Teenager exposes mum's lie that she had cancer

Teenager exposes mum's lie that she had cancer
Published: 2014 December 03 13:34:09 (9870 Views)
A teenager has exposed her mother for lying about having cancer.

Cheryl Smith had never got on well with her mum Claire but all that changed when the mother-of-four said she had cancer.

"When she told us she had cancer the way I felt about her changed instantly," says Cheryl, then just 16.

"I'd seen other family members die of it and I realised I might not have her around for that much longer."

She became a doting daughter, consoling her mum when chemotherapy made her hair fall out and caring for her brother and sisters, then aged 11, five and one.

But doubts began to creep into Cheryl's mind.

Why did her mum have hospital appointments in the middle of the night?

Why did she have to keep shaving her hair when chemotherapy usually makes it fall out at the roots?

Eventually she turned detective and discovered a web of lies she still struggles to comprehend.

Her mum did not have cancer. If fact, she had made up the whole thing to disguise an affair.

Incredibly, 37-year-old Claire would go on to tell the whole family, including her younger children, that her diagnosis was terminal.

But when Cheryl tried to tell her dad the truth he refused to believe it and got angry with her instead.

It was only when a family friend came up with more evidence that Claire's pack of lies came tumbling down.

The charade began when Claire dropped the bombshell of her supposed diagnosis near the end of 2011 at the family home near Boston, Lincs.

"She had always done very little around the house," says Cheryl.

"Now she'd sit on the sofa asking for things to be done and if anyone questioned her, she'd say, 'But I've got cancer.' It seemed odd.

"The first thing that made me suspect it was all fake was the collapsing. She'd collapse within 10 minutes of us coming home from school, like clockwork.

"But once, I went upstairs without her hearing and saw her on the bed getting braced to throw herself off.

"When she saw me she quickly sat back in bed and pretended she was picking ­something off the floor."

"I didn't doubt her when she shaved off her hair. I know some people prefer that rather than have it all fall out.

But it grew back stubbly and I knew chemotherapy made hair fall out at the root."

When Cheryl's dad Chris, 45, a long-distance lorry driver, dutifully dropped Cheryl off at Lincoln Hospital for her appointments, she would never let anyone go in with her.

"He'd take the kids to town and pick her up later," says Cheryl.

"She always had a plaster on her arm when they got home. But one night I asked her what happened during her chemotherapy and when she told me about it, then it hit me.

"Her description mirrored a soap opera storyline from just a few weeks before. It was exactly the same, down to the tiny details.

"And sometimes her chemotherapy appointments would be at odd hours, sometimes at midnight. It just didn't add up.

"Then she'd go from being really ill to jumping on the trampoline 10 minutes later."

By the time Claire told the family she was in remission in early 2012, Cheryl was already convinced the illness was a fiction.

And a few months later, when Claire claimed it had returned and was now terminal, Cheryl didn't believe a word.

In June 2012, Cheryl borrowed Claire's laptop and a Facebook message popped up from an unknown man.

"It was really sexual and they'd been messaging for months. It was horrible to read about them sleeping together. Even though I knew it would break his heart I had to tell Dad as soon as he got home.

"I expected him to be angry with Mum. But instead he was angry with me. He snapped, reminding me Mum had terminal cancer."

At her wit's end, Cheryl left home and moved in with her boyfriend. That's when she turned detective.

"I called the hospital asking for her but they had no record of a patient with her name. Nor did they know the name of the nurse Mum always talked about.

"I called every other hospital in the area too but there was no knowledge of Mum. But Dad refused to believe me."

In October 2012 a family friend voiced his suspicions too.

Cheryl explains: "His partner had cancer and nothing added up about how Mum was acting. So one night when she said she was going for chemo he followed her and saw her go into a man's house.

"He rang my dad and told him and that's what made Dad realise it was true."

That evening Chris confronted Claire in the garden at home. "They had a massive row," says Cheryl.

"But she admitted it in the end. She moved out that night and stayed with a friend.

"She'd been having an affair and this was the twisted lie she told to cover her tracks. Dad called me and told me he realised I'd been telling the truth.

"He struggled to come to terms with it for a long time. Mum lost custody of the children and isn't allowed much contact with them, just a card or letter every two months."

Her dad had to quit his job to care for the younger children and in June this year Cheryl, now 19, moved back home to help him.

"I find it hard because it brings back a lot of memories of living at home and the only memories I have are bad ones," she says.

"My relationship with my dad was strained for a long time but it's much better now.

"The children cling to us because they don't understand why Mum did what she did. My little brother vividly remembers the day she broke it to him.

"He was in floods of tears, as any child would be if they thought their mum was about to die.

"I still have to pinch myself sometimes to believe what she did. I still don't understand why she did it. If she was unhappy with Dad, why not just leave?

"Why put our family through that? For that, I'll never forgive her."

Source - Mirror

Tags: cancer, lie, expose,

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