My sister Joan was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. During her time in hospital receiving chemo,I spent a lot of time in her room there. She loved to hear all the news about anything and everything. We chatted, joked and laughed about family, writing, food, the weather. We loved to give out about the hospital food, especially the mushroom soup…yeucch. She hated it. I’d bring in home made veg soup in a flask on mushroom soup day.Sometimes we just sat and watched t.v. together. She loved Home and Away. Ssssh don’t tell anyone 😛
When she came home, I’d still visit and we spent much of the time up in her bedroom. I’d hop under the duvet beside her and fill her in on all the gossip. She’d call her husband Brendan to bring us mugs of tea and biscuits. He always obliged. He’d do anything for her. We’d drink our tea and watch Home and Away.
We’d talk about things we’d do when she got better. Go shopping, visit mammy, book a holiday in Spain,walk on the beach in Summer Bay.We’d plan visits to our sister Dee in Oxford. We’d go for walks through the poppy fields and have drinks in the local pub before heading back to the house for dinner and copious amounts of wine.
Sadly, my gorgeous sister died last January after a long battle bravely fought. She was too tired. She could fight no more. I miss her everyday. I wrote this poem for her when she was in hospital. She kept it on her window sill beside the photo of the poppy fields.
( for Joan,Feb 2011)
I think of you lying in your room so stark and bare
I wish I could be there
To hold your hand and take away the fear
And also, just to be near.
I want to bring in posters of Portugal and Spain
Places that we will visit again
I want to hang them on your wall
Sit on your bed, hold your hand, and bawl.
I want you to know, how much I miss you
And all the things we used to do
Like hopping on a bus to town
To a show or book launch or whatever may be going on.
Remember Tuesday nights at lectures in Trinity
Running across the cobbles, you and me
After class we’d chat about writing poems
Then head for sneaky pints in Grogans on the way home.
Those days I know will come again soon
Maybe we can even have a holiday in June
As soon as we get rid of this disease
We’ll run once more through poppy fields