A Tribute to Jill Lewis

Posted By Clive Lewis

My Mum, Jill Lewis, had breast cancer and a mastectomy to deal with back in the 1970s when she was in her thirties .

She was ill for a long while and then, to the outward world, and especially to her children, she appeared to be well again.

As young teenagers we never talked about it very much; cancer was a word rarely uttered. Mum got on with life and looked after herself and her family, and my Dad looked after her.

We respected the fact that she didn't want to talk about it, in fact as we were growing up, not talking about it was probably easier, at least for us.

But of course that wasn't the whole story. I'm sure that in many ways she wasn't fine. The physical scars weren't visible to us, but it didn't mean they didn't exist, and other scars were there too.

Slowly things changed. Friends and acquaintances got cancer, and Mum reached out to them - she shared her story and how she coped. We started to talk about cancer openly when we visited (we children had all left home by then).

Although the disease robbed Mum (and Dad) of their religious faith, they found spiritual comfort by opening themselves up to other ways of looking at the world, helped without doubt by my amazing sister.

Three years ago the love of Mum's life, my Father, died - almost inevitably from a cancer - Multiple Myeloma.

As the cancer grew in Dad, so did the strength in Mum. As I watched the way Mum suffered during Dad's illness and death, and I saw how she handled her emotions with a mix of strength, honesty and determination, I began to understand the impact cancer had on her when she was in the prime of her life. And I love and admire her for it.