I am getting married soon and my mother has terminal cancer.

Occasional Visitor

I am getting married soon and my mother has terminal cancer.

   I'm writing because I have been told it may help with some feelings I have been having. I am 19, and have just been engaged on 10/30/2022. I am new to the whole aspect of seeing myself as an almost married woman, but one thing I know for sure is that I want my mother there for all of it. I am terrified she won't make it there so we have set our wedding only a few short months from now.

   About three years ago now, I remember my mother's first symptoms of cancer, what we thought were just side effects of less than average oral hygiene. My mother's first sore showed up on the right side of her tongue, she could do nothing but eat mainly liquids. It wasn't scary then, not until she went to the dentist and they told her it was something they had never seen before and sent her off to the ear, nose, and throat doctor. I remember the day down to the minutes of the time she had gotten her first biopsy. She texted me with the results before barely looking at them herself. The words squamous cell carcinoma ring throughout my mind daily. I drowned in tears that night and many nights after that not knowing where to go or what to do. She has always been my best friend and the thought of living without her has scared me since I was a child, and even more now. She was given the terminal one year to live a few months ago and has been fighting for her life with the cancer spreading throughout her lungs, throat and all of her toungue, and I am terrified.

   So now, I plan my whole life around her. I want her to witness everything that her children can do. Within the last year, she has become a grandmother, lost her dad, and has now witnessed one of her children getting engaged, but the only thing still wrapping my mind is if she'll be here to watch me get married. I have so far planned having her and my father walk me down the aisle, me and her having our own "mother daughter dance" and so much more to commemorate what she means to me.

   I know I will be a mess when she leaves and I never want her to but how does a 19 year old lose her mother and is just supposed to move on? She won't be there for the birth of my children, for my sister's wedding, for birthdays or anniversaries. I don't know if I'll ever be me again after her. She knows all my deepest secrets and has saved my life more than once. I need some hope. Does anyone have any tips on how to go on about life after a loved one passes from this terrible disease?


Regular Contributor

Re: I am getting married soon and my mother has terminal cancer.

Hi Trinaelise, that’s a heart breaking story for you and your family. I lost my mum 2 years ago and I’m so much older than you but it was the most painful time as she was the best mum ever. As yours is to you. 💕. I feel for you and pray she can be here for your wedding 🙏. There’s no formula for walking this road of suffering and grief. Just hold on to those close to you for all the support you need. Love and prayers to you. Linda G 

Occasional Visitor

Re: I am getting married soon and my mother has terminal cancer.

Hi Trinaelise,


Whilst everyone’s emotions and how they cope with them are different, I will share with you my story, along with how I’ve watch my siblings deal with things in a similar way.


My own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer 20+yrs ago.  She went through Chemo and Radiation, after about a year or two she was given the all clear. My mother lived in Ireland and I lived in Australia. During her time of treatment, we made Some goals one being that once she was better she would come out to Australia to visit.  Towards the end of treatment my now fiancé became pregnant, we set a date for a wedding and with a new Bub on the way my mother and I had planned that she would come out for the wedding and meet her new Grandson. 

About 6 months after been given the all clear she was told that the cancer had come back and that it had aggressively spread throughout her body and she had about 2-4 weeks left.  I remember her call to me to this day, telling me that she didn’t think that she will be able to make it to Australia. Within 2-3 weeks after that call she had passed away. 

How did I cope with it?  I’ve always been a very pragmatic type of person and accept the reality of life and Death, even though my mother was young (50yrs), I accepted that it was her time.  I cried for a couple of days and then pulled myself together and said, it’s ok to be sad, but for my own health I need to accept that my mother will no longer be around and that doesn’t mean that I can’t continue to remember her in a positive light. This approach has helped me deal with the loss of a mother who was taken at a reasonably young age and for me who lost a mother when I was reasonably young (around 24yrs).

My two sisters who live in Ireland and to this day have never been able to move on from losing their mother, to this day they still have issues as a result of losing their mother, it has impacted them emotionally and mentally which has not worked in their favour on allowing them to move forward with their own life. 

I now unfortunately find myself on the other side of the fence, where I was diagnosed in June of this year with Renal Cell Cancer that has spread to my Liver, Lung and Brain. In October I had brain surgery to remove the tumour and am currently going through radiotherapy on the brain to remove any remains of cancerous cells from the brain that the surgeon may or may not have left behind. I’m also on immunotherapy for the cancer everywhere else in my body. I have a very positive outlook and approach where I believe that I’ll get through this and have a 20yr and beyond plan to survive, is this realistic, I really don’t know but it’s the path that I’ve outlined for myself and plan to get there. I have two kids that are 19 and 17 who are experiencing the same journey that you and I have or are going through. I believe that it’s very important for my kids to know that the future may look bleak but it’s important that they don’t let my illness consume them. I reassure them that I’ll do everything within my power to survive the illness but should the worse case mean my life is cut short that I’d want them to live their life to the fullest and that I’ll still be around looking over them and watching their mile stones as they progress through life. 

One thing that got me through my mothers passing and still is, is a song by U2 called kite (I’m not a big U2 fan 🙂 ). I remember it to this day on a flight from Sydney to Ireland to see my mother before her passing and this song came on the inflight entertainment, it just resonated with me at the time. 


The lyrics that jumped out at me are:

Who's to say where the wind will take you
Who's to say what it is will break you
I don't know
Which way the wind will blow

Who's to know when the time has come around
Don't want to see you cry
I know that this is not goodbye


The last line is what means a lot to me “I know that this is not goodbye”

I understand that it’s hard to think of the what if’s and not get upset about them, but it’s very important that you look after yourself and your wellbeing now and in the future as if you don’t it will hold you back in life, both emotionally and mentally. Enjoy the moments today with your mother and allow each and every day be precious, don’t feel like you have to fast track life moments as it’s not what your mother would want you to do, especially if it’s putting too much pressure on you and impacting your wellbeing. 

I hope my story gives you some perspective from both sides of the coin and is helpful to you. 

Take care of yourself as a priority and that will help you get through things. 

Wishing you well.


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