Taking care of our families as they face life-threatening illnesses can be some of the most difficult times of our lives.
And for Alison Steadman, looking after her beloved mother after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer was no different.
The 71-year-old Gavin and Stacey actress spoke candidly on Lorraine recently about the devastating impact of her mother Marjorie’s illness – and how she was determined to repay her mother’s life-long kindness towards her, as she reached the end of her life.
Speaking to Lorraine, Alison revealed that her mother had been cared for in the final stages of her illness by Marie Curie nurses.
Praising the nurses, she said, “They cover all illness – whether it’s dementia, motor-neurone disease – all these awful illnesses that need a lot of care.
“Marie Curie nurses are there, 24/7.”
Discussing her mother’s own battle with cancer, she confessed that the support of the nurses was key to helping her feel less frightened.
“My mother was terrified when she was diagnosed, and it was awful.
“And you know, none of us in the family, we tried to help, but it’s very difficult. And then suddenly there were the doctors and nurses involved in Marie Curie, who were so kind.
“They counselled her, and talked to her, and gave her a sort of confidence. I’m sure that my mum lived a lot longer than she would have done because she had that care.”
Alison went on to talk to Lorraine about her relationship with her mother over the years, sharing that she always helped her through any difficult patch.
“My mother was always a great help. Even when I was having my first baby, and I was terrified, and I was getting all the pains. I phoned her and I said, ‘Mum, I’m really scared.’
“She just said to me, ‘You’ve done everything in your life well so far, and you’ll do this well.’ And to have that on the other end of the phone…it was amazing.”
The actress also touched upon her long history with fellow thespian John Cleese, as she made reference to her new BBC show, Hold the Sunset.
She and Lorraine reminisced about the duo’s original film together, Clockwise, in 1986. Then, Alison asked, “Has it really been that long?”