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The family Christmas day lunch at McEntee Road was a very special event for me this year. Whether I make it to Christmas 2016 or not, this will be the last Christmas day lunch at home. My third son is doing major extensions to his little house and plans to host next year’s Christmas at his place just round the corner. And I hope to be there.

My children and ex-husband organised all the food and what a magnificent feast it was. I was starting to feel better post-chemo earlier this time round which meant I was able to eat a reasonable meal. The grandchildren opened their presents, bounced on the trampoline and finally got out the water guns for what was this year a very restrained water fight. Christmas day water fights are a tradition at McEntee Road and usually end with the children and young adults absolutely drenched due to the fact that some of the adults get carried away and end up racing around with buckets of water!

My new wig got favourable comments, the sun eventually came to the party and we sat out on the deck enjoying its warmth and sight of the grandchildren playing their games on the trampoline. Later in the afternoon my nephew and niece and family popped in for a visit.

It was however tinged with that bitter sweet feeling, as I wondered if my youngest grandchildren will remember me and Christmas days at Grandma’s house. Missing out on seeing them grow up is my biggest regret around what is happening to me.

And I still can’t look at myself in the mirror without my wig on.

Tomorrow I am off to Pukehina beach for a week.