Piecing life back together during a pandemic

Published on 13th November 2020

Last year Chanel’s mum, Debbie, died of cancer on Christmas Day.

Debbie Platts was just 43 years old, a nurse and a mum-of-three when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018.

Almost twelve months on, Chanel, Debbie’s eldest daughter, is starting to piece her life back together during the pandemic and, with her family, create a legacy her mum would be proud of.

“I was best friends with my mum. We were inseparable. I’d go on holiday and then by the second day I’d ring her and say ‘book me a ticket home. I miss you’. So when she got ill it was the worst thing ever,” says Chanel.

For 18 months Chanel stifled her own feelings, caring for her mum and supporting her practically and emotionally. When Debbie died the damn burst and Chanel realised that without her mum she had lost her identity.

“It was not piecing my life back together so much as creating it again from the start. I had to find out who I was, what I wanted without mum in my life.

“I had a tracksuit that was tie dye and I didn’t know how to wash it and I had a massive breakdown about how to wash it. Do I put it on at 30 degrees or 40? Mum would know! I catch myself thinking I’ll have to ask mum. Then my heart breaks all over again.

COVID-19 has made the family’s grief all the harder.

“As time has gone on I found I needed my friends and my sisters around me so being apart has been hard. I’ve felt really, really low at times and I needed support.

This year Chanel is supporting LOROS Hospice’s Winter Warmer raffle, something which Chanel feels her mum would be proud of.

“Supporting LOROS, who were so good to mum in the weeks before she died as well as to us, really helps me. By raising awareness of their great work I get to talk about mum and how amazing she was.

Debbie wrote a popular blog, the Nurse with the Big (C)urse, which she used to tell her cancer story with positivity and humour.

“She helped people through her blog and I wanted to continue her good work, her positivity. I think that’s her legacy and I’ll try to carry that on as much as I can.”

To support the LOROS Winter Warmer Raffle visit loros.co.uk/raffle

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