My fiancé's mum has terminal pancreatic cancer

Hi, I'm looking for some advice I think. 

Me and my partner have been engaged for a little over a year and our wedding is in 6 months (April 2024).  My fiancé's mum got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about 4 months ago and whilst the outlook didn't look good, there was some hope with chemo.  Fast forward and she was too unwell for chemo in the end and is now moving into the last stages. 

I'm really struggling with how to support him and his family, knowing that she isn't going to be at our wedding.  My fiancé doesn't want to change anything and neither does his mum.  But I don't know how to keep pretending everything's fine when its not.  We're finalising a lot of details at the moment which would normally be a happy and exciting time but now it just feels sad and whenever we sit down to talk about things I just know he's finding it really tough even though he doesn't say anything. 

I guess I just feel guilty about carrying on with planning it even though I know its not my fault and its what everyone says they want and I'm struggling with how to help him come to terms with it. 

  • Hello RG12345

    I'm so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law's diagnosis. It's undoubtedly a difficult time for you all and natural that it is adding some sadness to what should be a happy process of wedding planning. 

    Never underestimate the strength that someone can gain from having a supportive partner when a loved one is in the final stages of their life. I'm sure that your fiance values the love and support that you give to him and also to his Mum at this difficult time. So just carry on doing what you're already doing and remember that communication is key. 

    I'm not sure if you've had a conversation with your mother-in-law, or your fiance, about ways that she, or the two of you, might like to include her memory during the wedding. It might be something obvious like the inclusion of a photograph or in the speeches. It could be something subtle such as including her favourite flowers in the button holes or bouquets, or perhaps a poem. It might be a way to open up a dialogue with your partner to talk about how you're both feeling about the wedding and your mother-in-law. 

    I hope that you have a wonderful wedding day, and whilst there may be moments of sadness, I'm sure she would want you both to celebrate the love you have for each other. 

    Sending you all my best wishes, 
    Cancer Chat moderator