My feed

to access all these features

Mumsnet doesn't verify the qualifications of users. If you have medical concerns, please consult a healthcare professional.

Life-limiting illness

Can I make last few weeks/months with my mum special in any way?

12 replies

1wokeuplikethis · 09/06/2021 09:16

My beautiful mum has been told she has weeks/months left- completely unexpected as we thought the chemo had worked and they had been told treatment was curative all along. However now we know the treatment didn’t work and the cancer has spread to her liver (originated in her oesophagus).

I am heartbroken. She is everything to me and the anchor to our family. My dad is broken and she is leaving 8 young grandchildren.

I am having trouble processing it as it’s all so fresh, think I’m still in shock. I’ve ordered some books on bereavement & grief but can’t bring myself to read them yet.

I just don’t want to have any regrets and be in such a fug that I miss any opportunity to do something special. We are incredibly close, we know how much we love each other so there is no risk of me not saying anything to her that I will later regret. She doesn’t really want to go anywhere eg seaside as she is too weak.

Is there more I can do? I am going over as much as possible and being there and spending time with my parents. But should I be trying to do something more memorable? My brain isn’t functioning properly. I have two young kids and I work full time. I’m exhausted from the emotion of it all. Mainly I’m heartbroken for my mum and my dad, and all the children.

OP posts:
FortunesFave · 09/06/2021 10:18

I am so sorry. My own Mum is in what looks like the final stages of dementia in the UK and I"m trapped in Australia. I can't even visit her and phone calls are hard as she finds it hard to follow a conversation.

What I would do if I were in your shoes (And I know they're awful shoes to be in, I lost my Dad to cancer some years ago) I would ask her if she'd like to write some Birthday cards for her give them in the future.

A little message from their Grandmother in each for upcoming birthdays.

She may not want to...or have energy but I thought it would be a lovely thing in a way.x

Juneisjoyful · 09/06/2021 10:22

When my best friend's dm hadn't long we bought a CD player and scouted charity shops for all her old favourites.. And all her favourite sweets and chocolates.. Her vision was sadly about gone (macular disease) but your dm might appreciate photo albums or you reading about her favourite places.

1wokeuplikethis · 09/06/2021 10:23

What a beautiful idea, thank you. And thank you for your kind words. I’m so sorry you are in such a cruel position with your own mum, I can’t begin to imagine the pain you are in. I hope you manage to find a way to see her again xxx

OP posts:
thelegohooverer · 09/06/2021 10:32

I have very precious memories of my gf’s final weeks. We took it in turns to sit with him, make him comfortable. Try not to get caught up in trying to do things at this stage - unless there is some particular wish that the dying person has- because you can miss out on the joy of just spending time together. I know it sounds like nothing to say I read the sports news to him and chatted to him about the dc. I like to think that he knew, even when he was too far gone to even speak to us, that we loved being with him.

We tend to think these days of Instagram moments, and making memories, and doing when sometimes just being is a better way to go.

Don’t put pressure on yourself.

The only regrets I have are some questions that I didn’t ask him about family history, and now will never know. But by the time I realised that he wouldn’t be around forever his mind was already slipping away.

FlowersI’m sorry

buckeejit · 09/06/2021 15:50

Sorry to hear this Op. I'm in the same boat. My dm has a brain tumor & today they said they'll not do any treatment as there's little hope due to her age & position of the tumor. They've given her maybe 3 months.

Thankfully she's not in any pain yet but I've just had the same thoughts about making the time special & it's a bit overwhelming.

Came to this board to rummage for advice. This boat is shitty.

Rainallnight · 09/06/2021 22:50

I’m so sorry, OP.

My mum died last year and my major regret is that I have so little video footage on her. It seems mad that I have hours and hours of my DC, whom I see every day, and about two minutes of my mum whom I’ll never see again.

So try to take some little videos if you can.


HitthefloorforTaintedLove · 10/06/2021 16:28

Sorry to hear this OP.
A previous poster mentioned videos, similarly some kind of recording of a voice is nice to have.

Being there will make the final weeks special, doing the things she enjoys even if they seem ordinary. Watching a favourite TV show or film together can be nice when sometimes it's exhausting talking all the time.

Can she eat normally, if so are there favourite meals you can share or afternoon tea delivery?

I agree with thelegohooverer that it's not about memories with a capital M, some of the time I have spent with dying relatives was just holding their hand or sitting together doing crosswords and reading out an ocasional clue.
The pressure to create memories (if constant) serves to highlight the time slipping away and if it doesn't go perfectly to plan it feels awful as there might not be another opportunity. So look for some kind of balance that works for your family and try not to be too hard on yourself. 💐

Misspollyhadadolly92 · 10/06/2021 22:56

So sorry to hear the stories of you going through this or been through mum died if cancer when I was young, and now my dad has cancer which is terminal. Its such a shock.
Like others have said, video's of your mum. I recently got my dad to sing a song and recorded it, it was one of my favourite songs from being small he used to sing to me. I didn't have many things with my mums writing on, the little things like that are precious- just seeing their writing. Favourite memories, favourite music etc. Favourite smells. Just the very simple things that will help keep memories alive.

It's hard, sending lots of love xxx

Maskedrevenger · 10/06/2021 23:12

One of the loveliest memories I have of my dad’s final weeks, he was pretty well right up to the end, was of a family Easter egg hunt/ picnic in their garden. We took all the food and drinks so my mum didn’t have to worry and I’d gone round earlier to hide plastic eggs with clues in them around their garden. My mum and dad just sat quietly and watched as my two and my niece ran round the garden searching for the eggs and taking the clues back to grandad to help them solve the clues and then rushed back to show him when they found the basket of small chocolate eggs. We all knew he was ill but the children didn’t know he was likely to pass soon. We had a wee bubble machine going and my dad laughed as he watched them caper about on the grass. All of us sitting, eating together and just chatting meant it was easy to take a few nice photos without having to make a big thing out of it. It was a very special day!

ApplesinmyPocket · 10/06/2021 23:46

I'm so sorry for you, OP, and all who have been through this. It is so heartbreaking losing a beloved parent, I sometimes don't know how any of us survive it really. I miss my darling Mum and Nan every single day.

As thelegohooverer said, I wish I had asked and listened to more ordinary, every day stories of how she and her family used to live. Not for the 'historical' aspect of it, but because they had whole lives before me, which I scarcely know of, but are part of my history, too, and I will never know most of it now. I was vaguely aware of them, but stupidly thought we had 'forever' to pass them on.

If it wouldn't be too tiring for her, she might even enjoy just gently talking through rambly family history and stories... "so you lived at Clacton in the 70s didn't you, I bet you met boys on the pier? did you have a Saturday job?" (a silly example which is one of the voids I have in my own memories of the person my mother was, before she was the mother I knew.)

If that's too much for her, my in-good-health 90 year old Uncle is just gently leading my 95 year old aunt through her increasing dementia, with quiet sitting and doing easy jigsaws together, talking about family with photographs he gets out of an album, doing crosswords and puzzles; they seem so happy, in a way.


SpeakFriendAndEnter · 10/06/2021 23:55

So sorry for what you are going through. My dad passed nearly 3 years ago, he had terminal cancer but his passing was far more sudden than we expected.
I agree with what PPs have said about wishing I'd asked him to
Tell me more stories about his life, ones I'd heard before about him Meeting my mum etc, but also just about his life so I could store them all up and tell my children. I wish I'd hugged him and smelt him more too. I know that sounds silly but I always attributed certain smells to him and I wish I had committed more to memory. My dad will always be old head and shoulders, exhausts and welding smells in my head! Happy smells

TillyTottenham · 10/07/2021 10:50

My beloved mum died of cancer earlier this year. Her greatest pleasure in her final months was reminiscing and looking at old photos.
She also liked reading and having someone read to her when she got to weak to hold a book. She also loved being given a bath by her nurses and having someone do her hair for her, and looking out the window at life going on outside. The cat was her constant companion and she liked stroking him.

I'm so sorry you are going through this OP; it's one of those life experiences we wish would never come.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.