Guest post: Keeping Mum when cancer comes to visit your family

As a tribute to my Mum who sadly passed away three weeks ago, it seems timely to reblog this guest post that she wrote. It’s great to read at the end of the post that she felt it was a privilege to call Steve her son-in-law and he did her proud by masterfully doing the reading at her funeral (even though she made us all promise that no family member would do it, in case they broke down). Thanks for being my Mum xx 20150903_170651

Was Peter really as pleased with this crying baby as he looks?

In January 1962 I gave birth to a much wanted daughter Rosemary, a sister for Peter who was then 3 years old. He was a really good baby, very easy to bring up, what could change with a second one? On that January day a bombshell hit our house. Perhaps Peter’s question was a premonition “Are we going to keep she?”

‘Rearing children is easy’ so I thought, little did I know what was about to happen. Firstly I must say Rosemary was a very loving child and as you all know she still is that loving person. You must’ve heard of the terrible two’s -Rosemary was born with them plus the ability to talk (a miracle baby?). We needed to put locks on doors to keep her in and locks to keep her out. Daily after breakfast, chairs were put up on the table to stop her climbing. I really did need eye’s in the back of my head. She was lightning quick to touch and turn knobs that she shouldn’t (i.e. the oven or the television) and anything that she could reach with her constant urge to climb.

20150903_170714We have this lovely picture of Peter and Rosemary which at first glance looks like Peter is holding her sweetly but on closer inspection you’ll notice he’s not, he’s actually grabbing her to keep her still for the few minutes it took to take the picture.

Peter is the quiet one. When they were older, Peter in his teens, he would tell Rosemary that when she was old enough to go into town on her own not to be on the 12 o’clock bus as he would be there with his friends and didn’t want his little sister around. Big mistake. Week after week she would spend all her pocket money and catch the 12 o’clock bus because then Peter would pay her bus fare if she stayed downstairs and he was upstairs with his mates.

20150903_170825As you can see from this picture I never pulled her hair into an uncomfortable style as she said in a previous blog.

Rosemary: Yes, you did Mum.

However, we have a whole library of hairstyles to share, like this one for instance when Rosemary was 11 years old and a bridesmaid (The wind blowing at an inappropriate time making her look 6 months gone too- she wasn’t!)

Rosemary: How could you let this happen Mum?!


When did she change into the lovely person she is today? I would say at about eleven going from junior school to senior. I would not change a thing about her past just to say it was an experience!

When Rosemary came to tell us her devastating news it didn’t sink in for a few days, ‘No we must have heard wrongly’. We of course had not misheard and then we both let the tears flow. It is hard to express my feelings at that time- anger, guilt and frustration, my inside was in knots, it should be me not her, I am supposed to protect my baby (which she still is to me) not let this happen to her.

What could I do? how can I help? Firstly join #TeamPositive, get your head around it and we will beat this. I have travelled the same path with her, just silently in my head. Conscious and worrying with each appointment, awaiting results and frustrated when having to wait for things to happen. Whilst the Radiotherapy has been taking place I’ve only been able to focus on that even from 50 miles away, so I imagine myself leaving home with her and judge when she would be getting home and then I tick off that appointment from my list. That stage now has thankfully finished and in a few weeks we expect more positive news.

Positivity is a wonderful thing, it is such a help when you are feeling down. I thought my heart was broken but it wasn’t so now onwards and upwards.

I know we may have to put up with Tracy Tamoxifen for the next ten years but feel we have all the experience we need to deal with it/her!


We would like to express our thanks to all of Rosemary’s friends who we know have been a great support to her and the family. Our biggest thanks go to Steve, Ben & Faye – you have made us so proud of what you’ve done whilst going through so many emotions yourselves. We knew when Rosemary met Steve she had found the perfect partner in life. To call him son-in-law has been our privilege.

Evelyn (Rosemary’s Mum)

Aged 83 and 3/4

10 thoughts on “Guest post: Keeping Mum when cancer comes to visit your family

  1. What a fabulous tribute to a fabulous person!!! Rosemary is one of the most generous, kind and selfless people I have ever met – I am privileged to call her my friend! The ‘whirling dervish’ stage would have been very interesting to see!!! Just a little more calm and measured now, methinks!! xx


  2. Obviously Rosemary takes after her mum!! how amazing are you, and thank you for sharing your contribution. Your daughter is amazing, we love her loads


  3. What a lovely and moving post from your Mum Rosemary. I love her description of you as a child 🙂 Makes me think about how my dear Mum feels and copes with this too – I know she’s recorded every appt I’ve had and I’ve no doubt your Mum’s description is akin to her thoughts/feelings – thank you both for sharing xx


    1. Thank you Allie from both of us. I am sure that you’re right about both our parents experiencing the same set of emotions and feelings as diagnosis and treatment ripples out amongst the family. Love to you and yours xx


    2. Thank you Allie from both of us. I am sure that you’re right about both our parents experiencing the same set of emotions and feelings as diagnosis and treatment ripples out amongst the family. Love to you and yours xx


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