Skip to content
July 3, 2014 / Kate Gross

Love Locks

My Best Women and I stand on a wet bridge in Paris, under the shadow of a damply dripping Notre Dame, late last Saturday night. We have 18 years of friendship behind us, topped off by 36 glorious hours in mesmerising Paris. 18 years and 36 hours of ballast against those insistent hoof beats of time.

The bridge we stand on is glittering with padlocks. Each lock is inscribed with a set of lovers’ initials; locked on to the side of the bridge, keys thrown deep into the Seine below. It is the most romantic and beautiful thing I have seen in a long time; thousands of people trying to lock love into the here and now with hope and metal hardware. I know that these love-locks are causing the eminence grises of Parisian local government trouble as they threaten to collapse ancient bridges (though I don’t think we ladies helped with our combined weight after a nose-to-tail eating experience on the Left Bank). But I also know how the lovers feel. Had it not been the dead of night, and raining heavily, I too would have searched out the overpriced lock-vendor and bought hundreds of the bloody things. A lock for Billy and our 2×2 nuclear family. A lock for my parents, my sister and I, the Gross family. A lock for the Best Women, my coven. A lock for the Irish Muntir. Luckily for the Pont des Arts, the lock vendors were avoiding the deluge at home. Besides, I don’t need to shore up my many loves with a padlock; they know, and I know, that we are beyond that.

Anyway. I owe you an update on the Nuisance and its’ attendant winged chariot. I have had all my most recent scan results. Mixed news; the bloody Nuisance is growing in my bones (pelvis), but just about holding stable in its other resting places (colon, liver). It’s not spread anywhere else yet. So despite my ever rising tumour markers, Uber-Doc at the Marsden thinks there is a little bit more juice left in this chemo before the cancer becomes completely resistant to it. Which is good because it’s (a) tolerable (though my fat face, thin hair and weight gain say otherwise). With this chemo, I can usually read a bed-time story 12 out of 14 nights), and (b) this chemo is the last approved line of defence against the Nuisance. When it’s done, the next and final stop is Phase 1 clinical trials, which may well prove as useful in Nuisance halting as a bunch of the Prince of Wales’ homeopathic remedies. There will be no guarantees, and far too much uncertainty for my ordered little brain in this period to come.


The thing I am struggling with, still, is time. There probably isn’t much more than a few months left in the chemo. The winged chariot is speeding up, and I won’t now have the blissful treatment-free interlude I’d hoped for in the Autumn. Chemo, for as long as we can spin it out, then lab-rat territory.


With this worse-than-I’d-longed-for, better-than-I’d-feared set of results comes a new set of plans for the next few months. I am used, now, to my plans getting knocked off course. But really, this summer the only important thing is the Knights; and Billy and I making the most of their first long summer holiday. It may be our last together. We have some great plans (and I have a book to finish). So, dear ones, you may find the inner circle closing in on itself for the next wee while. That doesn’t, of course, mean we don’t love and welcome your support (and especially your news, letters, emails and the glorious packages). But my energies will be focused on the inner circle.


So, until I see you next: remember that love locks us all together. No need for a trip to B&Q for a padlock to weigh down the Bridge of Sighs, Westminster Bridge, or the Bristol Suspension Bridge. Just tell those to whom you are locked that you carry their hearts, and they carry yours, forever.











Leave a Comment
  1. zoestellacurrie / Jul 3 2014 8:04 am

    Darling doppelgänger. Lock down, love hard and hold tight. I’m right behind you. Xx

  2. Sue / Jul 4 2014 1:31 pm

    I’ve loved reading your articles over the past few months and wish you and your family a good, fun and peaceful summer.

  3. Mari McEleney / Jul 4 2014 1:56 pm

    Most important rules of a summer with children is lots of outdoor laughter and ice-cream. ..enjoy yours…thanks for the blog that continuously reminds me of how fortunate I am xx

  4. misslcook / Jul 7 2014 10:42 pm

    I read your article in vogue today (I’m having a catch up on reading lol) and I have never been so moved by one ladies account on life and how what didn’t used to matter now matters, stay strong and never stop writing xox

  5. Gill Cartwright / Jul 8 2014 11:52 am

    Thank you for your amazing blog – I fell upon it by accident, am inspired and moved by your courage and your loving family. Enjoy the summer with your lovely husband and twins

    • Ruth Jordan / Jul 24 2014 9:30 am

      Beautiful and inspiring. Xxx

  6. ailsatims / Jul 16 2014 1:35 pm


    I found your site and think we may have something in common, your situation is not an easy one (and I can’t help there!), and you write beautifully. But I introduce myself because, following popular interest, I am developing a poetical cancer platform -we need more to laugh at and a soapbox and megaphone just don’t have the range these days! I am raising awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support, looking for an outcome that helps those diagnosed with cancer to enjoy life, and sharing the power of empathy in verse…

    You can see my work and can find my campaign at,

    I wanted to do this because my mother had a sarcoma when I was a child, since when both she and I have had breast cancer, meanwhile my brother is in remission from leukemia. My uncle and father-in-law died of prostate cancer and my aunt has lung cancer. Yet I feel blessed, I have met and been supported by such wonderful people, I have found a way to make others smile, I have faced the world pickled, burnt and bald, and I have discovered a promotional need for dignity.

    As well as working for Macmillan, I am part of an online support group for people struggling with the emotional effects of cancer and they inspired me to share my poems, because I have often written them to let them know I care. I believe that communication can set us free, if we can believe in ourselves!

    Yet I can’t do it alone, if this is going to work I need to get it further, so I have set up a Facebook page, which will keep people informed about the blog and encourage them to interact. So here is a simple ask, are you also a Facebooker? If so, could you be lovely and,

    Click onto my page at,

    Like it and share it!

    Thank you -I am also raising funds in the hope that those who are far more wise can help those who are far more deserving, just a little more…

    I apologise if this has been an unwanted intrusion and I wish you the best of luck with your blog
    -we are all Macmillan!


  7. Rethink Street / Aug 1 2014 1:23 pm

    Hi Kate, I’ve been reading your story and just wanted to say hi and thanks for writing it. Keep up the fight. Alison x

  8. L / Aug 6 2014 12:32 am

    You are an incredible woman. Thank you for sharing all of this. Every time I read your blog I come away with more appreciation for the immediate. Thank you for that, too.
    Love, and luck, secular prayers and scented candles-

  9. Scarlett / Aug 19 2014 9:04 pm

    Your writing is at the same time inspiring, sad and full of hope. I always check your blog for some news from you and your family, always hoping that I’ll find a note saying you enjoyed a trip or a vacation and that your health is maintaining in an as-is state for you to continue writing and inspiring us.
    From California, sending you all my positive thoughts and waiting to read you soon.

  10. Tony Pike / Dec 11 2014 1:54 pm

    Oh Kate dear Kate
    We have never met but you are a beautiful lady, an exhilarating writer, a brave and brilliant person, a loving wife and a proud mother of twin boys
    How desperately sad that you will soon have to say “au revoir” to all your friends and family
    Just over a year ago I lost my soulmate and the love of my life – luckily we had been married for 62 years before we had to say “au revoir” – but she will always remain in my heart – as will you in the hearts of Billy and your two sons
    I hope to see you at the Crib Service at Trinity at 3.30 pm on 24 December

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: