I remember the phone call when Mum told me that she had breast cancer. She told me that the doctors had given her 6 months to live.

So many thoughts went through my head. Was it anything that I had done? What was going to happen to her? Will I get it? Why did this happen to my Mum? I was 19 years old – my mum was 43.

After 12 years of treatment, Mum was admitted to hospital on the 8th May 2006. I received a phone call from my dad while at work.

He said to me “she won’t be coming out this time” – I was shocked to hear my Dad say that – this is my Mum, his wife that he was talking about.

I was going to visit Mum that weekend anyway for Mother’s Day, but decided to take the Friday off work.

It was a 4 hour drive to Newcastle. I stopped at Ourimbah (about 20 mins from Dad’s place) when I received a phone call from my brother. He said “Dad’s just gotten the phone call – what do I do?”.

Here I was, still at least an hour from the hospital, and my brother had asked me what to do.

My heart sank. I told him “get yourself to the hospital – I will be there as fast as I can”. I am sure I broke some land speed record to get to my Dad’s place where my Aunty was waiting for me. She drove me to the hospital and I saw Mum.

My mum was a fighter, not this lady lying helpless in the bed, who had lost so much weight, could not breath or move by herself and was yellow because her liver and kidneys were shutting down.

I hugged my Mum. I knew at that moment she would not make it through the weekend.

The oncologist came in to assess her, and he told us “we can fill her full of drugs, but it’s not going to help”. My Dad, my brothers and I decided that after 12 years of radiation, chemo, drugs, losing her hair and hospital visits, enough was enough.

At 5.30am, Mother’s Day, 14th May, 2006, my Mum passed away aged 55.

She never got to see her children marry.

She never got to see other grandchildren come into the world.

Every Mother’s Day I write a poem for my Mum because Mother’s Day is not the same anymore.

My mum was not only a mum, but a wife, an aunty, a nana, a friend, a neighbour and a work colleague.

Breast cancer not only affects the person with the cancer, it affects so many other people in so many different ways.

That is why I participate in the Mother’s Day Classic, it helps make Mother’s Day meaningful again.

By Karyn Thompson, who will take part in the Mother’s Day Classic in honour of her mother Colleen on Sunday May 8. Register or donate at Mothersdayclassic.com.au

Main image source: Shutterstock

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  • Im sorry for your loss. I can’t really relate, but I can imagine how hard it would be to lose someone as special as your mum.


  • Hugs to you. I can’t imagine what it is like to lose your mum. I participate in the mothers day classic for a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s not discriminative at all.


  • What an incredible story and beautiful ode to your mother. You must miss her so much. Love to you x


  • I too had my mum die too young. I hate to say I lost her because I feel that means I’ll never find her & I take comfort from knowing that I just need to look at the brightest star above my home to know she’s watching over my family & I. While I was lucky & mum saw my sister & I married & got to see 3 of the 4 grandchildren she only ever remembered the eldest as Alzheimers took her memory away & eventually away from us at aged 59. Yes special times of the year (Christmas, birthdays & Mother’s Day) are difficult more so sometimes because her birthday was 8 May which combined with her birthday/Mothers’s Day. Please take some comfort, however small in knowing your mum would have been with you & your family on special moments in your lives & is watching & keeping you safe.


  • So very sorry for your loss :-(
    My mum passed away in 2009 and l still cry on Mother’s day, her Birthday, Christmas, anniversaries etc, the pain never stops, it just eases.


  • Heartbreaking story. I think often that I honestly don’t know how I’d cope without my mum.


  • It is always so tragic and distressing watching your loved ones fighting for their lives and not able to win. People can sometimes suffer from this disease for years before they succumb. Go from being a normal size to skin and bones and struggle for months or years.


  • My Mum was give 3mths….she battled for 7 years and proved the Doctors wrong. At the 5 year mark we really thought she had won and would live to a grand old age but it wasnt to be.


  • So sorry for your loss Karyn xx


  • Cancer is such an insidious disease, stealing our loved ones away from us piece by piece. It’s horrible to watch them fade away, sometimes it’s quick sometimes it’s dragged out. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t know someone who has had cancer, it’s so prevalent


  • I’m very sorry for your loss karyn. Cancer is terrible.


  • Sorry for your loss Karyn. Cancer sure affects many people in so many different ways. May we stand around those who lost loved ones in the cancer battle and never take life and loved ones for granted.


  • I can’t imagine losing my Mum. Your story has certainly made me reflect on how amazing and wonderful my Mum is. We also do the Mother’s Day classic, to not only celebrate my Mum but all those other Mums out there.


  • Touching and Heartbreaking. May the Mums who have left this world be remembered this Mothers Day with fondness, love and joy.


  • I feel so sad after reading this. And this time of year for a lot of people like yourself it must be very difficult.


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