I wrote this last year on my old blog. Mme Cholet died last year. Already this year cancer has dominated the news. Cancer is such an ugly word, an unwelcome What does cancer look like and why is it in so many people's lives? Is it a wizened old witch with bone chilling icy fingers, a handsome charmer who inveigles his way into your life? Whoever or whatever it's hated.
I've got this friend, she’s called Clare, she’s an Aussie married to a Frenchman, I call her Madame Cholet.
Our girls were at school together, we’ve spent summer holidays with them in Brittany and La Rochelle, we’ve done the Bordeaux city break and she stays here when she’s in the UK. I also call her often as she’s moved to Bordeaux. She’s had breast cancer that spread to the hip and lung, she wore a wig and never lost her sense of humour.
One summer Laree woke up in the night and walked into the wardrobe, then screamed as she was lost. Cholet ran in with her bed bonnet on – that stopped Laree crying!!
Sometimes we don’t speak for weeks but it doesn’t matter. For some reason it did matter to me last Sunday as I dreamt she had gone on the lash with a Twitter follower and they were sending selfies and cocktail texts. Charming.
The next morning I had a message to call her after school run so I did.
The chat went like this:
N. Hey bonjour.
C. Hey there g’day
N. Phoning before 9, not had coffee
C. Oh darl
N. What’s the news?
C. Well I didn’t want you to hear in an email
N. Oh shit. What?
C. Well I wasn’t feeling too great during a class and …
N. Yes and what?
C. The cancer has spread to my brain
N. No. How bloody can it?
C. I know
N. So what now? Am I coming to Bordeaux soon?
C. That’d be lovely but I don’t know how I’ll be what with treatment and things
N. I can hold your hand
C. That’d be nice
N. With a glass in the other
C. That’d be nice
N. So what?
C. Well I don’t know when I’ll start radiotherapy and chemotherapy
N. Shall we do birthdays?
C. That’d be good.
N. What’s the oncologist say?
C. Well the onco …
C. Yeah well the onco says radiotherapy for 4 weeks
N. Will you get a new wig?
C. No I don’t think so, besides I have my one from last time and it suits me.
N. Want me to shave my hair off?
C. No blood way you’ll look bloody ridiculous
C. So what other news have you got?
N. Oh nothing really, I’ll save it all for when I come and see you!
C. I’ll look forward to that.
N. Great well I will look at flights and when we know what’s what I will appear
C. I really can’t wait.
N. Neither can I.
C. I’ve got to go now as the other phone is ringing
N. OK phone me when you can.
C. Will do, love you.
N. Love you too.
Got off the phone, cried great big fat tears and then then phone rang again about 10 minutes later.
C. Hello darl.
N. Hey, what’s the news?
C. Have you had coffee yet?
N. No not yet what else are you going to tell me?
C. Oh just that the car broke down.
N. I’ll get a taxi!
Since then we have had lots of chats, I’m telling her stupid things about my day, she’s telling me snippets of her day.
I told the girls. Loops nodded her head and said are you going to see her? Mook burst out crying and said can we go and see her. Laree asked if she was wearing a wig.
She’s begun radiotherapy this week. I hate cancer so much.