Teigan: A letter to my 11-year-old self

Teigan: A letter to my 11-year-old self

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Dear (11 year old ) Teigan,

I am writing to you on the 26th of June 2014.

Later this night your mum is going to die. In the early hours of the morning on the 27th.

But you have known this day was coming, which doesn’t make it any easier. She has been ill with a brain tumour around three years. You’ve watched her become more poorly. You’ve seen the effects of the illness, the chemo, the radio therapy, the operations, the cancer itself.

You’ve seen her appearance change, her face swell and hair fall out, the developed epilepsy, the fits, her speech and eye sight deteriorate.

You’ve done so much with her, to make sure her life was as good as it could be; hot air balloon rides, holidays, trips to London, helicopter flights, to name a few things.

And yet nothing will ever prepare you for the after effects of the 27th of June 2014.

On the 26th of June, Dad will have a feeling. He will pick you and your brother up from school, earlier than normal. He will tell you that you are all going to stay over night at the hospice, where Mum is. You haven’t done that before, only visited for the day, but trust Dad’s gut feeling.

She is in a coma. She has been for about a week now. But she can still hear you. Dad told you and the doctor that it isn’t fair on her. She had told him she didn’t want to be trapped in her body. They are going to up the meds so she won’t be aware anymore. This will mean you will have to say goodbye.

And Teigan, that is what you will do, it will be one of the hardest things you ever have to do. You certainly shouldn’t have to say goodbye to your dying Mum at 11 years old.


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You will do it, you will cry, you will tell her that it is okay to let go, and to stop fighting. You will tell her she has been fighting for so long, but it is okay now, she can let us go. This will be the moment you truly have to grow up.

You will all go and stay in the family room, the three of you. You watch the Disney film Up. Dad won’t be able to watch that film again after this night. You will go to sleep. And then you will be awoken by a knock at the door, and the news will be told.

She is gone.

You won’t be able to do the things you or Mum wanted to do together. She will miss every birthday, every Christmas. She won’t see you start secondary school, do your exams. She won’t see you go to college or get your first job – or your second job, or learn to drive and then go to University. She won’t get to see who you grow up to be as your 19 year old self, or after that. You can’t do shopping trips, go out for coffee, have a teenage daughter and mum relationship.

From 11 to 19, until you get to 18, I don’t think you’ll really feel the loss. It takes a global pandemic and a lot of time to yourself for the brick wall to hit you. It will be really hard.

But Teigan, you will succeed and become a really good and empathetic person, and I like to think you will do your Mum proud. You join the Air Cadets at 13 and go through all the ranks to the top one. You do really well at school and do the subjects you love at College and get amazing grades.

I want you to be under no impression that it will be easy, but you will grow strong and learn a lot about your grief and what this awful loss means for you.

Your Mum has left an impressionable mark on you, and you will carry her with you forever.

I still haven’t really lived yet, there is still so much life to explore. I know it will get easier in a way, but harder in others, as Mum won’t see the future. I rely on 30 year old Teigan to give us an update.

Teigan, you are always going to miss Mum, and sometimes it is going to feel very tough, but I hope this letter is comforting, in that it will work out in the end, and you will all be alright.

Make the most of life and when you need strength look for Mum and she will be there.

Teigan, 19 years old