Before I die: a to-do list


I’m not sure whether I should write this, but here goes.
I have stage 4 cancer.


hi i am so so sorry!! i really hope you have so much love and support around you?? xx

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I don’t know how long I have left, my oncologist isn’t terribly forthcoming on this subject.

I live with my partner and my son, a little boy of 6. My son knows I have cancer, but it’s all a bit abstract for him. For my partner it’s a painful reality that I won’t be here one day, sooner than we both hope.

The reason I’m writing is simple: what should I do now to make things easier for my family after I’ve passed away?

I’m not suggesting this would make my death easier to bear but perhaps there are dispositions I should take while still alive and I honestly don’t have a clue.

I’m thinking about practical things, like bank accounts, bills, wills… but also sentimental things, like photos or videos.

What would you have wished for your partner to do or arrange before they passed?

Thank you for taking the time to read me.


I’m so sorry, this is so heart warming that you want to do this.

My friends husband wrote his children cards for their significant birthdays, weddings, etc so they have some thing from him on those days. For me, I would have loved a video of him telling me how much he loved me and what he would want for me in the future I had left. :cry:


What an almost impossible situation to contemplate, I am so sorry you are facing this and you are so thoughtful to be planning ahead in this way. There are many things that need organising such as bank accounts, phone, IT passwords other bills, cars, payments etc ……… on and on but most important relationships and loved ones, however do you begin to prepare them, I wish you love and prayers and strength, much love xx

@Soggycornflake my god my heart breaks reading this…
my husband was diagnosed out of the blue and from start of diagnosis he literally had 6 weeks, so i’m still trying to come to terms he even had cancer, let alone gone!
the oncologist who dealt with shaun was useless. he was let down so so much…
iv been left in a severe financial difficulty with 3 children to care for, not on amazing wage with work and shaun never had life insurance etc just because he didn’t think he needed it yet :disappointed: for me in fear every single day. but i will say i wish we just had so many more photos before he got really poorly and just spent as much time together as possible! because that’s all that matters right now!
you do not need to do anything!! just treasure each moment with your partner and son, they are priceless :heart:
maybe write some letters/cards!! because they will be kept forever and so needed…

i am literally sending you all my love and i wish i could say/do something to make things better for you xx


@Soggycornflake I am so sorry to read this… absolutely heartbreaking for you and your family. So unfair and cruel. You sound such a selfless person who wants the best for your husband and son.
There are some good ideas on here from writing cards, taking lots of photos and sorting out finances. Could you write a journal also about your life. Keep telling your family how much you love them… thinking of you and big hugs :two_hearts:


Scarl, sending love xx

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sending all my love to you too @Kathy6 always :heart: xx

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What a courageous and brave person you are to be thinking of your loved one’s at such a heartbreaking diagnosis.
I personally believe all the practical stuff is what helps the loved one’s left behind. It keeps them focused, functioning and protects them for a time of feeling the full weight of grief, however, it is different for everyone. I agree whole heartedly with @Ali29 that a video expressing your love and wishes for your family is something they will have for always. It is not always possible to say all what we would like to tell our loved one’s as we have no control over when our time will end. Most regrets everyone in life has is unspoken words.
Additionally writing cards for special events in their future. Most importantly though just treasure your time together and focus on remaining as well as you can x


I am so sorry you have had this diagnosis . I think anything you can do will be so helpful to your family . Videos and a few words including maybe a scrapbook for your son saying what you thought at each picture . I hope you have good family support . My best wishes to you

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@Soggycornflake so sorry to hear your news. You probably don’t want to hear this but you’re being very brave to ask these questions.

I’d agree with the others about videos and pictures. It’s a joy to still be able to hear a loved one’s voice.

But also practical things, that you “handle” in the house, maybe things like the washing machine or menu planning, or things around childcare. Sorry if that sounds a bit sexist.

Plus anything that you feel that you’d like at your funeral.

Sending you love and peace.


My husband didn’t know he was going to die. He hoped he would not
But I wished I had a video of him talking.
I wished he could have told me on a text how he was. Wish he had written down more things for me. But he didn’t want to go there really. I would love it if he had sent us all messages.
Afterlife is a good way to go. Ricky Gervais on Netflix where his wife leaves video messages behind

My wife had stage 4 cancer with a prognosis of 2 years. We became fully engaged in all the medical aspects of the diagnosis and questioned so much they asked us if we were medically trained. My wife used to tell people she was living with cancer, not fighting cancer and definitely not dying from it.
Now you’ve had your diagnosis you’ve started your journey, everybody’s journey is different. It’s up to you to control the journey and not let the journey control you. It’s a hard road by no mistake but one you can control. Make sure the health care you get provided with do things your way.

If you need to talk, talk dont hold back. There are unicorns out there that get through this. Look up the story of Judy Perkins in America and keep going.

Where there’s life there’s hope.



There’s a group on the Internet called stage 4 deserves more. It was a group my wife was part of. I don’t know for sure but you could look at joining that group. Lots of people with lots of advice on there.

I have such a huge amount of admiration for you. I’m so sorry you’re in this situation.


My wife was an organiser before she passed right upto her last day she was sending me emails with guarantees for white goods in the house.
On our laptop we have a couple of word docs that are password protected. My wife told me the password. Within the docs are all the passwords my wife used for all the accounts she had on line. Anything from Julie’s email right down to her Boots points card.
Julie also made the account that all the direct debits go out of a joint account, that way I didn’t need to set everything up again. I just needed to have Julie’s name removed from the account.
There was also a file headed my funeral (even though we had discussed what Julie wanted) this told me everything she wanted and what Julie wanted us to do after.
My wife loved to bake, I wasn’t allowed near the kitchen. There’s a file with all the recipes and methods that Julie used.

I hope some of this helps, if I can think of anything more I will post it.

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@Soggycornflake I’m so sorry you find yourself in this situation. I agree with the points others have made. My husband wrote his own eulogy which myself and my family found extremely helpful and touching. Information from his youth that I wouldn’t have known, down to the music he wanted. Instructions on who was to conduct the service etc. Lots of people commented on how it sounded just like him talking as it was in his own words. The family added to it to give our perspective. I will be eternally grateful he found the strength and mind set to do this. Take care and let your family know how much they are loved.

Write them letters, or keep a journal.
My dad loved to read and write, with him passing this year I’ve been reading his journals, and the emotional journey they take me on is overwhelming but so beautiful. Just to see his thoughts recorded in writing. To know the things he felt, how he perceived the world. His understandings, discoveries. It’s all there! And I feel so close to him when I read them. And the words always resonate at the right time!

Leave them a trail of your thoughts, and share memories from your childhood till adulthood. Leave words of wisdom, encouragement, support as if you’re there by their side. Paint a picture with your words, so you can live on forever in their memories.

Thinking of you, stay well :heart:

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Wherever you go, I hope you find peace. I don’t know you, but I wish you the best when it’s time. Until then, May god continue to give you the strength you need to keep fighting each day. Enjoy the little moments. You’re stardust - remember that. Take care xx