• Shevelle Copeland-Kelly

What’s the use in worrying when it might never happen....#9

“What’s the use in worrying when it might never happen” Mummy used to tell me this often. She knew I worried. It was written all over my face. Anytime anything was wrong. My favourite line was “am I dying” giving birth to my daughter and then the whole maternity unit rushes in because my midwife pressed the crash button. I had to ask “am I dying” because it looked like it but didn’t feel like it. I’m guessing if I’m talking and visualising it I’m not dying right? A few years ago I had an ovarian cyst and had to have surgery. I left the theatre with a slightly raised temperature. I heard the doctor say to Mummy and mum ”Sometimes this can be a sign of infection and internal bleeding“. I was high on morphine so I don’t even know how I heard that. But what did I say “ am I dying” 2018 I was diagnosed with a pituarity adenoma first thing I asked my consultant bare faced. “Am I dying” she laughed uncontrollably. I don’t even know why? I just wanted to know if I was dying. Any unusual pain hits my body...” am I dying” Truth is I don’t think I would really want to know if I was dying.

So you see my grandma, my mummy she knew me, my little bird new I liked to worry. So throughout this initial cancer diagnosis, I cried uncontrollably by myself at times. The ugly cry. I cannot believe I have cancer and she’s not around. My cancer was probably forming whilst she was dying. She was there through anyone’s sickness you just knew mummy would give you a remedy to sort you out, no questions asked. I am sure she was probably on her way to curing cancer herself. She was a herbalist a real one. I trusted anything she gave me. In saying that she never doubted traditional medicines. She gave everything their dues. But for her personally doctors and hospitals were not really her thing. Each to their own. I start to wonder if she even knew her symptoms could be cancer because honestly, we think lumps and bumps are harmless more time especially if it doesn’t hurt. Bless her....shes from the drink ah tea era...Was from that era I should say. In saying that she would always urge people to check things out. I remember her saying things like “ Yuh tink it’s ah laughing matter, you will see” This makes me sad because maybe if I knew more back then I could have helped her with her one. Even saved her. Who knows how long she had her cancer? Months, years, decades, well at least we know it wasn’t centuries as she was only late 70s. That much is certain. Because with cancer nothing is certain you know. They can’t even measure how long you’ve had it. Some say years, some say you are born with it, apparently, we all have cancerous cells but something triggers it. I believe I know what contributed to triggering mine. But I’ll tell you later.

Mummy was the best. No literally the funniest. She had banter. Real life banter. I never forget one day when I walked into her house jubilant and joyful. She looked at me giggled and said: “Hello BIG girl” I couldn’t believe it. She’s bantering me and what can I tell her. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. My cousin Nia ever the diplomat turned to her and said. Mummy that’s not very nice. Suppose Shevelle feels upset. My grandma laughed harder and said “But if she is a big girl, she is a big girl” but I wasn’t upset it was funny. She was funny. It became my new nickname. BIG Girl. She called me it every time she saw me and she had the fattest grin on her face and we would laugh. She would tell me I looked nice though. LOL.

So after her diagnosis when she could barely utter the words big girl I knew this wasn’t a good sign. I really wanted her to call me my nickname it made me know everything was alright. She struggled, she had opted for chemo for us in order to preserve any life. Palliative care. She tried. Really tried. But it was just too devastating. Tragic. I was there when she passed. I almost saw her take her last breath but for some reason, I went downstairs as it was about to happen. My twin bird must have called me. Probably told God not to let me see it. Maybe I would have lost it if I saw the last breath. I’ve never seen anyone die. Don’t think I even want too. But nothing is ever by chance we see what we are supposed too and avoid what we are not. God, divine intervention, the universe whatever you believe in, it works in your favour.

Mummy was certainly the matriarch of the family. Even the wider family. Longest surviving sister for her two brothers she leaves behind. Not going to pretend her food was impeccable, Caribbean cuisine cooked in the healthiest manner. She was organic she was authentic. I’m delighted my daughter got to meet her maternal great grandmother. Not many can even say they’ve met all their grandparents. I mean I did. My paternal grandfather passed first, then my mummy she’s on my maternal side. To be honest I thought she would live forever. Organic to the bone, juicing, herbs, no microwave, nothing processed. But cancer still got her. So what now? Kmt just enjoy your life make healthier choices of course, but my birdie still died and she was the healthiest ole gal on the block.

My bird always gave me hope, she was cute but fierce. She told the best stories and also listened to the wildest stories her grandchildren would have to tell her she would never say we were lying especially my cousin Jayden when we knew his stories were a lil far fetched at the age of 5. She used to encourage the imagination I wish my daughter got a lil longer with her. They had a good relationship even though it would have to be my child at the age of 3 to be mouthy and get herself into trouble. My grans tactic to capture Amarah was “come here nice girl...come pretty girl, look at this sweet pencil I have for you” Amarah wasnt silly she said “Noooo coz you're gonna slap me” who gets licks by their great grandma at 3 as in who manages to bypass 2 generations to hold a 3rd generation beating?

Certain things give me an overwhelming sense of nostalgia when I think of her....cutting up garlic and swallowing at night time. Or drinking water at night especially because I remember her saying one time she did and she woke up with it pouring out her mouth and nose - I laughed at the time and still continued to drink water, I mean I still do but I’m a little hesitant. Not going to lie I love a stale bottle of water that's been hiding in my bed to quench my thirst. (Don’t lie a couple of you have a few stale bottles on standby)

She used to laugh at me for being so vain when I used to get my hair done fresh press out and flowing in the wind I would go to her on purpose and flick it in front of her face so she would say something cheeky and role her eyes. Now look who’s dunning 2019 with no hair....rass life really does the 360. Laugh because I laugh all the time a whole me with no hair mad!!!!!

I miss her though even though I was at peace with her death because I felt like she knew where she was going she had no fear. That’s helped me. It was somewhat peaceful she made up her mind she was going to go. That taught me how important faith is. Faith in whatever you believe. As my daughter told me through my diagnosis “mum I’m not scared anymore. Should I tell you why? Because when it’s your time, it’s your time. God will take you whenever” that’s her faith and if it helps her through my diagnosis I do not mind that. I just don’t want her living in fear. Mummy just went too quickly one min we were chilling as a family a few weeks later they said cancer 4 months later she was gone. Walaaah magic! Not the cool type though just weird really feels like she did a disappearing act. Mummy flew away so quickly, I didn’t even have a chance to ask her how I make cornmeal porridge or them sweet boil dumplings nothing. She had to dash. Sometimes I feel to put up missing person pics and ask if anyone seen this woman because as mature as my grandma was she used to play with us and do pranks so I wonder if she’s just pranking us? But I saw them put her in the stretcher and take her away in the black van (stunt double) and to be honest it’s been over 2 years now and it not funny. But since being diagnosed I’ve cried because I would give anything to hear her say “ Don’t worry it might just never happen?”

I cannot believe this though. My bird is gone and I got given cancer. Wow. Who’s gonna tell me. Don’t worry it might never happen? That phrase is the best. Just analyse it. Extract it. Don’t might....never happen. NEVER being the word that changes it. What if all we ever worried about never happened. What if the cancer doesn't kill me but the bus I get to take me home after my appointment does. Point being is we cannot live for tomorrow. Not even the next minute or second. It’s only the now that matters. So as my little birdie said. Don’t worry because it just might never happen!

Alexa if you can hear me, play - Three Little Birds, Bob Marley. (And don’t stop till I fall asleep)

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