Given the weekend that I've just had, this weeks The Gallery theme of A Family Story really couldn't be more fitting.
My mum has been ill for a long time. She has emphysema or COPD. In 1996 she had revolutionary lung reduction surgery to give her another five years. In December 2011 she had a letter from her consultant congratulating her on making it to 15 years post op.
She's a fighter, just plain stubborn, a bit of both.
Every winter is a struggle.
She rattles due to the cocktail of drugs that keep her going, she's ballooned due to the steroids, she needs additional oxygen round the clock and that's when she's well.
When a bug hits she is back to hospital. In and out for weeks on end sometimes. Chest infections, pneumonia, heart attacks, depression. I've lost count of the mad dash 270 mile journeys I've made to Cornwall to see her.
For a whole bundle of reasons we aren't a close family but after getting a call from my dad on Friday evening followed by a call with her nurse the next morning I knew that I had to get to her - and fast. They said this was it, that she wouldn't last the weekend.
It was a sad couple of days, lifted only by the fact that I had Ethan and my big brothers by my side.
Saying goodbye to her was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. She couldn't really speak and the look in her eyes said that we would never see each other again. Ethan saw it too and when I close my eyes I can see it. It makes me feel completely empty inside.
It's Wednesday today and she's still with us, fighting, stubborn.
So to my picture, this is the only photograph I have of mum and me. It was taken in Cornwall when I was 12 before the emphysema took hold.
I dedicate this post to my mum and I pray that she keeps on fighting because I need her, I know that now.
Don't forget to check out the other posts in this week's The Gallery.