Imagine you have been told you have terminal breast cancer.
You have a family. You have children. You have a life.
Time stops. Then it starts again, seemingly getting faster with each passing day.
How do you prepare to say goodbye to those you love? And more importantly, how do you impart a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, advice, and love to your children and family?
Thanks to people like you, creative arts therapist Judith Gordon is able to offer support and guidance to women with terminal breast cancer as they make memory boxes for their family and friends.
“Grief is not about forgetting the person who has died; it's about finding ways to remember them and take their memory forward,” Judith said.
It can be difficult for children to hold on to their memories, so by putting together a Memory Box, mums can leave their children with stories, photos, much-loved items and reminders of their life together which they can keep forever.
But making a memory box is often a challenging and deeply emotional experience.
“Facing the task of creating mementos for their children, family and friends can feel overwhelming for the mums and it is often hard to know where to start,” Judith said.
“The aim of the Mum, Memories and Me program is to support women therapeutically and practically; I’m there to give them the support they need to start the project and to gain some peace around what is happening and how they’re going to proceed going forward.
“It can be a challenging and emotional task but I feel like it is an honour to be trusted with such a gift as the opportunity to share in this very important task with them.”
Mums often fill their memory boxes with letters/cards/gifts for major birthdays and milestone events, favourite recipes, photos, childhood items, ‘mum’s favourite things’ and letters and messages of gratitude for family and friends.
“I usually like to give our mums little cards that start with a phrase such as “I love you because …” or “Remember when…” as it’s often an easy way for them to start; it’s quite a daunting process and many don’t know how they want to do it,” Judith said.
“These cards are also a nice memento of their hand writing. Some mums also write ‘how to’ manuals with their thoughts and ideas about a whole range of topics they’d want their children to know or their partner to remember when raising their children.”
Judith also works with mums to record their biographies.
“Children may want to know things about mum’s life before she was a mum and often they don’t ask those questions until they’re older so we record her story for if or when they want to read it.
“Our mums expressed a desire to create something that will bring comfort and happiness to their children when they need it, and I believe these memory boxes do just that.”
Through your generous support, Mater Chicks in Pink continues to offer mothers diagnosed with terminal breast cancer a chance to create their own memory boxes.
How do you prepare to say goodbye to those you love?
Diagnosed at 45, Leanne's thoughts turned to her children.