Perhaps I was a bit harsh last week. I was feeling particularly vulnerable. It’s my birthday this week and I’m missing my Mom. My Dad has been leaning quite heavily on me and the emotional strain is getting a bit hard to bear. I look at him and I can see his pain. He is so lonely, in his quiet house, with his burnt toast and new towels. He is being so brave, I wish I could do more for him. The truth is, I find it difficult going to his house, seeing it just as Mom left it. Seeing Dad trying to keep her plants alive. He has even tried to make some of her recipes. He tries to keep everything neat and tidy, and clean, but he even struggles to deal with the daily post, let alone keep on top of the financial stuff.

We knew it would be like this after Mom died. We shared the last five weeks or so of her life, as her body gave in to the lung cancer. She talked to me about it at length, with some humour, too. Dad depended on Mom more than he realised, although he always appeared to be the dominant partner. The worst part of Dad’s grief is that he will not accept help from anyone. He doesn’t want to inconvenience me. And I want to help. I need to help.

Birthdays, anniversaries and special dates are always going to be difficult. This is my first birthday since Mom died and I really don’t know whether to celebrate or ignore it. This is what grief feels like. This is why it feels different from depression. I know the tearfulness will pass after my birthday. I can see the future, and I am enjoying the new experiences life is giving me at the moment.

Tulip Orange Emperor, Lesley Beeton

When you are ready for it, you will see the positive in your life. Special people will brighten your day. New experiences will come your way. Be open to the possibilities. It’s another way of saying de-clutter your life, be ready for the next chapter.

Living with Mom’s cancer




I am a scientist and a blogger. I have a PhD in the genetics of cardiovascular risk. My Mom died of cancer last year. We learnt a lot and met some amazing people. I want to share with others how to live positively with cancer, and make choices in end-of-life care. My top tip: Ask the difficult questions.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *