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Gift of Compassion

Gift of Compassion

Mum secretly arranged her funeral with my husband, John, who is a funeral director. She told him, ‘It’s one less thing for the girls to do.’ She even cleaned her house out of furniture, sorted all the photos and chose her outfit. She was one of those ladies who had to have everything in place.

“Mum started smoking as a young woman. It was the glamourous thing to do back then; I remember my mother with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of sherry in the other. Dad passed away from a heart attack in 1996, so Mum was a young widow. She never met anyone else – she said Dad was the love of her life. Mum was a very talented seamstress; if we had a ball to go to, we’d rip out the latest pictures from Vogue magazine and the next day there would be the gowns, all lined up and perfectly fitted.

She was 67 when she developed black ulcers in her mouth. That was the first sign something was wrong. She was absolutely terrified of going to the doctor; I think she knew deep down it was cancer.

The cancer grew on the side of the face, eating away at it ­ –  it was horrific. She didn’t have any treatment because she was terminal. She was in a lot of pain, bed-bound and just wasting away. My sisters and I nursed her for a year - us girls were a mess, but Mum was so strong. She’d say, ‘You girls are too emotional.’ I insisted on getting support for her from Cancer Society, and they supported me too. I talked to one of the psychologists because I was really struggling – having to deal with Mum, and at the same time my own family. The psychologist really helped; she was amazing.

Mum secretly arranged her funeral with my husband, John, who is a funeral director. She told him, ‘It’s one less thing for the girls to do.’  She even cleaned her house out of furniture, sorted all the photos and chose her outfit. She was one of those ladies who had to have everything in place.

Mum passed away on Mothers’ Day in 2012, aged 68.  I miss her, and I feel like my family has been robbed. She missed my boys’ graduations, their 21sts... I want to be here for my grandchildren.

Seeing what my mum went through, and the support from Cancer Society, is what led to me leaving a legacy gift in my Will. I like what Cancer Society stands for. I’m so appreciative of the support Cancer Society offers and incredibly passionate about the amazing research they fund. I hope by leaving a bequest, cancer researchers will find a cure in the future.”