I love Christmas. I love the build-up to Christmas. The crazy running around, gift-buying, baking, visiting, carolling, then the peace and quiet of Christmas Day. To reflect on the year, on life, be thankful, happy and sad.

Christmas will never be the same for me. Four years ago, Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. She was on holiday in Australia, and only the quick thinking actions of the doctors there saved her life and made her well enough to travel back to the UK.

She started chemotherapy on Christmas Eve. We had no idea how she would be on Christmas Day, and our hearts were heavy with dread and fear. The day dawned, cold and icy. Mom dressed for Church, wearing her warm red jaunty beret. We sat, cuddled against the radiator, as we softly sang and prayed, and laughed at the little children, happy with their toys.

Later, at home, in front of the fire, turkey eaten and enjoyed, Mom dozed, peacefully. We had had the most beautiful, precious Christmas Day. We knew it was Mom’s last Christmas and we felt so blessed to have had a happy day of memories.

So, whilst I still enjoy the Christmas season, we no longer delight in gifts. For I have received the best Christmas gift I will ever have.




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.

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