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Cancer and the farm.
2 Posts

Hello. We just received word that Dad has Cancer. Up til now he has still been actively farming with mom. Both of us kids have moved off the farm for a life with families in the city. It looks like they will need to sell the farm soon, which I understand and feel is necessary. I just am really struggling with the thought of all the change. The farm has always been my home even tho I don’t get there enough. The thought of losing both puts a huge hole in my heart. Looking for advice. Thanks.

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2745 Posts

@Jk82 Hello…..I am sorry to hear your father has cancer…..and the change of selling the farm, is/may, be next……it is challenging…..perhaps look at “Change” as….it is simply going to happen; it happens every day; we must embrace it; and actually expect change! Without the Farm/working on the Farm….more time can now be available, to support your father…..focus on his needs….appts may be coming up…..etc

Maybe your parents will move closer to you/siblings in the city….and Re-Connect is next!

Welcome here, with open arms Jk82 !


#Embrace Change

Cynthia Mac
4217 Posts

@Jk82 Hi there. Sorry to hear about your Dad.

I cared for my Dad, who was diagnosed with lung cancer just months after mom passed away. Dad was able to stay in his home until the last month of his life. He was diagnosed in October 2017 and had surgery that December. The surgeon got “good margins”, but Dad's cancer was a rare and aggressive one, and it spread about 18 months later.

The change is hard, I admit.

You didn't mention what type of cancer your dad has or what his prognosis is, but there are a lot of people living with advanced cancer these days.

I see where you are, and anticipate that this farm is bigger than the ones we have here in ON.

What I would propose for you is to be there for your mom. Caregivers have a hard go, depending on who their patient is and what they have on their own plate. If you can, sit down and have some candid conversations with them. If you're struggling with the farm being sold, I can only imagine what your Mom is thinking.

My parents were always pragmatic about their end-of-life planning, so I didn't have to have terribly deep conversations when the time came - in fact, on the day Mom passed away, I was able to locate her Power of Attorney in the time it took Dad to grab his coat. That's an ideal situation to find yourself in, so I have learned. My mom kind of had me prepared for that when I was in my 40s! They're hard conversations to have but they make that part of the journey so much easier if they're held early - everybody knows well in advance, and that information can be shelved while other things happen.

As for yourself, if you have an employee assistance program, you might want to consult them to talk out some of the changes coming your way. You could set up something with your sibling to spell each other (and your Mom) off so that everyone can get some self-care time. And, there's always us here. We've walked the walk and have learned a lot of information we can share.

It sounds as though it's early days for your family. This is a safe community for you to reach out with questions. Although I'm sorry for your reason, welcome to the site.

282 Posts

@Jk82 I live on a farm in SK as well. It’s my wife’s family farm, they‘ve had it since 1917. At some point, her mom got cancer and there was some movement to the city and then back out to the farm and finally, into the city in an assisted living facility. It wasn’t overnight! And they were able to keep the farm and eventually we moved out here. Now, my father-in-law stopped farming somewhere in there and the land is rented and farmed by someone else so that makes a big difference.

The unknown is definitely scary. Try to take one leap at a time. Maybe the farm doesn‘t have to be sold. Focus on the plan for your dad first and go from there. And be sure to find out about all the supports available for your dad, your mom, and you!

take care,


@JenG- what a great perspective you were able to offer. Thank you!

2 Posts

Thanks everyone. We were able to spend a significant amount of time together over the holidays. It was good, but at the same time hard to not wonder if this would be the last Christmas at the farm in the way it has always been. I’m trying hard to stay positive but it’s been tough. I’m also trying to remember it’s not about me and want to do everything I can to help, but at the same time feel like nothing I can do will help. Hard to deal with for a guy that can normally fix almost anything. How do I deal with feeling so distant and unable to help?

282 Posts

@Jk82 oh the fixing! I hear you on that one! If you can fix it, you feel like you’ve contributed, you’ve done a good thing, you’re in some sort of control. And when it comes to cancer or any kind of health crisis, there is very little we can control. Is there a treatment plan for your dad? Are there things you can do to help out, rides or ordering supplies? Take him for a drive?

You’re also going through anticipatory grief, and that’s hard because the person is still there but you’re already imagining what it will be like when they are gone. Allow yourself to be sad. Do you have someone to talk to about it? Friend or therapist or family member? Can you write about it?

It’s a hard walk for sure, no doubt about it.


@Jk82 - Good morning - so glad you were able to spend time on the farm - Being from a farming community and family - would it be possible to having the fields rented out or even severing the house and a couple manageable acres that would allow for them to remain there? I know of stories of those renting the land that made a point to keep in contact with the farmer (being part of the growing seasons even from afar is so important) and I'm sure your dad has unique terrain of their farm stories and memories to share)
For myself and others with cancer treatments the importance of avoidance of contact with the soil/barn environment is was a health concern also.
As a cancer patient and my husband it was so important to recognize the decisions may or have to be made and to honor those decisions that they make. Those decisions may not be what “you” would want, or do….but that is OK (that is his and their journey).

For yourself, it maybe helpful to journalling those “?'s” or thoughts you may have - just to have them down on paper is recognizing those thoughts and questions. Keep the lines of communication open to your parents (even if its a message left on a answering machine - a text with a picture etc) and with your siblings and your /their children.

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