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How to prepare for the death of a parent

12 May 2021 16:51

Hi all,

I've recently found out that my dad has liver cancer for the third time and will need chemotherapy again. The prognosis isn't great, particularly as he's in the 70+ age bracket. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to prepare mentally and emotionally for the death of a parent. I am only 20 so none of my friends have gone through this before, and I feel quite alone in it. I am at university at the moment and not sure whether I should come home immediately to make the most of my time with him, or whether I should try and distract myself with work and uni mates - especially as he could still have years left. But it's all feeling like things are slowly winding down for him. He spoke to me today about his will and creating a joint bank account. I feel so completely ill equipped to deal with it when it does happen, and lost. 

thanks for the support,


How to prepare for the death of a parent

12 May 2021 21:12 in response to emma66

Hi Emma

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost my Dad almost two years ago now to a rare form of brain cancer. I had a very understanding employer who was able to sign me off so that I could spend time with him in his final days. It was really tough watching him deteriorate as his condition worsened but we also got to make some great memories in the lead up to it.

My only sibling, my brother, lives abroad and wasn't able to spend as much time with our Dad. It was tough for both of us in different ways. I'm sorry to say that no matter what you choose, things will be hard going. BUT, I still wouldn't trade the last seven months from diagnosis to my dad's passing for anything. I think my brother found the opposite to be the case where he just couldn't face the situation. This is such a personal choice. I'm racked with guilt (and this is natural) but ultimately I feel that I made the right choices at the right time with the information we had. 

I'd suggest that you go with what feels right to you in your gut. I hope things look up for your dad, but if they don't, please don't beat yourself up with what-ifs. They rarely help. It might sound like a cliche but please remember to take care of yourself as well. No matter what you decide, you'll be most use to your Dad if you are at 100% (or as close as possible).

Take care