A Love Letter to My Mum and Dad

Today, after 6 months of caring for me during the worst period of my life, my parents are heading back to Wales. The complexity of what I’m feeling, and the urge to look back over the last six months and see just how damn far we’ve come, has me itching to write again for the first time since January.

It’s bittersweet for us all; glad that the crisis part of my diagnosis is over, aware that there’s still much to face, relieved that they will finally be able to go home and rejoin their community, but sad that we will be apart once more.

They truly uprooted their lives in order to help save mine. If anything has been a silver lining to having cancer (!) then spending more time with these two certainly qualifies.


They have shown me the true meaning of unconditional love, boundless patience and unwavering strength. Helped me to keep smiling and laughing throughout the ordeal, whilst reiterating that it’s okay to not be okay – and let me cry, scream and mope without judgement. Accompanied me to every single chemotherapy, to appointments and procedures. Cleaned the house, from top to bottom every day, to try and avoid my getting sepsis. Assisted me financially, kept me fed, active and sane. Let me know that I was loved, even when I could not love myself.


There is, of course, no way I can ever truly repay them. Nor would they ever expect me to. The best I can do, other than guaranteeing to care for them in their dotage (a given!), is to take care of myself as well as they would through my recovery over the next year or so, and to continue to live well and respect my body enough to listen to its needs.

Remission is complicated and bloody difficult (something I plan to write about at length) but I owe it to everyone that helped me, not just my parents but the rest of my family, my partner, my friends, my colleagues, the NHS staff and more, to do my best to look after myself, body and mind. It’s going to be a learning process.

For now, here’s to you Mum and Dad. I love you.


One thought on “A Love Letter to My Mum and Dad

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  1. Hi Cerian. I can relate absolutely to your sentiments. We can never repay the debt but we can do everything in our power to get as damn close as possible. I am at a different stage of life from you. I had already been married for 35 years when I ended up with bowel cancer. I was still younger than the average for that disease. I had a family that I had always loved and been loved by. Now I needed them to love me unconditionally as you say. They needed to as, during my treatment, I was pretty unpleasant apparently. I have no recollection of this and find it shocking as I am really not like that. I had a phenomenal amount of chemo and you know how that is. I can only think that I had a, thankfully temporary, personality change. The unconditional love was there for me in spite of my attitude. Now I make sure that it is there for them and I have had the chance to demonstrate this in emotional and practical ways.

    Needless to say I wish you every success with your ongoing treatment and adjustment to life post-treatment. Surviving cancer brings its own problems and challenges. Yes, we are super-happy to be alive but things will never be the same. Hopefully we can achieve different but just as good. It needs mental gymnastics to accept that life can still be amazing even with the various limitations that cancer has wrought.

    All the best and love from someone who thinks he understands.

    Kevin Ennis


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