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How do I make Granddads last Christmas Special (and easy)

(18 Posts)
CherryCokeFairy Wed 16-Nov-16 14:51:06

Hi,

My Granddad has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and we expect this Christmas to be his last. He is coming to our house for Christmas but I'm worried that he won't enjoy himself and wondered if other people had had similar experiences? I also want suggestions of things to do - for example I'm planning a family photograph... Any other suggestions? I know he won't appreciate the day being "to organised" and I'm cool with that... he just likes to sit down with a cuppa tea every now and again... But I don't want to regret not doing certain things after he has gone...

We already plan to bring his favourite chair to our house for the few days he is here so that he has somewhere comfortable to sit/snooze. We've also organised a bed downstairs for him, but I know he isn't eating a lot at the moment... would/could me cooking Christmas dinner completely over face him? Should I maybe make him a festive soup for him to enjoy instead? (its bowel cancer which has spread everywhere else so eating can be difficult)

To be honest I think alot of this post is just me getting a few things off my chest so I can come back a read later and hopefully understand my own thoughts and what he might want more... but I'd really appreciate your input.

Also... what do you buy someone who is dying? I'm printing photographs for him and putting them in a nice lightweight photo album... but other than that I'm at a loss....

onedayatatime73 Wed 16-Nov-16 15:13:12

I had this with my own father so I share your pain. I don't know the answer but from my experience my thoughts would be
Don't over organise it or be over sentimental because all you are doing is remind him it's his last. Over fussing is worse than underplaying.
Don't let the kitchen distract you from time with him. He will want your company not your finest bread sauce.
Buy a Polaroid camera and get the kids to have fun with it. Makes great memories of everyone.
Get some sparklers. Adults love watching children get excited. I feel for you and for him

Solasum Wed 16-Nov-16 15:16:41

I wouldn't necessarily not offer him Christmas dinner. If it is a big family occasion he might like to be eating the same as everyone else, even in mini quantities.

Is there some special food or drink or chocolate he would like for a gift, or is there some form of comfortable clothing he would appreciate in the months to come?

mumonashoestring Wed 16-Nov-16 15:25:37

I would say yes to having something like soup on 'standby' - maybe have a quiet chat with him at some point and say no-one's going to be offended if he'd rather have a snooze while everyone else is eating, or if he just has a couple of bites of whatever he fancies and leaves the rest. I don't know what your relationship is like generally but some people really wind themselves up over not offending a relative who's hosting so make it clear that the day is very much on his terms.

If there's a good chance he's going to be spending a fair bit of time sitting/resting in the next few months, perhaps comfortable pyjamas, or a really nice dressing gown and practical slippers with non-slip soles that don't fall off every time you move slightly? A slanket (blanket with sleeves)? Would he enjoy audiobooks - maybe an MP3 player loaded with some good audiobooks from Audible? Spring bulbs in window boxes that he'll be able to enjoy even if he can't get out to the garden?

Artandco Wed 16-Nov-16 16:11:04

I would provide various things but offer all in snack or small quantity incase he wants a tiny bit later

Things like soft cheese, smoked salmon, thin sliced meats, a few different soups, various hot and cold drinks, a nice soft easy desert if he prefers

Chillywhippet Wed 16-Nov-16 16:27:00

My nan came to ours for her last 2 Christmases. She was in a wheelchair and had a catheter and frail.
She had a great time. We made sure she had quiet bits where we watched telly etc.
I don't know if you have DC but my nan loved the kids doing a little rendition of jingle bells and singing a couple of carols and songs from their Christmas show at school. If you have kids of the right age it might be worth seeing if they'll oblige fgrin
We have some lovely pictures and memories.
I think the most important thing was that she knew we loved her and she felt welcome in our home
Blubbing now. Enjoy being together star

Hedgyhoggy Wed 16-Nov-16 16:55:27

We had Grandmas last Christmas last year. I would say try and keep things fairly normal. I sometimes think that we have such high expectations of those who are terminally ill, expecting meaningful and profound discussions and experiences. Whilst still plan a lovely Christmas be guided by him on the day. My mum asked for no presents but something that did go down really well was a photo blanket with pictures of all the grandchildren. She loved it (even though I was a bit wary of giving it to her) it was a talking point for her with visitors and nurses especially good when she felt things were getting awkward or difficult. She was buried with it in the end. I hope you all have a lovely family Christmas x

Ilovenannyplum Wed 16-Nov-16 17:24:07

OP, I haven't really any advice to offer but I really hope you and your family have a really special day with your grandad flowers

CherryCokeFairy Thu 17-Nov-16 14:20:56

Hi, Thank you all for your answers.

I wouldn't not give him the opportunity to have Christmas dinner with us - rather just make sure he knows he has an easier option available if he wants it. (I often make and freeze soups anyway so I can make one and if it doesn't get eaten it can just be frozen without any worries on wastage)

We plan on it being a nice chilled out day, He will have his own bedroom so he can go an lay down at any time, we are a pretty chilled out couple and he usually quite likes that about his visits to our house.

I LOVE the idea of a photograph blanket. Do you have any idea where you got it from?

I'd thought of chocolates and sweets but his taste buds are changing so much I really can't guess what he will or won't want at that stage.... I've started a shopping list for Christmas dinner/The Christmas few days (I do this mainly so I can estimate the cost usually). I've tried to add things (mainly for snacking) to the list which will appeal to every taste bud just in case: (tart, sweet, mild, strong etc)

Artandco Thu 17-Nov-16 14:34:46

Could you get him a few sweets if he usually likes from a pick a mix type place? Can then just get a small amount and just get a couple of each sweet so he has a small selection of his previous favourites? Can put them in a little jar with lid so they look nice and stay fresh. Probably things he can suck like traditions hard sweets ideal ie lemon sherbets and rubard and custard etc

Hedgyhoggy Thu 17-Nov-16 14:53:15

Photo blanket from bags of love. She also loved posh scented wipes...im sure there must be a male alternative. Took away the medical smell she said.

Artandco Thu 17-Nov-16 15:08:28

Another idea, maybe some mazagines he likes? He can read them in bed or chair over Xmas or take any on any hospital trips. Could just get a selection on a few topics and offer at gift to replace any he particularly likes each month after

CherryCokeFairy Wed 14-Dec-16 00:48:48

Thank you for all of your suggestions, Granddad died on Sunday - we will still be setting him a place at the table though and making his favorite pudding using his mums recipe

sandgrown Wed 14-Dec-16 00:55:07

So sorry to hear that Cherrycoke. Good idea about making his favourite pudding. Thinking of you and your family flowers

Makingalist Wed 14-Dec-16 01:16:26

Just reading through the suggestions and came across your update Cherrycoke , so sorry for your loss flowers

Setting him a place at the table and making his mums favourite pudding is a lovely idea. You sound so caring and thoughtful and I hope you and your family manage to draw some comfort from each other on the day; I will be thinking of you xx

dovesong Wed 14-Dec-16 01:20:23

Really sorry to read this. I have been in a similar situation. The idea of making his favourite pudding is really lovely. I'm sure you've already thought of this, but when my relative died very close to Christmas, something that helped me a bit was making a small donation to a charity of his choice in his name. Also lighting a candle for him. Sending you and your family best wishes.

mammmamia Wed 14-Dec-16 01:52:17

You sound lovely. Sorry for your loss flowers

AutumnalLeaves38 Wed 14-Dec-16 02:34:14

Oh, I just read your update, CherryCoke,

flowers for you.

I would say probably the very best thing you could ever have done for him, you already did...and that was by showing such obvious care and compassion in wanting to make his remaining time special.

I'm sure he was very comforted by having the lovely Granddaughter you clearly have been and are!

Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas...it'll be poignant, but sure to be an occasion for reassuring and happy memories as well x

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