My stepmom is one amazing woman who has overcome all kinds of adversity from childhood onward and has never become bitter or resentful. She’s also one of the most loving people I know and more my mom than my actual birth mother.

Treatment has been ongoing for almost a year now and apart from the first chemo protocol, the subsequent two failed. In September, she’s starting the fourth one and it takes unspeakable amounts of courage and mental strength to keep going.

And love.

So much love.

Going to hospital is always heartbreaking — while there’s never fewer than two people with my stepmom, there are patients far more diminished than she is who have nobody, no one to hold their hand. They get dropped off by ambulance, they get picked up by ambulance, they sit through chemo alone. Thankfully the day oncology ward is staffed with lovely, thoughtful staff and there are also volunteers who do the rounds and try to brighten everyone’s day but I can’t imagine what it feels like to face cancer on one’s own.

As for love, you don’t find it, Frederick Bott, it finds you instead, often when you least expect it.

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