Time to Say Goodbye

So, only three months ago, I’d never imagined that in just a couple of months time I’d be writing this post.

Three months ago, everything was normal, life was as happy as it could be.

Our family were holidaying with my brother-in-law and his fabulous wife over in South Africa and getting excited about the forthcoming birth of their first baby.

Then, on returning home, things started to go wrong.


The first we heard of any illness was when my father-in-law messaged my husband to say that my mother-in-law had been admitted to a hospital in the Galápagos Islands, while they were on holiday with an unknown illness.

A few days though in the hospital and she’d recovered so they continued on their holiday, only coming home as it ended as with any holiday.

Then, only a week or so later she was admitted into a local hospital here, back in the UK with suspected pneumonia and pleurisy. But, on further investigations they found fluid on the lung which needed to be drained.

We were totally unaware of what was really happening.

Again, only after a short while and in the hope that it was just normal procedure, she had some blood tests where they found cancerous cells. But, because she was so well and fit beforehand we were ignorantly hopeful that it was in its infancy and that a cure or at least a treatment path would be found.


But then, after a few days of waiting for further test results I received a phone call from my husband who very tearfully informed me of the worst news I could have heard.

She was riddled with the cancer, it was cancer in its finally stages and there was no cure.

We all fell to pieces to be honest. I rushed home to be with my husband who needed as much support and comfort as I could give him, and his brother flew back from South Africa to be with the rest of his family, having to leave his pregnant wife at home.

And to add to the shock and sadness, it was only days later where I got the call from Nursery informing me that Ella needed to be rushed into hospital with a broken femur!

From then on things became a bit of a blur to us.

I was thereon-in unable to be at my husbands side through this horrendously tough time, as we each covered Ella’s hospital stay with 24 hourly shifts.

One day the wonderful nurses though were able to wheel Ella down in her bed, legs strapped up in the air, to see her beautiful Grandma who was now in a private room on the next floor down of the hospital.  It was heart wrenching to watch as they both had their beds wheeled next to each other and the two generations held each others hands.

Image 30 - Version 2

Then, three weeks further on, Ella was discharged from hospital and we were able to visit Grandma in her hospice which she had then been transferred to. It felt right to be there together as a family. Finally.

My husband visited pretty much daily, as did his Dad and his brother. And I visited as much as I could, with a toddler who was learning to walk all over again and a four year old still in pre-school.

And then, after she had said all of her goodbyes to family and friends, she passed away peacefully a week ago.

We are all in disbelief and shock as to the ferocity and suddenness of this horrendous disease. At how fast it twisted its evil grasp around her.

I think I’m now at the anger stage. I know that this is the way of life, and I realise that she really did live a fabulous life, albeit not as long as she or we would have hoped for, but she was still too young. She still had so much more to do, so much more family time to spend with us and her much adored Grandchildren.

I’ve lost a beautiful and supportive mother in law, my children have lost their doting Grandma, my husband has lost his devoted mum and my father in law has lost his wife and best friend.

I just have no words. I feel helpless as I watch my husband, my rock, break down in front of me, when all I can do is offer kind and supportive words, firm embraces, love and support.


I can’t speak for us all but personally I feel numb. The shock of the whole situation has still not subsided and I can’t get to grips with the idea that she has gone.  It only feels like yesterday that she was digging up the patio in our back garden, or texting with links to fab interior design ideas for our kitchen.

We were and still are a very close and strong extended family unit. Which I can only look back in years to come with extreme happiness, joy and fulfilment.

As quoted by Winnie The Pooh….

‘I’m lucky to have cared for someone so much, that it makes saying goodbye so hard to do’.

There are no words to comfort one another in this time of sorrow, just an unsaid understanding that we’re there for one other.


And, as it is also said, ‘to grieve is human’, but I understand that we will all grieve in our own little separate ways, and whether this is by sobbing our hearts out, bottling it up for another day or by writing it down as I’m doing, I will understand that this is normal. After all, there is no ‘proper’ way to grieve.

So now, rather than wallow in grief and sadness, I will do as she would have done. I will pull myself together, grab the bull by the horns and embrace each and every day with the same vigour that she did.

And as she always said, I’ll ‘just get on with it’.

love steph



  1. 6th June 2015 / 7:36 am

    I am so sorry. This made me cry. You have written it so beautifully and she would be proud. The pictures are beautiful and you have some great memories to hold onto #MySundayStars xx

  2. 1st June 2015 / 1:16 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. This was such a sad but also lovely post. It brought tears to my eyes when you described your little girl holding her Grandma’s hand. Thinking of you.

  3. 1st June 2015 / 11:26 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss! What a beautiful post! xx #sundaystars

  4. 1st June 2015 / 9:51 am

    I’m so so sorry you lost her and it’s horrible how it happened so quickly. Thinking of you all x

  5. 1st June 2015 / 9:27 am

    Steph this is such a beautiful post and tribute to your wonderful mother-in-law. I am so sad and also shocked to hear of how quickly the cancer took hold and it must just be impossible for you all to understand it. You know I have first hand experience of this awful disease with my husband, and it is just heartbreaking, evil and cruel. You have had such a horrendous few months lovely. Big hugs xxx

  6. 31st May 2015 / 9:30 pm

    I am so sorry to hear this.

    I lost my Dad 2 years ago, and whilst he is physically gone, he certainly isn’t dead – we speak about nearly every day, my kids have beautiful memories of him and I always smile when I think of him.

    I hope the pain now turns into beautiful memories that make you smile every time of you think of her.

    Lots of love xxxxxx

  7. 31st May 2015 / 9:15 pm

    Oh lovely, I’m so very sorry to read this. Gosh. Your mother-in-law was obviously a very special and wonderful person and it really doesn’t make sense. I lost my Mum to cancer and I found it very hard to comprehend the whole thing really. Lots of love xxx

  8. 31st May 2015 / 8:09 pm

    So sad and I am sorry for your loss. As you say, you just have to live each day and get on with it. None of us know how much time we have. #sundaystars

  9. 31st May 2015 / 7:06 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Such a touching an heartfelt post. The amazing bond and relationship you had with your mother-in-law is extremely precious.
    Life is seriously unfair at times, it always takes the best too soon. Treasure the memories x

  10. 31st May 2015 / 7:04 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Such a touching an heartfelt post. The amazing bond and relationship you had with your mother-in-law is extremely previous.
    Life is seriously unfair at times, it always takes the best too soon. Treasure the memories x

  11. 31st May 2015 / 6:00 pm

    What a dreadful shock for you all. Life can be so cruel.

  12. 31st May 2015 / 5:38 pm

    Ah Steph i’m so sorry for your loss – she seemed like a wonderful women to have in your life. So sad x #sundaystars

  13. 31st May 2015 / 5:23 pm

    Oh Steph such a heartbreaking post, I cried for you all and so wish you hadn’t all suffered such cruel heartbreak xx

  14. 31st May 2015 / 4:30 pm

    I’m so sorry for your horrendous loss!

    This is such a beautiful, touching tribute to your lovely mum in law. The pictures you have included tell of a youthful lady bursting with energy. What an awful shock it must be for you all. Sending you lots of love x x x

  15. 31st May 2015 / 3:43 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss, cancer is such a horrible cruel disease. You have some wonderful photos in this post and I hope you can remember the good times you shared xx

  16. 31st May 2015 / 2:52 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. Thoughts are with you and your family. Beautifully written, touching post. It’s obvious from the photos you have lots of lovely memories together for you all to cherish. #SundayStars

  17. 31st May 2015 / 2:18 pm

    Life can be very cruel. Wishing you strength.

  18. 31st May 2015 / 10:51 am

    What a beautifully written post. I’m so sorry for your loss #sundaystars xx

  19. 31st May 2015 / 10:13 am

    I am so sorry.

    Life throws a load of rubbish at us sometimes. Take care of yourselves and your little girl, that is what she would have wanted you to do now.

    Sending hugs and support. xx

    • 31st May 2015 / 12:19 pm

      Thank you so much – and you are spot on – this is exactly what she would have wanted us to do. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Steph xxx

  20. 31st May 2015 / 9:02 am

    What a huge shock. I am so very sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful woman and to be taken from you all so suddenly is evil. Cancer is evil. Take comfort in these wonderful photographs – you can feel the love radiating from them and these memories will always be there for you. #sundaystars

    • 31st May 2015 / 12:20 pm

      What a beautiful comment – thank you so much. It really is an evil disease isn’t it. But our memories are safe. Steph xxxx

  21. 31st May 2015 / 7:37 am

    Stef I can barely see through the tears to type this comment, this is a a beautiful post full of wonderful photos of a clearly wonderful woman. So sorry for your loss and how agressive and speedily this bastard disease took her. #sundaystars

    • 31st May 2015 / 12:21 pm

      I think you’ve totally summed it up there. Great way of describing it. Thank you so much for all your support. Steph xxxx

  22. 31st May 2015 / 7:24 am

    I am so sorry for your family’s loss. She sounds like an amazing woman and grandmother. Thank you for writing this an reminding us all to appreciate the people we love. xx

    • 31st May 2015 / 12:22 pm

      Erin – thank you so much for your wonderful comment – it means so much to me. Steph xxx

  23. 31st May 2015 / 7:21 am

    Steph, I am so sorry for your sad loss. Cancer is a truly evil disease. She looks like such a wonderful woman, I can see you’ve lost a real pillar of the family. Grief is a funny thing. We lost Dad three years ago to a brain tumour, I was 6 months pregnant at the time and then suddenly all time and thoughts were of my newborn. I honestly don’t think I have grieved how I should of grieved for my own dad. I have cried, many many tears but I’m not sure it was the amount it would have been if I hadn’t been so busy being a new mum. It’s not easy losing someone so close to you, I’m sending you all the love in the world xxx #sundaystars

    • 31st May 2015 / 12:26 pm

      What a beautiful comment and I’m so very sorry for your own loss too. I suppose we’re just going through the motions at the moment, but we will get there I’m sure. I am sure too that you still grieve silently on a daily basis – in your own way, whether it just be a little thought of remembrance. This is all totally normal. At least we have wonderful memories. Steph xxxx

  24. 31st May 2015 / 7:15 am

    This is devastating, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. My wonderful Grandad lost his life to cancer, and though he had a couple of years to live, seeing this full-of-life man deteriorate was horrendous for us all. So so awful. xxxx

    • 31st May 2015 / 12:27 pm

      Oh Kaye – I’m so sorry for your loss too. It’s truly horrible isn’t it. A totally devastating disease which takes no prisoners. I think though – it’s just made us more determined to live our own lives to the full as much as we possibly can now. To make the most – as she would have done. Steph xxx

  25. 31st May 2015 / 6:55 am

    I am so sorry for your loss xxx Last week my husbands auntie was admitted to hospital with a burst tumor, they opened her up and she was riddled with cancer. She passed away the same day.

    Sending love ans hugs xx

    • 31st May 2015 / 12:29 pm

      Oh my gosh Ellie – that’s awful. I’m so sorry too!! We just need to keep these people in our precious memories. Thanks so much for your comment. Steph xxx

  26. 31st May 2015 / 6:18 am

    So dreadful to lose someone close, especially so quickly. My thoughts are with you and yours x


    • 31st May 2015 / 12:30 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment and your wishes. Steph xxxx

  27. 30th May 2015 / 8:52 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss!

    Cancer is a wicked thing that steals pieces of our hearts away before we’re ready to let go. You and your family are all in my thoughts.


    • 31st May 2015 / 12:31 pm

      Vickie – that’s a beautiful comment – thank you so very much. Steph xxxxx

  28. 30th May 2015 / 7:46 pm

    I am so sorry…..What a truly awful disease cancer is! Thinking of you and your family! Sending love and hugs x

    • 31st May 2015 / 12:32 pm

      Thank you so much for your well wishes and thoughts Kim, Steph xxxx

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