Tuesday 12 May 2020
Maggie’s supported siblings, Lynn and Grant at different centres in different ends of the country.
Grant and I were very fortunate to be close siblings.
Despite living at opposite ends of the country for the last 20 years, we remained close. I count myself very lucky to have had such an amazing relationship with my brother.
Grant was diagnosed with myeloma and was treated near to where he lived at St Bart’s Hospital in London. He would go to Maggie’s Bart’s often.
He’d use it as a space to go with his partner Christian after appointments to process everything over a cup of tea, he had one-to-one sessions with the Psychologist there, and he loved doing yoga at Maggie’s.
It was a very special place to Grant.
When Grant was diagnosed first time round, I coped with it. But when his cancer came back last year, I started to struggle. I just knew I wasn’t coping so well.
I work at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and Maggie’s Aberdeen is on site. I thought, just go down to Maggie’s.
As soon as I walked in, I felt this welcoming warmth. I was approached by someone who offered me a cup of tea and right away it felt like a weight had lifted off my shoulders.
The first time I went in, the Cancer Support Specialist asked me, “Why do you feel that you’ve walked through the door this time around?”
I told her that I had lost control of the way I was feeling, my brother’s disease, failing him as a sister.
And she replied, “But you walking through our doors is you taking control back.”
And that will stay with me forever.
After my first visit to Maggie’s, I rang Grant and told him where I’d been. He said, I’m so proud of you.
I just wanted to be the best sister I could be for him during his treatment, and Maggie’s helped me to do that.
Since then, I’ve been going to the family support group every second Friday. I have a very loving family and supportive friends, but I have found comfort in strangers.
The fact that I was in a room with other sisters, mothers, daughters of people with cancer, it was a real comfort to me. The group is led by a Maggie’s Cancer Support Specialist who really helped us look at things in a different way.
I’m so glad I walked through the door. The support I’ve received from Maggie’s has been amazing.
On Sunday 23rd February, my beloved died in London.
Despite living in London for the last 20 years, Grant was born and bred in Aberdeen. So we decided to hold a memorial service up here prior to the London service.
We wanted to make sure that Grant’s many school friends and family who couldn’t get to the London service could still celebrate his life.
It was held on Tuesday 17th March at our local church, just before social distancing had started. We were lucky we could hold it, as over 200 people attended and we gave him a lovely send off.
We decided as a family that at the Aberdeen service we would raise money for Maggie’s. I just felt that the support that they had given Grant and myself at opposite ends of the country was amazing.
We raised £511 in a collection box for Maggie’s Aberdeen. I was so honoured to present them with that money and to say, “this is from my heart and Grant’s heart”.
Myself, my husband, son, mum and dad were planning on flying to London for Grant’s cremation on the 20th March.
The plan was to bring Grant’s ashes home with us.
But our travel plans were cancelled because of coronavirus and we had no way of getting down to the service.
It’s devastating, it’s been a huge guilt for me and that is hard to live with, even though it was beyond my control. I feel like I’ve let him down but I know that Grant would not want me to be feeling guilty.
It’s going to take some time for me to work through this guilt and I’m hoping Maggie’s will help me with that.
I stepped through the doors of Maggie’s Aberdeen because Grant was being supported by Maggie’s Bart’s, who had been such a huge help to him.
Maggie’s has supported both of us siblings at different ends of the ladder and at different ends of the country. I think that’s a wonderful thing.
I know Maggie’s will always support me and I know Grant will be proud of me for getting support.
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