The wish list of a dying mother: Cancer sufferer leaves husband the 100 things … – Daily Mail

The wish list of a dying mother: Cancer sufferer leaves husband the 100 things he must do with their two young sons… and tells him to ‘find another woman’

By Claire Ellicott
Last updated at 9:54 AM on 1st October 2010

Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Kate Greene had to come to terms with the fact that she would not see her young sons grow up.

But, determined to be an ongoing presence in their lives, she drew up a ‘mummy’s manual’ of more than 100 instructions, hopes and ambitions for her two boys to read after her death.

Mrs Greene, who died at the age of 37 following a two-year battle with breast cancer, wanted Finn, four, and Reef, six, to visit a Welsh beach where she holidayed as a child, attend an international rugby match and go to Switzerland, where her husband St John proposed to her.

Kate Greene with her sons Reef and Finn

Devoted mother: Kate Greene with her sons Reef and Finn on holiday

St John and Kate with their sons Reef and Finn on a trip to Disney World, Florida. Kate's 'to'do' list requests that her husband takes the boys there again

St John and Kate with their sons Reef and Finn on a trip to Disney World, Florida. Kate’s ‘to’do’ list requests that her husband takes the boys there again

She outlines basic principles she wants Mr Greene, 44, to instil in the boys, such as to be always on time, to treat girlfriends with respect and to make up after a row.

She also makes it clear that they should never smoke, ride motorbikes or join the Armed Forces.

Other instructions are heartbreakingly simple. She asks her sons to find their own four-leaf clover, learn to play a musical instrument and grow sunflowers.

St John Greene with his sons Finn (left) and Reef on the beach in Clevedon - a favourite spot of their mother Kate

St John Greene with his sons Finn (left) and Reef on the beach in Clevedon – a favourite spot of their mother Kate

She also notes things she liked, such as walks on the river bank and learning butterfly and bird names.Selflessly, she even urges her husband to find another woman so the boys have a female influence.

Mr Greene plans to tick off all the wishes, and has already fulfilled some, including buying a dining table for the family to eat round and building a playroom extension for their home in Clevedon, Somerset.

The ex-paramedic, who now runs an outdoor pursuits company, met his future wife, an insurance underwriter and part-time scuba diving teacher, in 1984.

Tragedy first struck in December 2005, when Mrs Greene was pregnant with Finn. Doctors found a tumour in Reef’s abdomen.

Given a 6 per cent chance of survival, he had intensive chemotherapy then surgery to remove the tumour, which damaged nerves in his legs.

StJohn and Kate on their wedding day in 1996. The devoted mother left a touching 'to do' list of over 100 instructions for raising their two young sons

StJohn and Kate on their wedding day in 1996. The devoted mother left a touching ‘to do’ list of over 100 instructions for raising their two young sons

Doctors warned that he might never walk again but, incredibly, he recovered and the cancer went into remission.

Then in April 2008, Mrs Greene found a lump in her left breast. She underwent 18 months of chemotherapy, but doctors told her the disease had spread too far and her treatment was stopped.

Her condition deteriorated and two months later she needed oxygen tanks at home to survive. She died in January this year.

Croke Park Stadium in Dublin: Kate told her husband he must take her sons there to see Ireland play England in the Six Nations rugby

Croke Park Stadium in Dublin: Kate told her husband he must take their sons there to see Ireland play England in the Six Nations rugby

Mr Greene said: ‘I think towards the end we both knew Kate’s time was up. We’ve known each other since we were children and didn’t need to say the words. We just knew.

‘Then one night she became really frightened she wouldn’t make it through the night, we stayed up chatting and at about 4am we drew up the wish list of things I had to do with the boys. Before I knew it, there were over three sides of A4.’

The family fulfilled a number of Mrs Greene’s final wishes before she died, such as visiting Santa in Lapland, going to Disney World in Florida and seeing a pantomime.

Mr Greene, who said each item on the list helped him remember his ‘soulmate’, said yesterday: ‘Losing Kate was more devastating than words can describe but by carrying out all the wishes on the list we still have an emotional tie.’

Picture of a list left by Kate Greene.

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Comments (174)

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omw the tears in my eyes after reading this….so sad what a wonderful thoughtful woman

– Shanna, South Africa, 01/10/2010 15:11

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I know I have already commented, but feel I have comment after reading some of the heartless and insensitive comments on here. First of all, no disrespect to those in the armed services, I come from a military family myself, when you sign up you know that you will have to sacrifice your life, and it may be cut short. This mother just wanted to keep her sons safe, and to spare the heartache

Secondly, this woman was dying, she has no control over her fate, she will never see her beloved sons grow up into young men, this is her way of trying to make an influence in their lives, so that she is not forgotton. You walk a mile in her shoes first, before making such hartless comments. The father sounds like a sensible man, I expect he will use his good judgement to parent the boys how he sees fit, and use this list as a guide, not rules set in stone.

– Isabel, Bucks, 01/10/2010 14:47

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God bless her. May she rest in peace. God will always be with your family and you. 🙂

– Abigail, Surrey, 01/10/2010 14:43

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My mom passed away last November from cancer, which she battled for 5 years and I’m 28. This article brought a tear to my eye….I think the list was a great idea. I think the 2 boys will get immense comfort from it when they are older and get a sense of how much she loved them. Of course it will never be enough…..no list will make up for their loss…and they are too young to probably even remember or realise how much they meant to her. Im sure their Father will try to fill the void left, but nothing compares to a Mother’s love. My heart goes out to them….I hope they find some solice in the list she’s left behind.

– Ciara, Galway, Ireland, 01/10/2010 14:30

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My sister died of cancer 4 years ago when she was barely 40, she left two children aged 9 and 11. We are still finding loving notes and poems interspersed in the childrens books even now, just telling them how much she loved them and that she would be looking over them.
This beautiful story reminds me so much of her and her strength of character and how she coped with her thoughts in those last dark days. May god bless this family.

– Peter, Southampton, 01/10/2010 14:20

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My sister died of cancer 4 years ago when she was barely 40, she left two children aged 9 and 11. We are still finding loving notes and poems interspersed in the childrens books even now, just telling them how much she loved them and that she would be looking over them.
This beautiful story reminds me so much of her and her strength of character and how she coped with her thoughts in those last dark days. May god bless this family.

– Peter, Southampton, 01/10/2010 14:20

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