My brave daughter-in-law

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SL Photo 5Bernadette’s Story

When I think about Desiree, the first thing that comes to mind is her strong and courageous nature.

Even when it was obvious she was unwell, she always put on a brave face for those around her.

Desiree was only 31 when she was diagnosed and 35 when we found out it had spread. I remember feeling such a deep sadness. Her son, my beautiful grandson Hayden, wasn’t going to have his mum help him grow up. And he knew that…because Desiree was really honest with him about her cancer.

Hayden would blow on dandelions and wish his mum didn’t have cancer. When they talked about Desiree dying, he once said “Mummy, can you just leave your heart behind?”

She said she was going to be a bright star with a purple hat. That really helped him.

Desiree joined Sweet Louise in 2009. I know she found meeting other Members really helpful. Even though she was surrounded by loving family and friends, Sweet Louise gave her a different kind of support.

When you’re sick, nobody can actually understand quite like somebody in the same situation. You don’t have to put on that brave face with them.

It’s been ten months since Desiree passed away. I miss her every day – she was a huge part of our extended family. She organised a lot of the family get-togethers. For me the hardest thing has been watching my son, Andrew and grandson in so much pain and so lost at times. And seeing her mum and stepdad struggling too has been hard. I hate knowing I can’t take that
pain away.

I don’t think anything can prepare you for what lies ahead when someone so vital to your family dies. We just take one day at
a time. I’m glad I have given up my job so I can be there for Hayden and also support my son, I hope Desiree is proud of us.