When Mum found out she had secondary breast cancer in 2015 the news devastated us all. It felt particularly cruel coming shortly after she received the all clear from her first battle with cancer years earlier.
Mum lived with her terminal diagnosis for the best part of 5 years before passing away peacefully at St Gemma’s Hospice in October 2019. As was her way, Mum made the most of those final years but there’s no denying it was a difficult period for her as she slowly came to terms with the situation.
In 2017, Mum discovered Ben and The Swan Song Project whilst being treated as a day patient at St Gemma’s. In those difficult days, she told us that the journey of telling her story through music was a liberating experience that helped her accept her diagnosis. Mum’s song is called The Warmth That Surrounds and it’s about being thankful for the love of friends and family and the joys of life. It’s a beautiful message.
Mum didn’t tell us she was making a song, rather she just gave us the finished CD one day when she visited. Painful as it was to listen to, it was lovely to hear Mum’s song. And now, writing this on the anniversary of her death, it means a lot to hear her words again.
After Mum died, Ben performed The Warmth That Surrounds at her funeral. This was the one bit of her funeral Mum hadn’t planned, but it was a fitting celebration of her life and I think she would have approved that the two full chapels in attendance heard her song performed live!
I’ve heard Ben say that Songs can live forever and it’s certainly true. Heather and I are very grateful for the support of The Swan Song Project – it is an amazing idea and a wonderful and very worthy charity.