parent opinion

Lauren is terminally ill. She has a bittersweet plan for how she'll be a mum to her girls.

Facing a terminal illness at age 38, while raising two young children, is an unfathomable situation for many to comprehend. Unfortunately for Lauren, her husband Josh and their two daughters Charlotte and Isabella, this is their unfortunate reality.

Being diagnosed with metastasised Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2017 was the last thing Lauren expected and her subsequent diagnosis was the opposite of how she envisioned her life playing out.

Instead of the dreams of watching her children grow up and being actively involved within their lives, Lauren had to instead negotiate that this would not be a part of her future, or a part of theirs. At least not in person.

Not being one to sit by and let circumstance dictate the terms to her, Lauren took a proactive approach to ensure that she would be a part of her girls’ lives growing up and active in their development with a bit of assistance from technology.

One of the most significant things for Lauren to do now is to keep connected with her girls when she is undergoing treatment in hospital but most importantly, it is to put actions in place in order to keep her memory alive for when she is gone.

“I want all the important people in our lives to always talk to the girls about me when I am gone. I never want them to not know, not talk and not ask.”

leaving a legacy
Lauren and Josh's two daughters Charlotte and Isabella. Image: Supplied.

With the use of technology, Lauren is able to ensure that she can preserve memories, her thoughts, her values and even direct messages through two key pieces of technology which she says have been of great benefit to her along this journey.

The first is a teddy bear provided to Lauren by an organisation called, Mummy’s Wish.

“Mummy’s Wish gave the girls one bear each, so both Charlotte and Bella’s bears can have their own personalised message from me," she said.

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"It is very easy to do. When I go to hospital for my next stay it will give me an opportunity to record a message when the kids can’t come in. I can record my voice and tell them that I love them, and they can replay it as many times as they need.

“At the very end point, it means they will always have their own special place to hear my voice. I hope that my voice might act as a retrieval cue to more memories, particularly if they are still young when I die."

"It means they will always have their own special place to hear my voice." Image: Supplied.

As well as the Mummy’s Wish Teddy, Lauren has utilised an App called, RecordMeNow. Downloadable for free via the App Store. The app allows the user to record video based upon a variety of prompts.

The app was designed using the responses from 100 people who were under 16 when their parents died, who explained what they had wished their parents had answered for them, for support.

It is designed to make a lasting video legacy for family and loved ones, allowing people including Lauren to essentially make a video documentary about her own life but to also leave her views, reflections and advice on a range of topics and issues for her children to listen to.

Questions range from relationship ones, like who was your first boyfriend? To enquiries about what your childhood was like. Often, they are topics that may not be known to all those who will support the children left behind and in a way it can an information source that allows a special bond to be created between a parent who has passed away and their children.

Some messages and answers that Lauren records will be for immediately following her passing, others will be for when the girls to listen to when they are a bit older; like relationship advice, or suggestions for challenges the girls might face as they are growing up.

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