I have thought long and hard about writing this post, especially here. So if I do post it, I obviously came to the conclusion that it was a good idea, although I am pretty sure it will be a selfish post, one that is like expelling a breath, rather than having a conversation.
I have lost a few people through death but I have only blogged about one dead friend here: http://mulqueeny.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/my-mate-mick/ and I love the fact that I did, because his death has affected my family more than any, and I like the fact that I can go to Google and write: Emma Mulqueeny My Mate Mick and I get the post I wrote when he died. At the time I wrote it just to get the pain out of me, now I read it very, very occasionally when I just want to indulge my memories, or grieve. I have taken this post on and offline fairly regularly.
So now Harry…
I never met Harry Moseley. But he died aged 11 on Saturday night at 11.10pm in his Mum’s arms, with his family, at home. He had an inoperable brain tumour diagnosed at age 7 and had spent the rest of his life speaking publicly, going to school and hospital, meeting his heroes, and keeping us all updated through twitter. He also raised money – he raised money for his family and to raise awareness for brain tumours, and this horrific cancer that comes sometimes with the unconscionable words: inoperable.
I found Harry through a stray tweet in my timeline from Duncan Ballantyne, tweeting a photo of him and Harry. By this time Harry was already in the coma he would never wake up from. I read his story and made sure that I donated, I also shared some tweets in my own twitter stream, sent his Mum some messages of support and checked his twitter account daily to see how he was. His Mum kept his twitter stream updated…
When it became apparent that he was going home to die:
Saddest day of our lives. 8.30am tomorrow we take Harry home to spend his last hours/days with us. So so sad my boys journey is ending x
Of course this day was inevitable, he was never going to survive this tumour – but he chose twitter to keep us all updated with his various activities, most now lost to the twitter mists of time. If you look at the photos he tweeted, then you get the story.
On the Friday night, knowing that he was home and Georgie, his Mum, was sleeping with him after an evening of watching childrens’ films Harry loved with all of his family – I could not sleep. And I found lots of other people could not sleep either, similarly keeping silent vigil with his Mum and him. Georgie broadcast this message:
Thanks for all messages of support. Harry all comfy. Settling down through the night and going to snuggle in with my h all night long x
Harry survived that first night and Georgie gave us a few updates during the day, but then the message came through twitter:
My brave inspirational boy fell asleep in my arms at 11.10pm. Suddenly our world is a very dark and cruel place
And we all fell into the inevitable cycle of grief for this boy, alongside this family many of us have never met.
I have lost a few people to cancer, too many families close to me over my 40 years have suffered either as children, parents or friends, as well as my own. Grief starts at diagnosis and the journey is a relentless march. Harry chose twitter to share his story and to do what he could to keep his own and his families’ spirits up.
One thing I do know, as many of you too will be aware, is that the patient – the person with the diagnosis – has to battle with the responsibility of knowing that they will inevitably cause huge pain by dying; so not only do they have to cope with their own mortality but also the responsibility of those they love and leave behind.
Harry chose to extend his own family through twitter, to spread the pain of his inevitable death and huge pain for his family and close friends. He did this to raise awareness of people in similar crisis, but I believe he also did this to build the staple support for his Mum, his Dad, his brother and his sister – so that his ‘twitfam’, as he liked to refer to everyone who followed him, would be united in supporting his family when his death came and inevitably caused an avalanche of unhappiness that just can’t be tweeted.
I grieve and weep for Harry, a truly kind and brave child, that I did not meet but know so well. But I know that he wanted his twitter family to support his real family when he died. He worked so hard to make sure we knew him, knew his life and his family. So, I think that we should now do what I imagine he wanted:
Wanted to leave u wiv this guys http://twitpic.com/63su7r getting ready to go diwn. Check out my gown . Tweet u soon
I chose to post this, but I would ask that you don’t comment here, I am sure you understand that they are not appropriate on such a blog post.