The 20th of June

When I was 14, my mum died. On the 20th of June.

There are a lot of emotions surrounding this month, and this date, in particular.

My birthday, as well as my dad’s birthday, are in June. But I don’t get to celebrate mine.

I’ve had a few periods in my life where things have changed and I’ve had to adapt, like moving from England to India as a kid, but losing my mum was the defining moment.

I was probably about seven years old when she got breast cancer. They treated it in the UK, until we moved.

My parents were both missionaries, and they felt that God was telling them that they needed to go to India. So, we went out there when I was 10.

Two years later, we came back so that she could get more treatment. When that was done, we just went back. It kind of seemed like that was just how things would be going forward.

But two years later, she passed away.

Memory is an incredibly fickle thing, and you shouldn’t remember things that vividly, so it’s strange how vividly I remember it.

It’s tough just thinking about it. There’s a weird regret that I have about it because I wasn’t with her when she died.

On my 14th birthday, I went back to England to go to a theme park. I got a call on the 20th; my dad was crying on the other side of the phone.

Since then, it’s been a slow progression. You go through the stages of grief and rotate around them. This year has been especially tough.

I don’t think I am depressed. But I am definitely sadder and more emotional about my mum’s passing than I have been in the past.

It’s the 14th anniversary of her passing, and I’m hoping that she’s proud of what I’m doing. That’s the big thing.

Would she be proud of me now that I am a caster, rather than a doctor? Would she care about me having made my transition?

I always wanted to be a doctor, since I was five years old. Part of that was from seeing my mother in hospitals, seeing the people that cared for her, and how much she cared about them.

But over time, I had to move away from being a doctor. It was a decision I made rapidly. I needed to get out of a situation where I wasn’t looking after myself physically and emotionally

I will never know how she would feel about that change. I will make my peace with never being able to find out.

I know she would love me; your parents always love you. But I’ve changed so much from the person she knew me as, and it’s hard to remind myself that she still would love me and be proud of me.

I’ve been thinking about it more this year because a lot of things have happened. I broke up with my long-time girlfriend, and my dad has been sick.

My dad found out that he only had one working kidney, and that he had a kidney infection. He’s had some surgeries, only to find out that he has some bowel issues.

I’ve realized how mortal he is.

You never really think about how both your parents will be gone one day.

At 28 years old, after studying medicine and upturning my life so many times, it strikes me hard that there will be a time, probably soon, that I will be the oldest male Chamberlain, and the leader of my family.

It’s really strange to say that. It’s a weight, a responsibility.

As much as I love my job, enjoy it, care about it and am incredibly passionate about it and wouldn’t leave, I just wonder: is that the best person that I can be?

I moved away from being wholeheartedly into the Christian faith – the active pursuit of going to Church and being religious aren’t things I do that much anymore.

My parents used to be very proud of that part of me, so that question comes from there as well.

But life happens, and circumstances change.

When looking at decisions in general, you can be introspective, and you should look back at them and work out why, how and when you made them.

I don’t regret the decisions I’ve made in mine. I wouldn’t be the same person that I am right now.

As much as I ask whether my mom or dad would be proud, it isn’t about changing something to make that happen. But it hangs on my heart.

I’ll have more moments like this in my life than I can think of right now.

One of the biggest things that struck me recently was something I read on Reddit of all places about people quitting smoking, what made them quit?

There, someone spoke about a relative telling them: “there are people you haven’t met yet in the world who will need you.”

That resonated with me. 

I cannot collapse right now because there are people who I haven’t met yet who will need me at some point.

Whether that’s a wife, children, or a puppy, it doesn’t matter. I need to be strong enough to look after them.

We all have to face something in the end, and if there are people out there facing the same, I hope that I can help them through talking about it this openly.

We’re all here for each other, and there’s no point in isolating ourselves. I’ve done that, and I still do at times, and we all will because sometimes things are too raw or too difficult for us to deal with.

Eventually, you have to reach out, and someone will be out there to grab you.

Images: Riot Games and Aaron “Medic” Chamberlain

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