My mum has just died from cancer - what are your experiences and what can I read at funeral?

(25 Posts)
cookiemonstress Tue 06-Oct-09 09:27:41

V sadly my mum passed away last friday after a 3 yr battle with ovarian cancer. We know it was coming but still didn't believe it. Feel v numb and depressed.

Before she went she asked me to read something at her funeral. Does anyone have any suggestions?

At the moment I am thinking of 'Do not stand at my grave and weep' but wondered if there was something more appropriate to mums out there.

It would be really useful to hear other's experiences. I have felt largely numb and disbelief and also feel that in a way I have spent the last three years and most certainly this year grieving without being aware.

She wasn't old. Her cancer is genetic so in a way she didn't stand a chance which is ironic as she led an incredibly healthy life. I have also inherited the gene (BRCA 1 mutation) and will shortly be having risk reducing surgery later this year so the battle not yet over in a way. How do you get through this?. I'm exhausted but feel with 2 small children and almost full time job there is almost no choice but to cut on with life even if I don't feel like it.

OP’s posts: |
Hassled Tue 06-Oct-09 09:34:10

I'm so sorry for your loss. One poem that gave me a lot of comfort when my mother died (also from cancer, aged 45) was Remember Me by Christina Rossetti. I do understand that feeling of already having grieved - even though I was young, there was still a sense of relief almost, both for her sake and mine, that it was over, despite all the sadness.

ilovesprouts Tue 06-Oct-09 09:38:52

sorry to hear your news,cookie

Frrrightattendant Tue 06-Oct-09 09:42:43

I'm very sorry, Cookie sad

choufleur Tue 06-Oct-09 09:47:49

Sorry for your losse Cookie. Was also going to say Remember Me by Rossetti. song by rossetti is also a 'nice' poem or do not stand at my grave and weep

OnlyWantsOneFartleBerry Tue 06-Oct-09 09:50:47

Really sorry for your loss. How about Guess How Much I Love you here.

FishInMyHair Tue 06-Oct-09 09:55:10

sorry to hear of your loss.
I also like the Rossetti poem.

When my mum died, I kept some of her clothes and have snipped them into patchwork squares. I have also done this with baby gros from when dc were tiny aswell as the shirt dh wore on our wedding day. I am building up a collection to make a quilt. I think it will be lovely to be covered with memories. When ever anyone loses someone I suggest it. Just an idea.

When is the funeral?

shabbapinkfrog Tue 06-Oct-09 09:57:11

So sorry to hear about your loss sad
The Dash

Jux Tue 06-Oct-09 10:19:59

I'm so sorry Cookie; a similar thing has happened to me. Mum was 84 though and dx only 6 weeks ago, died 3 weeks later. Her funeral is tomorrow.

I busied myself with practicalities, and having a huge extended family who are all over the world, I have had plenty to do. Luckily my bro is executor so I don't have to worry about sorting out the will.

The funeral has been a nightmare to organise and I think, on reflection, we've got it all wrong. I've just heard the organist can't play so I have to get another one. The priest only came back from holiday on Monday, so I saw him for the first time yesterday. Luckily, the catering side has gone smoothly (so far!).

I can't really suggest a reading as we have to do a catholic thing and it's pretty well laid down in stone.

There are some beautiful parts of the Song of Solomon though:

# My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
# For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
# The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
# The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

Seems quite apposite for a funeral. The whole thing is here but most of it won't be relevant.

fruitspooksbatsintheeaves Tue 06-Oct-09 10:25:08

My mum also died of ovarian cancer. We didn't do readings at the funeral, I can't really remember much about it TBH. We did sing some of her favourite hymns. It was hard though as my mum just withdrew completely and wouldn't talk much so it was hard to know what she would have wanted.
Sorry for your loss.

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 06-Oct-09 10:31:43

Sorry to hear of your loss. My mum died from advanced breast cancer after 5 years, and I found that after the initial tears/shock had worn off, there were no more tears, and I felt like I wasn't grieving 'properly'. I had expected to be distraught, as we were very close.

But a counsellor that I talked to said that during that 5 year period I had probably been grieving anyway.

It may be different for you, but be prepared that you may not feel the way you think you 'should' feel.

aoifesmama Tue 06-Oct-09 10:50:24

So sorry to hear of your loss cookie. My mum died of breat cancer 6 years ago at the age of 43 after a long battle. We read the following (but had rather young DSis's)

You can only have one mother

Patient kind and true;

No other friend in all the world,

Will be the same to you.

When other friends forsake you,

To mother you will return,

For all her loving kindness,

She asks nothing in return.

As we look upon her picture,

Sweet memories we recall,

Of a face so full of sunshine,

And a smile for one and all.

Sweet Jesus, take this message,

To our dear mother up above;

Tell her how we miss her,

And give her all our love.

aoifesmama Tue 06-Oct-09 10:51:36

breast even!

Hers was also genetic and we are regularly reviewed. Not sure if its any help, but think that with the genetic side of it, you just have to get on xxx

teatank Tue 06-Oct-09 10:54:40

hi cookiemonstress. i lost my dad to luekemia 5 years ago. instead of a poem we wrote a short story about his life to make it more personal to him. its an idea you may want to consider. when i lost my dad i felt numb as well. i never thought i`d get over it but as time went by my life became more bearable. so sorry about your loss

Shellseeker Tue 06-Oct-09 10:55:29

So sorry to hear of yur loss.

I've had to read at 2 funerals recently and both times I chose 'Desiderata' by Max Ehrmann. It's quite reflective but also life affirming for those left behind and I (almost) got through it without any wobbles!
Best of luck x

LilRedWG Tue 06-Oct-09 17:13:57

Cookie, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my parents earlier this year and was unable to speak at their funerals. My brother did however. He didn't do a reading he just spoke about them and it was so comforting to hear.

I am not sure if it is something you have considered, being a traditionally male thing, but I was a pall bearer at Mum's funeral. I am so glad that I could do that one last thing for her.

Much love all of you on this terrible journey. x

etchasketch Tue 06-Oct-09 17:27:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chimchar Tue 06-Oct-09 17:44:08

hi cookie.

i'm really sorry about your mum. my lovely mum died very suddenly in july this year.

her friend read this out at her funeral...

She is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she's gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

David Harkins

it was read at the queen mothers funeral too.

hope you're doing ok. x

wheelsonthebus Tue 06-Oct-09 17:48:25

I am so sorry to hear your loss.
Have you read/seen Gloria Hunniford's second book about bereavement; it has lots and lots of passages people have sent her from which they derived some comfort/meaning. Many were read at funerals/memorials. It's called Always with You. I found it very moving.

2shoes Tue 06-Oct-09 17:50:47

no advice, but sorry to hear about your mum xx

Ghanamafia Tue 06-Oct-09 18:04:52

So sorry.
I have two suggestions:
Seamus Heaney
‘From Clearances-3'
When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off a soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives-
Never closer the whole of our lives.

Joyce Grenfell
‘If I Should Go Before The Rest Of You’
If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower, nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice

But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must, parting is hell
But life goes on, so sing as well.

cocolepew Tue 06-Oct-09 18:07:56

Sorry for your loss.

GibbonInARibbon Tue 06-Oct-09 18:13:36

Sorry for you loss cookie sad

lljkk Tue 06-Oct-09 18:14:16

Hi Cookie, My mum died suddenly and we didn't have readings, but chose some hymns that we knew she liked. Otherwise we reminisced.

Also, just thought I mention, neighbour had her ovaries removed because of a genetic risk (sounds similar to you) and has had a good experience overall in her recovery, etc. She is glad that she had them taken out.

Here are some links to poems about mothers, perhaps one of them might strike the right cord:


Good luck.

cookiemonstress Tue 06-Oct-09 19:50:13

Hi everyone,

thank you so much for you all your supportive postings... there are so brilliant suggestions here so will have a ponder. Thanks for sharing all your experiences. I do feel like the grieving started a long time ago, today was a much more wobbly day. It was the actual physical throb that comes with it that I wasn't expecting.

thank you again.

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