My mother is dying. And so I have return to the family tree. She has lymphoma on her brain and after years of chemo treatment her body is tired and frail and can't take any more. It is strange and surreal because she is just the same as when I last saw her a few months ago. We joke because she doesn't seem like she's dying. We shock her siblings with our frivolity. We like to laugh but perhaps it is mild hysteria. She is the eldest of her six siblings and they all love her dearly. The youngest rides his bike here every morning on the way to work and sits on the end of her bed in his fluro biker shorts looking forlorn.Then late in the afternoon her oldest brother and his wife come for cocktail hour with laughter and idle chatter. They bring wine and cheese and home-made hummus. Our days are filled with a constant flow of visitors, more family and friends and nurses with comfort and care. My sister and I have found our place in the kitchen where we cook and bake treats for my mum. Curries and ice-cream and homemade bread. We go to the shops and buy her liquorice all-sorts, her favourite indulgence. When she's feeling calm she cuddles in bed with my dad watching tv or reading stories with my little boys. But then she gets flustered and jumps out of bed to make sure the house is in order, the garden has been watered, the washing is off the line. She is frank and honest and brave and readier than any of us for what is to come. It feels safe in the family tree - my mum, my dad, my husband and two little boys and my very best-est friend, my sister. It is a little squashed but we are close and needing closeness.We are waiting for the unknown and praying that it never comes.