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  • Writer's pictureBefore Beyond

How to make beautiful memories despite having a terminal illness? (Part 1)

When the days are numbered, time becomes extremely precious. Many people want to create lasting and beautiful memories with their loved ones. These are some activities you could consider:

1. Make a bucket list

This will be a list of all the things you've always wanted to do, but never got down to do. Having a list of tasks to complete will give you something to look forward to each day and confer a sense of accomplishment when you have completed them. It could be something as wacky as throwing a yacht party or a simple as planting a seed.

Don't be disheartened if you are unable to fulfil some of the items on the list due to e.g. your medical condition, COVID-19 restrictions. Share your list with your loved ones. Brainstorm for creative ideas on how these tasks can be modified - a virtual reality holiday, perhaps? (reach out to me if you are interested in this, I will try to work something out for you)

2. Plan a fun photoshoot

Photoshoot ideas (Photo by Leo Moko on Unsplash)

Some people may feel insecure about how their appearances have been affected by illness and the side effects of treatment. Poor appetite, illness, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can affect looks.

Do note that appearances are not a measure of the person you are on the inside. Photographs can also capture the interactions between people and the emotions felt at that point in time.

Having a good make-up artist and photographer can help you feel more confident about the way you look as well. Hold the photoshoot at places that you hold close to your heart e.g. house, park, beach.

My family photoshoot was done by Amare Pixels and we even included our toy poodle.

We wore casual clothes and held the shoot in our home - we even managed to play a game of mahjong! The photographer captured our family dynamics perfectly.

3. Writing letters and/or making gifts for loved ones

Writing letters and gifting are one of the ways you can show your love for the people you care about. The process of crafting the letters and gifts choices can also help you to reflect on the meaningful relationships that you have. You can consider recording a series of videos or typing down your thoughts on a blog that only your loved ones have access to.

Writing letters (Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

Possible gift ideas include origami, pottery, paintings, knitted garments, terrariums (and the list goes on). Choosing something that represents your interests and talents can create a unique gift that holds special meaning.

4. Learn a new skill

It is never too late to learn something new! You can also convert it into an activity that you and your loved ones can do together. If you love music, learn to play and instrument or sing. If standing activities are too tiring, you can consider sitting activities such as calligraphy, knitting or playing computer games.

Don't be afraid to fail! Find joy in the process of learning - you may even discover new things about yourself and the people around you.

My mother and I picked up pottery at Urth & Phire and knitting at Wish I Were Stitching and had lots of fun making gifts for our friends.

You can knit garments of all shapes and sizes (Photo by Elsa Lilja on Unsplash)

5. Fight for a cause that you are passionate about

Admittedly, having a terminal illness has many downsides. On the other hand, it can confer you a powerful voice as well. If you feel strongly about an issue, lend your voice to the movement. Your passion and determination may inspire others around you and lead to an even greater impact than you imagined.


A small amount of creativity and adventure can go a long way in filling your days with wonder and warmth. In fact, we should all be creating and capturing beautiful moments throughout our lives. What are you waiting for?

Memories (Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash)

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