THE BLOG
21/09/2018 08:57 BST | Updated 21/09/2018 10:57 BST

This Is What It's Like To Lose Your Baby Sister To Cancer

You hear about these things happening to other people, but you never think it’s going to happen to you. It’s like someone’s physically snapped a piece of your heart off

Lyons family
HuffPost UK

I remember exactly where I was when I found out about Eve’s diagnosis.

Both me and my sister, Beth, are actors and were mostly away at drama school when we found out she had Ewing’s Sarcoma - a type of bone cancer. Beth happened to be at home with Eve when she started to feel pain in her hip but I was away when I heard the news. After my dad called, he came to pick me up and take me home straight away.

It was when I got back to the house that the emotions hit. I went into Eve’s room, and so many memories flooded back of us growing up together.

Beth explains it like it was one of those moments when time kind of stands still for a second. Like a scene from a film. You hear about these things happening to other people, but you never think it’s going to happen to you.

The storm of emotions after the news of Eve’s diagnosis was really hard to comprehend. It was a big mixture between complete and utter heartbreak and not understanding how to get my head round it. I was also angry, because I knew what a great sister I had, and I was left asking why this had to happen to our family.

Eve’s treatment started straight away, joining a clinical trial and being put on chemotherapy. At the time, Beth and I were living together in Guildford and so were away from their family home during Eve’s treatment. We were both so glad we had each other, which made things a little easier.

Being away did make the situation more difficult. But when Beth and I were home we’d try and lighten the load for Mum and Dad and share it between us. They could leave Eve with us because they knew we could do the extra things like taking her to the toilet in the middle of the night and making sure she didn’t cry.

Eve always tried to put a positive spin on what was going on. She even decided to call her tumour ‘Monty’, because she thought ‘tumour’ was a scary word and wanted to make it happy instead.

In her head it was clear that there was no way this thing was going to beat her. We tried to stay positive, but I think in the back of my head there was always the thought that she might not make it.

About a year into her treatment, we were told the tumour in her hip had gone. Initially this was good news, but it turned out that cancer cells had been growing in her head too, and lumps started to form there shortly after – that’s when things started to get really hard.

At this point, we knew we probably didn’t have much time left with Eve, so Beth came home early from college to help our parents.

It was very early that morning and my Mum woke Beth up because she knew Eve wasn’t right. They phoned me and contacted all the family to tell us to come over.

When I arrived, Eve wasn’t able to speak, but Mum asked if I wanted to spend some time with her. I think I had 10 minutes with her, and she couldn’t talk back, but I knew she could hear me. It was like she waited for me – I couldn’t believe I managed to get there in time.

Everyone came back into the room and two minutes later she took a breath and her face lit up with this beautiful smile. And then she took one more breath and that was it and she was gone.

It was such a surreal moment. And at that point, I remember people telling me they had been heartbroken, but I don’t think you can fully explain. It’s like someone’s physically snapped a piece of your heart off that you’re never going to be able to add back on.

It’s taken a long time for us both to come to terms with the loss of Eve. 

I know Beth went to some bereavement counselling sessions, which she says really helped, as she was able to talk things out. It can help you to feel more in control and know it’s okay to have those feelings and not always be yourself.

I try to use Eve in all aspects of my life. If I go to an audition, I’ll talk to her before and say: ‘Hey mate, do you think I’m doing the right thing?’ and just chat.

There is a part of me still though that thinks I’m going to go back home and she’s going to be sitting there on the couch and I’ll hear her voice or see her face again.

Time has definitely helped us both get to a point where we’re now ready to look to the future, inspired by our happy little sister, Eve.

I actually took some time out of the industry for a bit. Just because I didn’t have the right head to go into an audition. But recently, I kind of think I’ve had a kick up the backside by Eve, just saying ’go and do what you want to do.

I try to think what she’d do in different situations, and I think she wouldn’t just sit there and do nothing. She’d get on with it.

It’s inspired me to write down a list of things that I want to achieve, with a year and date on them, and that should help motivate me to achieve those goals.

Meg and Beth’s younger sister Eve was diagnosed in July 2015. She sadly died on the 24th June 2017, aged only 11. Her sisters are supporting Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, in partnership with TK Maxx, during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September. 

Find out more about children’s cancers and how to support Cancer Research UK to help find new, better and kinder treatments for children and young people with cancer at cruk.org/kidsandteens

How It Feels is a weekly blogs series which aims to shine a light on people’s stories, covering subjects where voices are rarely heard. If you want to get involved, please email ukblogteam@huffpost.com