I wasn't able to sleep the night before. Probably none of us were.
Faithful Hope, my sister, accompanied her. The appointment was at eleven. They made them wait a long time, though not as long as the interminable six months Esme spent having chemo and the rest of us spent watching.
I took Anna-mouse to music class. A bright, chirpy autumnal morning. The end of a week. And a chapter, as it turns out.
I was preparing lunch when Hope rang, as promised. Pizza fingers under the grill, half the fridge scattered over the counter, a bit of rough chopping going on and several half-touched drinks in the sink. Signs of a distracted morning.
"Hi Liv, you can stop stressing now," said my sister, a smile in her voice.
And with that, and the short, happy conversation which ensued, I learnt that my mother is cancer-free. That the scan result was fine. That she does not have to visit a hospital for three months. That the PICC line was being removed as we spoke (no more showers with the arm in a plastic bag!) and that the many and wretched signs of depletion she has recently been showing are due to the extreme toxicity of the drugs, not a return of the illness they were fighting.
I put down the 'phone. Forget Anna-m's lunch. Leap around. Feel the weight of ten heavy months begin to lift.
I pick up the 'phone. Call the Bim. Go into the garden to feel the briskness of the air, and let the October sunshine warm me as I talk. I note the neglected grass, the overgrown borders, the pots I planted with so much care earlier in the year parched and deadened before their time: something had to give this year, and rather than it be any one of the dear persons in my care, it was the garden I chose to let go.
Just had to tell you, I say. It's my mum. She's fine. The scan's clear. Isn't that fantastic?
And then I burst into tears.