Monday, 19 October 2009


October is the tenth month of the year, or the eighth in the Roman calendar (hence the Oct).

October is recognised as the beginning of autumn in our hemisphere (spring in the southern).

October has been adopted as the Breast Cancer Awareness month, which if nothing else, reminds women to check their boobs!

Many countries, including Nigeria, Canada, Spain and China have national days of celebration during October.

The clocks go back an hour at the end of October to embrace the longer nights and shorter days (we get an extra hour in bed!)

The 31st October is Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve or Samhain (pronounced sow-in, translated as summer's end).

October means many things to many people, whether it's the start of winter, Halloween fun, changing clocks or the simple fun of kicking up leaves whilst walking home (something we did today).

For me, October means sadness. It is full of days with specific memories.
2nd October 1968, Matthew was born. This year he would have been 41, instead he will be forever 34.

13th October 2002 our daughter Anya was baptised. What a bittersweet day, we had invited everyone, friends and family to celebrate with us... but everyone knew that for many this would be the last time they would see Matthew. By this time cancer had so ravaged his body that he looked like an old man of 80. Several people walked straight past him and asked me where he was, that is what the cancer had done to him, made him unrecogniseable to those who loved him.

15th October 2002, Matthew went into the local hospice to try to sort out his drugs and for some respite for me. I spent the next 10 days travelling to the hospice twice a day with a 3 month old and a 2 year old to my husband, who at times slept through my visit. The guilt was unbearable, I should be able to care for him, but I couldn't cope, I needed a break.

24th October, Matthew, his parents and I met with the consultants. Matthew asked straight out what the prognosis was, we were told a few weeks. Matthew wanted to come home to die.

25th October, Matthew comes home and went to bed. My house was never empty, nurses, carers and family were always around. Matthew could not do anything for himself now and spent a lot of time sleeping.

29th October, Matthew came downstairs and a hospital bed was bought into the dining room. A call came through to say that the family portraits we had got taken the month before were ready to be collected. That evening the special air filled mattress went down. We needed to lift Matthew and put a blow up mattress under him. I called several of his friends to help. For days Matthew had been sleeping most of the time, he had barely spoken and when he had, it often didn't make sense. This evening he was able to laugh and joke with his friends, we had our Matthew back albeit briefly. My Dad went to collect the photos, Mum held them up for him to see whilst Dad and I held Matthew up so he could see them, his body was so wasted that he was unable to sit on his own. Matthew's best friend sat with him for ages and they chatted. Matthew's dad came to sit with Matthew through the night (myself, his mum, dad and his sister had taken it in turns to sit with him each night). I said goodnight to Matthew, he told me he loved me and I told him the same.

30th October, according to Matthew's dad, his breathing slowed and he slipped into a coma in the early hours. In the morning the medics came to replace the blow up mattress with a special 1 to prevent sores. During the lifting, Matthew let out a last gasp, he had finally had enough and slipped away after 11 months of cancer ravaging his body.

7 years later it hurts as much as it did that day.