October 13th

Smiles and applause all round.

Today should be a good day, a day we celebrate with a party and cakes and balloons and streamers and lively music and friends and presents.

We should be reminiscing about a rough journey with a recovered 6 year-old who’s looking forward to explaining it to his little baby brother.

We should be taking Kip swimming, seeing a healed scar from his central lines and breathing a sigh of relief that he’s through the most awful ordeal.

All these should-be’s, tokens of a future that never happened and never will.

Today is two years since Kip rang the End Of Treatment bell after his last lumbar puncture, and the wonderful team who cared for him applauded him.

Four hours later, the results of that lumbar puncture showed the leukaemia had returned to his spine and brain, and that set us on an inevitable course of radiation, stem cell transplant and coin-toss odds of survival.

After some encouraging early signs, Kip got home in March 2020 for some precious months with Millie, Mummy and me.

He got another birthday (we’d had an emergency four-and-a-half celebration the previous November too) that, despite Covid restrictions we could celebrate with some distanced visits and time in the park.

A sudden fascination for excavators meant extra chocolate, new toys and big smiles!

He got to go to his great-granny’s house one more time and slide down the stairs on his bum with his sister – a family tradition his aunt and I enjoyed some decades ago.

Soft landing optional…

And then, suddenly, this damned stupid virus triggered a rare complication of stem cell transplants; lumps appeared throughout his brain and other organs. They didn’t respond to treatment and in a staggeringly short time Kip lost the ability to walk, speak, drink and in just a few days we held him close as his beautiful eyes, his beautiful smile, his wonderful, loving soul left his body.

His funeral followed and on October 13th 2021 we buried his ashes under an apple tree in Staffordshire.

October 13th was meant to be a celebration, but we mourn it instead.

October 13th is a Should-Be day.



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