Caregiving as a teenager for a parent with terminal cancer (Linda’s story)

In this video, Linda M. talks about caring for her mom during the last year of her life and how emotionally difficult that was to do as a teenager

Watch as Linda talks about her experience over 30 years ago and being a 17-year-old caregiver for her mom during the last year of her life. Since Linda’s parents were divorced, she and her brother were living with their mom when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The two children did their best during that year, but it was extremely difficult and painful.

Linda shares how she wasn’t mature enough to cope with the situation and then the overwhelming grief. She didn’t have other support and ended up being grateful that she didn’t know her mom was going to die until the very end. Linda also shares how she had to forgive herself for the guilt she felt about not doing certain things, like a goodbye conversation.

I had lots of guilt, for probably two decades, and then I realized I was a 17-year-old. What would one expect? So, I had to forgive myself and that was fairly intentional because I did have guilt for many years.

I think stress comes out and it’s not, we’re not always honorable in that experience. And why should we be? Welcome to the human race.

Watch the video of Linda M. talking about caregiving as a teenager

The Partnership’s Person-Centred Perspective initiative is committed to improving the patient experience. We are working with partners across Canada to find the best ways to offer a person-centred perspective throughout a person’s cancer journey and to help information flow throughout. The impact of a cancer diagnosis goes far beyond the physical disease. It affects every aspect of a person’s life. The initiative has focused on reporting about the patient experience, and giving health-care providers patient-centred tools and resources, which have been validated and standardized.

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