mine is a rather large divide! But we got through the day for my Mum, which was the important thing. I like your view about holding each other with love, and I very much admire that ethos.

      Thank you so much for sharing your own experiences Rita, it is always helpful to understand other views. Your comments are much appreciated.

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