My beloved son

Hi Sue, I can tell you were (and still are) very proud of James. We will always be proud of our boys.
My son Oliver was 49, so I guess I was lucky to have him for nearly 50 years - but I don’t feel lucky. He was my firstborn (I was very young) and I was so thrilled to have him. I loved being a mum.
My husband died suddenly in 2005, and although that was a sad time, I had my three children to help me get through it. We all supported each other. But losing Oli is a greater pain to bear - as you say “the worst scenario”. I have a nice partner who is very kind to me and my family, but I still feel very alone. Also, I hate to see my son and daughter grieve - they loved their brother so much.
I follow another thread on the Sue Ryder Online Bereavement Community - it is called “Loss of our son aged 27” where other people write about the much-loved sons and daughters they have lost.
It is good to share thoughts and feelings. People who are further on in their grief journey sometimes offer words of hope and encouragement. We have to keep going for our other loved ones. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. Thank you, Dee and Jenna, for your comments. I wish you all well. Susan J. x


Yes Susan, sometimes it’s an effort to put one foot in front of the other. I can’t think straight and my house keeping skills have gone to the dogs!! I’m not sleeping, constantly got the vision of my dying son in my head. I find myself just looking out of the window at the sky asking why?
My granddaughter is 2 and half, she thinks Daddy will come back as a bumble bee and James paints the sky with a big ladder and makes beautiful sunrises.
We are taking our motorhome next week to visit my daughter in law and help with DIY. It will be very hard, I havnt been in motorhome since my 7 week stay in it when I was watching him deteriorate daily and caring for him till he died. I’ve done caring on and off for the last 40 years but never experienced my own child so poorly , that’s something else.
I had a tattoo!! I hate tattoos with a passion and we used to discuss my dislike of them, he didn’t have any, but because of this I had a starfish on my wrist! I wanted to make him chuckle if he’s looking down on me. We had memories of orange starfish on a beach in Tenby when he was 8 and often talked about it.
I touch it and imagine he’s laughing, he will always be with me. I just loved him unconditionally :heart:
I have lost a lot of friends with cancer, it’s a wicked disease!
Love to all fellow parents on here. Sue xx


Susie this is an exact copy of my son who died 2 October same way funeral was Wednesday
Feel I cannot live even don’t want to get out of bed feel so I’ll
However I promised to look after his wife and boys so am trying hard it’s youngest boys birthday Monday dreading it but it’s important
Realise will ne er be same ans like u I feel my life is over
Anne x


Oh Anne I’m so sorry for your loss. How old was your son? Was it melanoma? I am at my daughter in laws now for a few days. Its 3 hours journey away so its been difficult to come back here since the funeral. We have wept a lot. Our lives have changed forever. The local paper did a piece about him as he was a fireman so I have a copy but havnt been able to look at it yet. Its a wicked disease, he was such a fit young man. I question the meaning of it all. I consider myself a good old fashioned parent who prioritised both I my children always. As long as they were healthy abx happy I was content. I’m absolutely shattered but it’s a little easier to live with 8 weeks later. James’s birthday is Xmas Eve, he would be 39 so that is going to be really tough. We will never get over it Anne but need to be so strong for our surviving loved ones. I will talk to you anytime and perhaps can help each other. Kind regards Sue. X


I also want to extend my sympathy to you at this terrible time. Your loss is so very recent and I know the pain is unbearable.
I understand when you say you want to look after your son’s wife and boys. This is so important, as it’s something you can do for your son, and will help you through your grief. I wonder how old the children are?
My son Oliver died 6 months ago, leaving a lovely wife and a son (13) and a daughter (9). I try to support them. We’ve been through Father’s Day, then his little girl’s birthday (she is now 10) and various other occasions. Each one is difficult, especially the date of Oli’s birthday, when we all came together as a family. Next it will be his son’s birthday - early November. And after that, Christmas. I don’t know how we will get through that, but we must. We have to be strong for each other.
At the moment, Anne, you must be exhausted. Take care of yourself and you will gradually start to feel a little stronger. We all have to look after each other. I hope you have friends and other family members to help you. Your daughter-in-law and grandchildren will be so glad to have your love and support, but right now you probably don’t feel like doing anything. It’s so hard, I know. Please keep in touch via this site, it may help you to communicate with others who understand your pain.
With love and kind wishes - SusanJ. x

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You are so kind for responding as I feel so alone even with people you really can only understand if u walk that road. It was myeloma and he becameso very I’ll from a strong handsome chap he was paralysed and bed ridden two and a half years ago and has been very ill ever since but did get some feeling back
He was 52 and died peacefully with family
His wife and I cared for him throughout
The hole he has left will never close and his boys have been so brave but are suffering
It is early days but nothing will change the bond we had
I was very young and we grew u together he has always been a rock
Please don’t take this the wrong way but whilst I would wish no one else to experience this I am so grateful to speak to someone who understands thank you anne


You’re right Anne, noone can possibly understand unless they’ve been through it. To look after someone who has always been strong, healthy, funny and to watch the deterioration is indescribable. I’m very sad that his daughter is only two snd a half and wont remember him. She was an ivf baby and was so wanted, he adored her and was diagnosed when she was 6 weeks old. He worked through his pain to take her on adventures which he videod , up the mountains, swimming, zoo, forest. I think he knew even though he fought well, that he would eventually lose the battle. I’m still in disbelief, I thought he was invincible. We had a lovely week away in Menorca, 8 of us, early May which so grateful for. :pray:


Just a quick reply from me, too. Outliving your children is the wrong way round - and seeing them decline, as we did with our sons, is terrible. My boy was so brave and we had to be brave too. We were with him when he died, and I felt relieved that his suffering was over - but oh, we miss him terribly.
It still doesn’t seem real. He was so lively, so full of life and love and kindness, I was so proud of him (I still am).
It’s hard to keep going, but we must. Be kind to yourselves. :broken_heart:

Definitely the wrong way round and each one of us would have swapped places with our boys to have let them live their lives and see their children grow up. I’m weeping now at the realisation of it all. Thank you for sharing. Xx


I’ve just read all these heartbreaking stories from the moms who have lost their children. I don’t know why this site drew my attention yesterday. I guess the word grief. I posted my son Joey’s tale on another thread - don’t now how one can crossmatch - I’m new to this site.

But I can see all the anguish and terrible grief that you all have too. I’ve always considered myself, and all my friends and family have too, that I am a strong woman. I held my self together throughout my son Joey’s 16-month battle against metastisized testicular cancer - especially during the last months when two lung operations, a 50-day stint in a university hospital for high density chemo and an autologous stem cell transplant, a week in an induced coma in the ICU, still didn’t kill off the diabolical cancer. Throughout it all he stayed as positive as possible, but when just a few weeks ago in hospital again they said it had speed to his brain, then he knew it was the end. He was so so so very brave. From the beginning of his ‘cancer’ journey’ as he called it, he chronicled it on Youtube with a Norwegian friend from his film school days in London. It’s called Having a Ball with Joseph Barnes. His positivity shines out from it. His purpose was to bring more awareness ti testicular cancer and early diagnosis. If he’d been diagnosed earlier, he’d surely be with us here still.

But the last days were terrible, The pain was even worse than it had been, and since it had been in his bones it has always been unbearable. Now he is gone, we gave him an incredible celebration of his life ceremony, attended by hundreds and hundreds of people. He was single but had so very many friends. He was loved and admired throughout our community.

Since the ceremony was over and family returned home, I am in the deepest pit of depression I ever imagined possible. I’ve never ever been depressed before in my life. It’s not in my nature. Sad, sure, like everyone else. But this is overwhelming. I have no interest in anything. I’ve not left my bed for 5 days now. I’m lucky, I suppose, that I have hours and hours of his wonderful video blog to look at on Youtube over and over again - most of his friends can’t, neither can my husband - but as many were filmed in my living room, I feel like he should still be there. I re-read his thousands of text messages but some of them make me feel guilty - when I was angry with him about something, when I gave him heck for something - he was an incredible procrastinator. My other son tells me this is normal. Moms are supposed to tell their kids off at times and that’s ok. We always ‘apologised’ soon after. Yet I wish I still had the opportunity to hold him in my arms one more time and say to him how much I love him - that I am sorry for anything I may have said to him in the past that was hurtful, and that I have always been so so proud of him. Sure, I said it all the time, all the time that I loved him but now I never can again. I feel like I am gong mad with grief. A few of my friends have been in touch and suggested I go for a walk with them by the lake, but I can’t. I’m glued to my bed. My husband is no doubt as grief-stricken as I am yet he’s going on and doing what needs to be done, doing the cooking - although our home looks like an atomic bomb has been dropped on it. Who cares about a clean house when you have a dead son? I miss him so terribly and just don’t see there’s a point in anything anymore.

A few days before he died he put his arms around me in his hospital bed , hugged me as all his pikk lines and other IV stuff allowed, and said he was sort for making me so sad and that he knew I’d always be sad but he had to leave. He didn’t want to leave and he was scared, scared of dying. I should then have comfort him so much more but I don’t know if I did. Twelve days ago when the doctors realised that putting him through more tests and radiotherapy - supposedly to stop the pain for a while so they might buy him a little more time. my husband, elder son and I sat right up close to him, holding his hands and we said it was OK to go. He was heavily sedated by the docs said he probably heard us. We told him we lived him and then he died minutes later. He was 41 - with more than half if his life unlived.

He was single, but he’d frozen his sperm before undergoing his orchiectomy and chemo, not being sure if perhaps he might like children along the line. He was lovely with his friends kids. Some of you have grandchildren to help give your life more meaning again. I have none. And that too is something I will surely turn for the rest of my life.

How do we do this? How do parents who have lost their children go on with life? It will NEVER be the same again.


I don’t know what to say as my hurt is the same we went through so much together I loved him and always will
We sent two nights with him when he died talking to him and believing he could hear is . We had the funeral and people came so many and cards and money for research
Then yesterday it was his youngest sons birthday and I made a huge effort that nearly killed me and sobbed after everyone left

I am having trouble getting out of bed and facing life and carry on I feel so heart broken and keephaving to remember again he has gone
The pain is awesome and we have Christmas to get through must live a day at a time an hour at a time
I feel all the same guilt trips as everyone else and that there is no point in life but my grandsons need my help and my lovely daughter in law who are all bereft
Thank you for listening I fear being boring but it’s who I am now x


Hi Joeys Mum, I was just in the shower weeping like a demented idiot and looked at my phone and saw your post. I can’t help much but can identify with every tiny thing you are saying. It’s 8 weeks since my son ousted away, bank holiday Monday 12 40am, I wake up at that time every day and then am awake till I get up. I move into the spare bed where he used to come and stay with his wife and little daughter. I ask myself what is the point but I have to try and be strong for my daughter, my 2 granddaughters, my husband, my daughter in law. I just want to be on my own all the time and James is just there in my head . He was 38 and had everything in front of him. Superfit, kind, adventurous, modest, funny. As a parent it’s the worst outcome. I’m dreading Xmas, he would be 39 Xmas eve. I can’t read the cards I got fro.m many friends and family, they are in a memory box waiting to be read. Hundreds of photos I can’t bear to look at. He just wanted to be a good Daddy to one very precious ivf baby girl. It saddens me she will never see him. His funeral was a fitting tribute as he was a fireman and tree surgeon and their home town of the last 7 years in North Wales gave him a wonderful send off. So many local people he had made an impact on.
I know, Joeys mum, we could talk about our beloved sons all day. Unless you have shared this experience noone can imagine the pain. His wife and I promised him we would look after him at home when the melanoma spread into his brain, which we did, but I am completely traumatised by the experience. My big strong boy was reduced to being a baby again. My life has changed forever and I will go to my grave with a broken heart. The hardest thing is trying to be normal for everyone else.
I’m so sorry Joeys Mum. Sending love. One hour at a time is my philosophy. :heart::broken_heart:


Hi Mary 3 , you describe exactly how I feel. It’s so hard. I sob all the time especially when I’m on my own. When you are strong in front of others I think they think you’re over it!! Little do they know how we really feel. So sorry Mary and if you’re boring so am I. :sleepy::heartpulse:


Hi Mary, just a short post to see how you’re coping. I must say nearly 9 weeks since James died anx the sadness I feel seems to have got worse. My friends keep telling me to see my GP, what can they do? Us it right to take drugs to ease this pain, I’ve never been one for GP visits or drugs! Me and my family have always in the past been proud if our healthy status. The amount of drugs James had in the last 2+ years has been phenomenal. Did they prolong his life and give us extra time with him? I don’t know, do they really think they can eventually get a cure ? Immunotherapy was the new innovation, he went through so many treatments hooked up to a drip, and with many different side effects, but it didn’t stop it. I just can’t stop seeing his little thin, old man face at the end, every time I close my eyes. My big strong boy reduced to this. I’m so sad.:sleepy::broken_heart:


Sue, I’m so sad too. I think of my boy’s face after he had died. I kissed him and held him.
Six months on, those moments haunt me.
I don’t know if medication would help, as nothing can bring back our loved ones.
Yesterday I received a catalogue through the post from the National Brain Appeal. They are selling Christmas cards etc., including a beautiful advent calendar designed by my son Oliver. There is a little piece about him saying “Oliver was a talented artist…”
I was in floods of tears, but I am so proud of him.
Today is another day. I’m going out now. For me, it helps to go out, though sometimes I want to hide away. We just have to keep going somehow. It helps a little to share this sorrow.
Thank you for listening. Wishing you all well - SusanJ :broken_heart:

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I had a really bad night last night I only take sleeping pills but still did not sleep and every scene kept replaying in my head
I feel guilty over everything yet I did all in my power but as a mum I feel u should have prevented so silly of m
Living is so hard
It’s not getting through it as this is now my new normal and I hate it
Just wish I could stop crying but early days
Thinking of you all


I think we are all the same. I walk my dog a lot, aimlessly just taking in the sunshine and fresh air. James was a real outdoor person and autumn was his favourite time. My husband doesn’t rely get it, James was not his son but he was very fond if him, i think he thinks its something one can get over quickly. :thinking: I can identify with everything replaying in your head, that’s the biggest problem and I keep saying to myself he’s never gunna walk into my house again and open the fridge door!! If the fridge was full my husband always used to say “is your James coming?”. He loved food of all varieties. I was glad I was able to make his favourite fish pie while he could still eat. I made sure it was full of salmon and prawns and hard boiled egg! I can hear him saying “that’s exactly how I wanted it Mum”, his wife doesn’t eat or touch fish! :unamused:
To be reduced to drinking milk shake out of a baby cup near the end was heartbreaking. I’d watched him chop an 85foot tree down in my garden 3 years ago!!
Indescribably sad, will I ever laugh again?:pensive::sleepy:


Hi everyone - I’ve read all your latest posts and I’m so sorry that you’re all grieving and feeling so much sorrow for your lost children. We belong to a highly exclusive club no one wants to belong to but to which fate has given us a life-time membership.

I wanted to share something with you that gave me a glimmer of hope, even though my sweet son Joey only died two weeks ago today and my grief is like an open festering sore at the moment. Since the funeral last week i haven’t left my bed except for a quick trip to my GP yesterday. And that was horrific - everything, even the corner store I passed on the way, reminded me of Joey and made me want to howl in pain.

Anyway, as I think I mentioned before, my son started a videoblog chronicle of his cancer journey right after he was diagnosed 16 months ago - on YouTube and all other social media platforms: Having a Ball. It is informative yet also wickedly funny, taking a lot of stigma away from his lesser-known cancer. His sidekick is a Norwegian friend from their London film school days. I consider Andreas as my third son (from another mother). His intentions are to set up a foundation, and he’s working hard at making it global. It will be my son’s legacy, which will hopefully provide me with some solace and a sense of purpose further down the road. But much further down the road as all I can do these days is cry, scream and miss my beautiful son so much.

Sorry, I’m being long-winded. Here’s the reason for my post: Andreas sent me the following message from his stepfather - translated from Norwegian (thanks Google translate):

« He also lost his daughter to cancer when she was 23 (that was 20 years ago this year). He said that getting overwhelmed with sorrow and grief after having to “hold it together for so long” (editorial note: he’s referring to Joey’s cancer journey, on which I accompanied him daily - especially the last his-awful months of hideous suffering, by trying to remain positive) is perfectly normal. It is completely natural to have a reaction of just wanting to scream, cry and wallow in sorrow under the covers. No one would expect anything less. Knut (the stepfather, a retired small town Norwegian GP) said it’s «healthy to grieve». That just means there was deep, abiding love.

He recommended, in due time of course, when the pain is not so raw, to try to develop a sort of mental “grieving room”. A sort of place where you enter in your mind every now and again when you feel the need to be angry, sad or heartbroken, but not a “room” you can spend all your time in. He said it’s not fair towards yourself, your nearest or the one you’ve lost to spend all your time grieving. That room will ruin you if you spend all your time in it. Instead, go out into ‘the rest of the house’ where you can “see” your son through all the beautiful memories you have of him, times when you were happy together, where he will bring gladness to your heart and not sorrow. After all, he will always be in your heart and part of you. By all means, this is further down the line, but at some point “forcing” yourself to step outside the grieving room and allowing those near to you to be there for you (which they obviously want to do), or simply distract yourself by doing something you love, or potentially something Joseph used to love, is once again, “healthy”.

But for now, listen to the grief and do whatever feels natural »

A very thoughtful message that gave me a little solace, as I hope it will you. Sending you all heartfelt positive vibes :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Am trying to upload three pictures. The first one is of Andreas (on the left, Joey on the right, 5 months ago; the second is of my son and I, 2.5 days before he died, and the last one is of my healthy, handsome, witty son a few years ago). Hope my downloads worked.

image|653x500 image|360x500 image|355x500


Thank you Joeys mum, I have watched some of your sons YouTube posts and the eulogy from Andreas. So moving. Yes we are all members of this club which none of us wanted to be in. My son also used fb to show his progression with the cancer in which he was very positive and posted many videos of his adventures with little Jess in his backpack or on his bike. I can’t look at them yet nor read any of his messages to me, I hope that will come in time.
As it is I am pleased I have someone to share my grief with and hope we continue to communicate. I have been to town today and got an application for hospice charity shop and hope that will provide me with some sort of outlet where I can stop myself dwelling and be more positive if I can be part of helping somewhere. Love to all. :heart:


That’s an excellent plan, Susie. A hospice charity shop. How long has it been since your son died? Are you able to do such things yet?

It’s the inertia right now that is so crippling. My husband brought me tea in bed this morning, then called me to the kitchen table for a bowl of pumpkin soup around lunchtime. The rest of the time I just spend in bed.

I live in the French part of Switzerland, on the lake of Neuchâtel. This time of year we often get thick fog. A friend of mine, who lives 30 minutes away but away from the lake, up in the Jura, said it was brilliant sunshine up there today and urged me to go up with her. No way! The thick grey fog suits my mood much more . I don’t see the point in trying to look for nice things when I’m feeling so so low! It’s only been two weeks.

I do watch Joey’s videos though. I adore them. The one I just watch was from November 2021, when he was set to have an RPLND operation that was supposed to clean up the lymph nodes on his spine and lead to full recovery. His videos were always chockablock full of pop cultural & movie references. This hilarious episode was full of Paul Simon. It breaks my heart to see how up and positive he was, how he thought 2022 would bring an end to his cancer journey. It did - but with his death.

I’m crying buckets of tears as I write this. I miss him do much! :cry::cry::cry::broken_heart::broken_heart::broken_heart:

Yes, Susie, please keep the messages coming.
Annemarie :kissing_heart: