I am in the Breast Care waiting room losing a fight with fear. I am waiting for the results of the biopsy I had the previous day. Tim is with me but we sit without talking. People are coming and going. I glimpse the surgeon and her nurse in the outer office. I cannot read their faces. Is it good? Is it bad? We follow them into a cubicle and sit down. I am not comfortable and I sit on the edge of the chair. Tim puts his hand on mine. It feels clammy. Words begin to hit my ears - tumour, cancer, mastectomy. I hear Tim’s voice but I don’t know what he is saying. I am already in another place that’s so familiar it frightens me. I have been here before. When Jan got cancer the whole family got cancer. We carried it around with us. There was no choice. I have no choice. I am glad Tim is here to ask the hard questions for me. I hear someone saying ‘thank you’ then realise it is me. Thank you for what? Finally, I stand up and move one step at a time. This is how it will be for the following months. I will myself to be positive. I feel Tim’s arm around me and I feel loved.

We go in search of good coffee and something that looks like normality. I wonder what that looks like? Is it seeing Pete sitting in the café over the road and him being the first to hear my news? We haven’t spoken for over twelve years but it seems natural he is the first to know. He is shocked and immediately offers his help in anyway that will be useful. He is in it too now. It gathers us all in its clutches and brings us closer together.

It started with a letter in the mail – a fixed appointment for a routine check up and mammogram. Two weeks later Ib Glover would find herself in bed, unable to sleep, writing in her diary. She wrote. “He has enough to worry about without me adding to it. His aunt, my sister, she has been gone for thirteen years. Treatments have improved since then. What happened to her might not happen to me. I wonder if I should tell Tim they found a lump in my breast.” On another night she writes, “I decide I would want to know if I was the son. I tell him. It is the most difficult thing I have ever done. He sits opposite me on the couch. He is calm – on the outside, anyway. He is practical. He is glad I have told him and of course he will come to all of my appointments. What was I so worried about?”

Conceived as a book, These are the Days is a story conveyed with photographs and text about a family dealing with grief and illness. The death of Ib Glover’s sister in 1993 prompts the breakdown of her marriage to Peter Veling. Years later their only child, Tim Veling, recounts a remembered series of events that lead to his parents separation and Peter muses about how things could have turned out differently. In 2006 Ib Glover was diagnosed with breast cancer. Tim held her hand while she listened to the doctors revelation. After muttering polite thanks to the surgeon they go in search of a coffee, “some kind of normality,” and find themselves running into Peter at a suburban café. The two parents have not spoken in twelve years but fate has it he is the first person to share the news. What follows is the story of a family regaining strength by dealing with a grief that once pushed them apart.