Family Magazine

How Do You Tell Your Kids Their Mum is Dying? Life Without Mum

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

How do you tell your kids their mum is dying? Life without Mum


Before you begin to read this post, take a look around you, whether its to your other half, to a mom or dad, a sister or brother, nanna or aunt, cousin or just a friend and give them a hug and utter those three little words, they are never quite said enough. Give them freely because one day they just might, god forbid.. not be there. Now where do I start? Sitting in this place I call home, that’s filled with silence for now because the kids are all at school and that one person that filled my life, made it so complete is no longer here ,only in my heart and memories and in the faces of my children.


Do I begin with how we met so many years ago or when I said goodbye as she lay so peaceful in her bed? Do I tell of the woman that I married, that strong willed disabled woman who made our home and gave it life, who raised our children, or do I start with the day our world was turned upside down as the doctor uttered those horrible words?

” We are sorry Angela its cancer “

Three times we had that same talk, the first time they removed the lump and began chemo, then an all clear. A year later it returned, the removal of the breast that destroyed the strength in her, all those hardships the loss of hair, the sickness and those dreaded results.

” Its returned Angela, we are so sorry “

Is that where I am supposed to begin or should it be later with the final time those words were uttered, the fact it had spread to the brain. Nine months they said and still she wouldn’t give in.

” No he said six years, go back and ask him, Kerry I am not leaving this hospital till we know the truth.” she had said.

The heartbreak that nearly killed me hearing it from his mouth, that this disease this word was taking her away from me and her babies, how do I tell them that mums dying?

Did we tell them that day? No we kept it from them until the Macmillan nurse came in, after three months of her screaming in pain, of sleepless nights as I sat watching her, is that where this story begins? When I sat the four of them down and ripped their own worlds apart.


No she cant die, we aren’t full grown, we aren’t married with kids of our own” they had cried.


To sit and watch their own tears fall before they rushed to her and sat with her, those three words uttered that she might hear them, how was I to cope? I am a man after all, yes a dad, but still male. Dads don’t do the washing, dads don’t brush hair and plait it, dads don’t have the tea on the table, no that’s all mums jobs because that’s what mums do, so they say…

Though we know the truth don’t we, there are dads who stay home, who understand the numbers on a washing machine and that you dont mix whites with colours, who knows how to turn on over and prepare a meal, no the story doesn’t start with a death, the story started so long ago when a couple pledged those vows and stuck to them, who had their ups and downs, their fall outs and make ups and brought life into this world. This now is just another chapter in a story that’s not finished yet.

You see for the last nine years I was that stay at home dad, unemployed no for that’s a lie as all mothers know a parent is never unemployed just in a job that’s so poorly paid. I was one of those unspoken carers for a wife with a disability and a child with autism, so even before she was gone I knew how much it took to run a home.


That they say is a woman’s job is never done was always the truth, for those males who’s mothers spoilt them, its not all day time telly and gossip over coffee, a job that starts when the alarm goes over and continues well past when everyone else is asleep, I thought I could manage, id be fine.


“Dad your changing”

“How So ” I ask

“Well you used to look for dvds, games, stuff for your comp, but now its what wallpaper for the living room, what bed sheets for our rooms, that ornament would go nice in the hallway..your being mom now ” the words of an 18 year old daughter as we looked at new dishwashers.


I didn’t see it coming how it crept up on me, training bra for my youngest girl, that first moment with the onset of puberty, the hot sweet tea, a hot water bottle, a box of towels, no more ask your mom there was only me. Parents evening, school productions, sports day and outings, watching them go off on a morning to school. Clean uniforms, hair brushed and teeth clean, money in their pocket for break time and the tuck shop. All those small things we miss because mother knows best and mother deals with it.

Its not often you will hear a man put down his gender but its not often that a man has to take up both roles, to be the good and bad. The one to give praise when its earned and discipline when its demanded. No more the hero dad that says yes all the time, no more playing Mr Good guy to her Mrs Horrible. All those roles rolled up and pressed into one body, to wonder if they can afford that day trip out to the pictures.

I sit here in the silence that comes when they are out, with my two friends nicotine and caffeine. I cant say they are friends really, waiting for them to return and fill that void that’s not just from the silence of the house but that hole within.


Its been a year now since she left me, that first Christmas, her birthday, our wedding anniversary. All those times when you say those words more because for a moment the big bad world outside doesn’t matter. Just those moments within that form memories to cherish,and as I wipe the tears from my eyes I know I am trying to do my best,as I remember James words when we planted the lavender bush in memory of his mom.

” Mums asleep in the flower pot “


This post is an anonymous guest post, written by a dear friend of mine. I admire this man so much, he visits us for coffee and never once does he moan, never complain. This man fights his heartache daily over loosing not only his wife, but his best friend. A life time of memories you see in his eyes, his eyes sparkle when he talks of Ange and I want him to know that she would be ever so proud of him. He is doing an amazing job raising their four children, has dealt with their heartache first before his, the kids are adorable and it breaks my heart to know they have suffered the loss of their mum, no child should ever have to go through what they have, but they smile, they carry on and that is all down to the dedication and love of their dad. 

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