Five Things I learnt while caring for my terminally ill mother, by Erin Dean.

Erin and her mum holding hands

Erin and her mum holding hands


1. Use the rest of your time together to build memories. You have the opportunity to be purposeful with your remaining time together. Celebrate life until the end.

2. Many people will shy away from your sadness. Appreciate those that show up to care for you and your loved one because it truly does take a village.

3. When your employer gives you the time needed to provide care or be present in the end, just take it. Don’t question it. Don’t feel guilty. Just be present with your loved one.

4. Grief is different for everyone. My grief is different than my sister’s and different than my dad’s but that is not an indication of who loved my mother more. Accepting this early on lessened feelings of resentment and kept us close, through her illness and her death.

5. The ‘firsts’ without your loved one will be hard. Some of these you will expect, like your first Mother’s Day, but others will blindside you. You won’t always be prepared for these moments.

Erin Dean

About Erin Dean
Erin Dean’s mother was unexpectedly diagnosed with gastric cancer at the age of 50. Erin became one of her mom’s primary caregivers until her death at the age of 53. Erin has since taken an interest in reading and learning about how people navigate through their grief after the loss of a loved one, as a way to better understand her own experience with loss. You can follow Erin on Instagram.