25th Aug2005

Reflections on Mo Mowlam

by Dutchcloggie

The death last week of the former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam has sent a little ripple of shock through Britain. Mo Mowlam was the first person ever who dared to go into the Maze Prison and face Loyalist terrorists directly. Legend has it that she walked in, took off her shoes and her wig (she was having treatment for a brain tumour) and said words to the extend of: So, now that I am showing you my true self, you show me your true self.

The result was the Good Friday Agreement that brought, for a while at least, peace in Northern Ireland.

Mo was sidelined by Tony Blair when she deemed unfit for work due to her brain tumour. This has always hurt Mo as she considers it to be malicious lies to help Peter Mandelson get a new job.

Mo Mowlam died after hitting her head when she fell last month. She was in coma for 4 weeks and eventually her husband told the doctors to end food and water so that Mo would die, as she had stipulated in her Living Will. She was only 55.

JD and I have a Living Will. We made one just before JD went into hospital to have her brain tumour removed. Last week we went back to the doctor for the result of the first scan since the surgery. There was still a clear white blob in the brain as they had already said they could not remove the entire tumour. We knew this when we went to the appointment but to actually see on the scans that the thing you are fighting is still there, after the surgery, is somehow disheartening. JD was depressed for the rest of the weekend. Understandably so as things are going really well and are almost back to normal. SO we had sort of ‘forgotten’ about the whole thing, as much as possible anyway.

She said she did not want to die young and I told her that she may live to be 100 with the tumour. Or, if she is lucky, it may never come back again.

And then Mo Mowlam died. Mo Mowlam who was told she may well live to be 100 with her tumour. Of course we do not know if her tumour was malignant or not. Mo had received chemo therapy and radiation therapy. Both of these things are not on the books for JD as yet.

It turns out that the radiation therapy had damaged Mo’s sense of balance and that she was suffering from the onset of dementia.

JD has been reading up on Mo Mowlam all weekend as if to see how big her chances are to end up like Mo Mowlam, dead at 55. I can only try to listen to her and hold her. I can not promise things will be OK . I can not imagine what it is like to have a tumour in your head and the only way you will find out if it is going to kill you is when you get headaches and other symptoms. And there maybe nothing we can do about it but wait until it either does or does not kill her. I think JD can be forgiven for thinking like that when you hear about someone dying of a brain tumour.

I think it would be good for JD to talk to other people who have suffered the same thing. The insecurity must be the worst thing. You just don’t know what is going to happen. It is all so fucking random.

And I feel so bloody helpless.

On a nice note: JD and I are going to Holland in October for a weekend. My dad told me yesterday he cannot wait for October to come so that we can all cuddle again. Sweet man. The last time he saw JD was when she was still in hospital just after her surgery. I like the fact that my folks really seem to love JD. They are planning a weekend away for their 35th wedding anniversary next year and they asked if JD and I would be able to come. I said they should just book it as we are not sure if JD will be able to make it, with her doing her Masters Degree and all. My dad said: I am not doing it if she is not here. I want to do it with the whole family (i.e. mum, dad, sister, brother in law and JD and me.). I was touched by that. I know they have liked most of my previous girlfriends but they really seem to love JD. Family support is nice.