Advice, please - what should I do?

Hi, I’m new on here and joined to try and gain some perspective on a decision I need to make…
I am no stranger to cancer or to loss - I lost my father to cancer 5 years ago and my oldest sister 3 years ago. Now I have been informed that my mother has stage 4 cancer. My quandry is that we have not spoken in nearly a decade (and it was a toxic relationship). Now a friend of my mother’s is trying to guilt trip me into contacting my mother. I have expressed that I would be most happy to hear from my mother (I feel strongly that, after all she did, which I won’t get into but trust me was pretty darn horrible, she should make the first move) but she has not contacted me and it has been nearly 2 months since I received the news via this same friend.
So… now I am unsure what to do. My mother did some awful things and it is she that cut me out of her life after I stood up to her. To put this in further context, my brother has not spoken to her for a decade, she fell out with her sister more than 25 years ago and they never spoke again (which cut me off from my aunt), none of her friends except one have ever stayed in her life and my father’s side of my family want nothing to do with her. I say this only to show that it is not just me that has had this issue (and my brother is in the same predicament as I).
Is it wrong to want her to reach out first? I can’t help feeling that, if she really wanted me in her life, she would? Even a text message? Right now, I am not feeling like I want to contact her at all - but I see-saw about the possibility of regretting this one day.
I would appreciate some advice, please.

Btw - I see all these posts on here about people missing their mothers and my heart breaks for them. Is it wrong to wish I had a mother I could miss that much?

hi Elle
I cannot begin to understand the relationships between a daughter and her mother.
most who come on here had stronger bonds than the norm with their mothers.
sadly we dont all feel the need to join this site over the loss of a close family member,
so please dont compare your relationship with your mother with those on here.
its sad that you had a fall out and im sorry that your relationship fell apart years ago.
you have got to do whats right for you,and sadly you are the only one who knows what the right thing to do in your eyes,i can say if you feel it will affect the whole of the rest of your life ,you may be best biting the bullet as they say and at least offering an olive branch and maybe show your mum some leniency for how she treated you,which caused your rift.
but in essence it doesnt matter what I or any one else suggests or feels you should do,as its your life only you know whats caused your fall out,me I might say well was it because you are very similar in personalities,you know like mother like daughter and this caused the start of your rift.sorry im just waffling on,no one on here can or would judge the decision you come up with.please feel free to release your inner emotions and clear your head,then hopefully you will come up with the correct decision which suits you.
sorry im of no real help.noticed your post a while back but thought some one else may of given a few words of comfort or help.


Ell, all I can say to you is that this is the one chance you will have to reconcile with your mother. When she has passed away, you will never have the opportunity to try and put it right.
I am the last one to talk, my younger sister hasn’t spoken to me for going on for 5 years, yet because of her words to me and her actions, I am not inclined to try and put things right.

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@Elle_c I can’t offer anymore than Mary or Ian and I can only empathise Mary’s point. Relationships are a lot of hard work - they are rarely like the movies. Not everyone has big close families who are all best friends with each other. Usually you have maybe 1 of those, mine was my Dad who I lost 6 months ago. One thing loss has taught me is that time is so relevant. Don’t ever wait till tomorrow to ‘maybe’ do something. Don’t ever put anything off. If something happens to your Mum, you will never have this opportunity to at least reach out and offer yourself again. I can tell you now you absolutely will regret it, if not now then some point down the line. Now I reflect on the most ridiculous things that I wish I could go back and make ‘right’. Things like, doing my Dad’s dishes more often. Washing his hair for him. Decorating, cleaning his shed. Things that don’t really matter but now they mean the world to you because you did it for them.
Don’t wait.

Good luck.


Hi. Elle_c. Welcome, and so sorry we missed your post.
It’s again one of those family relationship problems to which it’s so difficult to find a solution. I suggest you do make the first move. You could be feeling guilty after if something happens. Forgiveness is very difficult, and no matter what someone has done we need to forgive. If your approach is rejected then so be it. You will have done the right thing and that can bring some peace of mind later.
Families can hold grievances for decades which often appear unsolvable. But if your mother’s life is coming to and end you can make the first move. You realise that if you don’t you may regret it. I think you would. This kind of relationship is so difficult to give advice on without knowing all the circumstances.
No, it’s not wrong to wish you had a mother to love when others seem to have this closeness. There is no right or wrong in such situations because you will eventually be guided by your own sense. Give it some thought. Your mother may not be in a position to email you.
Take care.


Dear Elle (pretty name),
I am so sorry for the loss of your father and sister. While I dont know your particular situation I myself have had a problamatic relationship with my mother for years I loved her and doted on her but there were times because of my brother (v. toxic) that I had to walk away and my mum would fall out with me amoung lots of other things. I felt my mother stopped being a reliable mother to me at primary school. I did get a very close relationship with her on and off. But this means before I give any advice you will know that I have some understanding of difficult family situations.

My advice is simple contact your Mum not because of her friend guilt tripping you but because I read in your letter that you want to you really want to because you wished for a great mother daughter realtionship which you didn’t get. The real reason you need to contact her is for you, so that when she gets worse and eventually does die that you dont have regrets and put your self through major guilt and recriminations because after she is gone there is nothing that can be done. The thing is she may be scared to call you she may want to call you but she may feel guilty for what she has done in the past and is too scared to try to make up. She may just want to use you to help look after her but not really care about you. People are people cancer only exaggerates what was there before or it can give people a wake up call. It is not up to her to call you it is up to you to call her for your sake not hers. You need to find out what the situation is for your sake and for your future mind. You may have questions for her maybe you can sort some stuff out before she goes and that may give both of you some peace and it may not work out that way. Yes it would be great if it all did work out and maybe it wont. Make sure though that before contacting your mother that you have some support on your side be it from a partner or your brother or another family member on your dads side. Make sure if it doesn’t work out that you are not alone. Give her a chance and give yourself a chance and if it doesn’t work out then you have nothing to recriminate yourself for.

I know that you wish you had a mother you could miss that much, that shows me that you have a big heart. If you are married perhaps you could let your mother-in-law be a surrogate mother to you or maybe your dad had a sister that would only be too grateful to be there for you. If you have these people in your life already be proactive and grow the relationship. I know this will be hard for you because your own mother let you down and you probably feel that it is hard to trust others in this way. But take heart and look around you maybe you have someone in your life already that could be a surrogate mother to you.

You are stronger than you know, you can do this.

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Dear Elle,
Hope you don’t mind but have been thinking about you and how you have been doing since you last posted. Please if you can do give us an update. Thinking of you.