I came home from school and all my sisters were there. That never happens, only on a Friday. My sister asked me to go into the sitting room with my nieces and nephews. Someone was crying in the kitchen but I wasn’t allowed in. Ages later my sisters went home and my mam called me in for dinner. She looked really sad and I just knew she was crying.
I sat at the table and didn’t say anything. She put dinner on a plate for Da and put it on the pot to keep warm and she took some up for us and she sat down beside me. She never sits down for dinner except on Sunday and Christmas Day. I was eating my dinner but she wasn’t eating hers. She kept taking a big breath and then not saying anything. I finished my dinner and leaned against her. I knew something bad was happening.
Lizzy love, I have to go away for a while.
I tried to swallow but I couldn’t. My eyes started to sting.
I have to go into hospital for a few weeks.
For a few WEEKS? Are you getting a baby?
Mam laughed even though she was crying.
No love, no.
A while ago I had an X-ray. Do you know what that means?
When they take a picture of your insides?
Yes Lizzy. You’re such a clever girl.
I always feel happy when she says that, but not today.
Well, they saw something on the picture that they don’t like and if they don’t take it away I’ll get very sick. So I have to have an operation. It will take me a long time to get better after it so I have to stay in hospital. You’re going to stay with Ann. You’ll enjoy that won’t you, she said you can be in charge of the girls for the whole time.
I tried not to cry, I really did but I couldn’t stop.
Will I be able to come and see you mammy?
You might, I’ll ask but I don’t know.
Will you be ok?
She gave me a big hug. Oh of course I will love, everything is going to be grand. I promise you. Say lots of prayers to Holy God and Our Lady for me and when I come home you’ll help me won’t you?
I will mammy. I’ll pray every morning and every night and I promise I’ll help you and I’ll be good and I won’t let Jim make any noise or anything.
You see? Everything will be great cos you’ll be looking after me when I get home.
She took our plates and scraped her dinner in to the bin and started to wash the dishes. I started to think in my head all the things I could do to make her better.
If this is your first visit to Lizzy’s story and you want to know who she is and where she came from you can read A is for About a girl…