Putting a brave face on

They say fortune favours the brave and I sincerely hope they are right. Bravery is ‘the quality which allows someone to do things that are dangerous or frightening’. Based on this definition, the two bravest people I know at this point in time are both family members of mine, who happen to be at opposite ends of their lives and are both facing incredibly testing times – my Grandma Alma who is 85 and my daughter Rose who is almost 2 and a half. 


My Grandma is currently facing losing her husband after 65 years of marriage, not to an illness, but to old age. He is in a home, wasting away, all his desire to fight has gone and he’s waiting for the end. When I took her to see him a couple of weeks ago I watched her hold his hand across the bed because it comforted him in his hour of need, even though it made her wince in pain as her back ached from leaning over.


A few years back she was diagnosed with skin cancer and had patches removed from her face and head with only a local anaesthetic – and she needed 27 staples in the top of her scalp to repair the skin. The thought of it alone makes me shudder, but she sat there for three hours and endured it, because she’s strong. She also suffers from osteoporosis, so a trip or fall leaves her black and blue with broken bones. She risks a fall whenever she leaves the house, whenever she leaves her chair in fact, but she knows life must go on and she just gets on with it. 


My beautiful daughter Rose is currently battling pneumonia. I’m in the hospital with her as I write this, listening to her loud, rapid breathing as she tries to get some much-needed rest. The drugs aren’t working yet, she feels rotten and she wants to go home. She’s in pain and is exhausted, yet she still manages to smile, still asks when her little sister is coming to visit and if she’s ok, still looks at me when I yawn and says “You tired Mummy?” with sympathy in her sad, tired eyes. 


Last night I climbed into Rose’s hospital bed with her when she cried because her cough was hurting her and keeping her awake. I stayed long after she calmed down, for most of the night in fact. While I curled myself around her I realised that, in that moment, I needed her more than she needed me.


Bravery clearly runs in my family, so I know it’s there when I dig deep. When I get scared, I remind myself of Rose and Grandma’s courage and try my very best to prove that the ‘fearless female’ gene didn’t skip a couple of generations. I can only hope good fortune shines down on these two amazing people – not just because I love them so much, but because they well and truly deserve it. 



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