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Appropriate or not appropriate?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My aunt on my step-mothers side of the family just found out she has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. They sent her home on hospice with 3-4 weeks to live. She has refused chemo. The family is pitching in to make food for the family so they can spend what time they have left together not cooking. I, of course, think of baking a cake. I have done 2 cakes for Icing Smiles, an organization that makes dream cakes for children with life limiting illnesses. So my mind goes to making her a really cool cake like she probably has never had, but do you think it is really appropriate at this time to make a celebration cake? It is not her birthday or any other special occasion. Thanks for your advice.
post #2 of 15
I love the idea. I'd incorporate all of the things that she loves. If she's a gardener, a bowler, a knitter, a cook, whatever.

I had a favorite aunt who developed lung cancer. I lived about 8 hours away, so I made sure that I visited her while she was still able to interact with her visitors. I sat on the side of her bed and told her how much she'd meant to me and how much I would miss her. I showed her the blueprints for the home we were building and I did my best to make the house she would never see come alive for her. We talked and hugged and said good-bye.

I couldn't make it to the funeral a month later, but it didn't matter. I had those last few hours to cherish--and I knew that she'd done the same.

Go for it!

Rae
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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post #3 of 15
I think it's a wonderful and generous idea. I think I would, depending on your relationship, ask her if she has a special request. Or, even, better, ask the other family members if there is something special she would like.

Best of luck.
post #4 of 15
This is a good question. I've had relatives in a similar situation and personally feel that individual baked goods would be most appropriate.

The kindest thing you could do is make cupcakes, cookies, or candies that can be eaten as an individual portion. Ideally, the cupcakes/cookies/candies could be individually wrapped so they may be left on the counter or frozen and pulled out as needed. This would offer the family and friends the opportunity to pull out a dessert for anywhere from 1 person to a crowd.

You could make lovely generic, cupcakes that are a delight to the eye and palate, but make sure you don't use any gum paste, wires decorations, or dragees etc. that might cause choking.

I think cookies may be the best possible offering. Decorated cookies would be a pretty distraction and could be individually packaged for the counter, or frozen. You may also wish to provide chocolate covered Oreos. These keep for 4-6 weeks on a counter in a Rubbermaid container with no loss of freshness as long as the cookie is 100% enrobed with chocolate.

My sympathy to the family and friends of this woman.
post #5 of 15
JMO , I wouldnt go overboard with decorations. I would keep it simple. You dont want it to look like a celebration cake. Unless of course there is a theme that her immediate family knows she will enjoy. You would have to talk to them. Some people it may be ok for them to get an over the top cake while they are in declining health .In general I dont think it would be appropriate in most families, So you want to be sure.,
I would instead concentrate on baking a flavor the family likes best
If your aunt is on meds especially pain meds she probably wont enjoy sweets anyway. Usually with pain meds sweet foods are too sweet tasting to enjoy.
Then just a nice cake with a general theme a design or flowers but not over done . LIke I said a cake is a great idea but I dont think anything other than a one tier or a sheet cake would be appropriate .
Unless this woman has always wanted to have a cake made for her in a certain theme .
post #6 of 15
I think a celebration cake would be wonderful. You are celebrating her life and creating your final memories of her. My last memory of my dad is him sick in the hospital. I would have loved to have a final memory of him smiling.
Tina
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Tina
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post #7 of 15
I think it's a great idea. I know it would make me happy even if just for a bit but it would also touch me to know that someone cared enough to put all that hard work into something for me, even if it's just a cake.
post #8 of 15
A dear friend on mine passed away a couple of years ago. I made this little 6" cake for our last lunch together. We each had a slice and she shared the rest with her family. According to them, it was just right. http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1547311/caroles-cake

They're a low-key, private family with a quiet style and the end of my friend's life reflected that. If your aunt and her family are more outgoing, they may like an over-the-top cake. Personally, I think it's a lovely thing for you to do but I'd check with someone close to her first.
post #9 of 15
....... a celebration cake would be wonderful. You are celebrating her life .....
As long as she *knows* how limited her life is what about a "This is you life" cake?
I made some for a lady who's religion was that they did not celebrate b'days - but her mom knew she was having trouble accepting that she was turning 40 so we worked up a 'this is you life' design.
It was a 6 *foot* long x 4" wide cake I used 2 long loaf pan cakes end to end OR one could bake two 12x16 (or 1icon_cool.gif sheets; cut in 1/2 and stack into 18"x4" loaves that we put pix of her on top of - pix from infant to recenticon_smile.gif This was long before fondant/gp so real pix were wrapped in seran/plastic and mounted on toothpicks to stand upright. Small notiations were printed along the pix (in icing). I've lost the pix so I can't show but it is a very impressive cake.
Just be *sure* you have a way to transport such a BIG cake. I used a 2"x6"x30" board. It was *fun!* (NOT) trying to get it in my compact car!!
post #10 of 15
I personally don't think it's the right time to make a cake like that. The time to have done it was when there would be happiness associated with it, not the fact she has a few weeks left.

If you really want to do a cake depicting her life, I'd do it for the gathering afterwards, incorporating things she loved to do, her pets, hobbies, etc.

You could bring a cake for her family now, of course, but I'd keep it simply done, and not have it be a showpiece of what you can do, but rather a dessert to help them out meals-wise.
post #11 of 15
I asked this question of my neighbor who is a hospice caregiver and nurse. Her take was that the patients usually hate the somberness that comes with each visitor is not what you want to see or hear Whether you have 3 weeks left or 30 years (and who really knows how much time each of us has?), the point is to live each day fully. That means with laughter and joy and appreciation of all the wonderful things around us. I think a joyous, beautiful cake is a lovely gift and my neighbor thinks that's just the right thing to bring.
No license or insurance. Put lead wires in cakes, never wash hands, cake boards are used cardboard. No contracts cause I can't read or write. No lawyer cause I'm judgment proof. I bake with old mix boxes found behind Walmart. Now about my question
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No license or insurance. Put lead wires in cakes, never wash hands, cake boards are used cardboard. No contracts cause I can't read or write. No lawyer cause I'm judgment proof. I bake with old mix boxes found behind Walmart. Now about my question
Reply
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross

I asked this question of my neighbor who is a hospice caregiver and nurse. Her take was that the patients usually hate the somberness that comes with each visitor is not what you want to see or hear Whether you have 3 weeks left or 30 years (and who really knows how much time each of us has?), the point is to live each day fully. That means with laughter and joy and appreciation of all the wonderful things around us. I think a joyous, beautiful cake is a lovely gift and my neighbor thinks that's just the right thing to bring.



Well said.
post #13 of 15
I would just call it an I love you cake, it doesn't have to be a celebration cake. Just say you wanted to do something just for her, whatever she loved. I'm sure she will be thankful that you cared enough to do something for her.
post #14 of 15
I think that a celebration cake totally depends on what her state of mind is about being in hospice. Being that she has refused chemo, it sounds like she is in a place of making the most of her final time here instead of wanting to be hurting. I would talk to her about what she would like, i can see how if she wasn't fully embracing the idea it could be a really hard thing. My dad was just in hospice in February after being very ill for a year. At no time would an over the top cake have been appropriate for him--he wasn't in the emotional place to face the future head on. Also, other family members may be weirded out by a celebration cake.

Small themed cakes, such as a flower pot cake if she is a gardener or something with her favorite flowers, may be a nice way for her to share in your creative and baking talents--and give you a good opportunity to visit often.

Otherwise, nice baked goods like cookies, bundt cakes and coffee cakes are a very thoughtful way to bring a bit of comfort to her, the family and also her staff if she is at in-patient hospice care.
post #15 of 15
I think it would make her day, it would give her a reason to smile and I am sure everyone will cherish the memories created around the cake.
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