Deborah James has left 'strict instructions' for husband as she shares plan for her final moments
BBC presenter Deborah James has admitted she is scared of dying alone and she wants to pass away "listening" to her family's banter and normal buzz. She is determined not to spend her final days crying as it would be "such a waste" and has given her husband strict instructions as well as writing letters to her children.
Along with that, the 40 year-old is watching in amazement as her newly-launched cancer research fund passes the £3m mark. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are amongst those who have donated so far.
Back in 2016, she was diagnosed with bowel cancer and ever since she has spoken out about her treatment on the BBC's You, Me and the Big C podcast. She has also written a book and has raised lots of money for charity, reports Wales Online.
Now, she has been speaking with that same candour about her plans for her death, funeral and how difficult it has been telling her children Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, and how she wants "one last cuddle" from them.
In an interview with The Times, which was published on Thursday (May 12), she said: "It’s been hideous telling my children. We have had a string of emotional conversations that have escalated very quickly from supportive care to end-of-life care. My husband Sebastien has been incredible, he has dropped everything and is with me 24/7. My first thought was that] I don’t want my children to see me like this. I didn’t think I would be able to speak to them without crying, but I’d love one last cuddle with them.”
Deborah has said that she feels "very calm" that her children will be looked after and says that with hindsight the coronavirus pandemic was a "massive blessing" because it gave them two years of being together with very little distractions.
"I watched every moment of them growing up in our little bubble and that makes up for some of the years I will lose," she says. "I feel confident they are doing really well."
She has also written her children letters that they can open when they reach milestone events in their lives: “It’s hard to work out what to do: you don’t want to rip off the Band-Aid every birthday and ruin it for them. But at the same time I want them to have letters at milestones, and funny messages. Here’s my advice on your wedding day, what to do on a first date. I used to hate the idea of a memory box, but I’ve just ordered a blue and a pink one.
"I know materialistic things don’t matter, but I want to buy Hugo a nice pen or wallet or cufflinks. I’m going to buy my daughter some Tiffany bracelets and earrings. They will have all the memories, but I want them to have a few presents in the future. I also want to write them postcards, but I have to be honest, I get really tired.”
She has also given her husband Sebastien a "strict" set of instructions to move on and get married again, but has warned him "Don’t be taken for a ride, don’t marry a bimbo, find someone else who can make you laugh like we did."
And has made plans for her funeral, asking that people wear black and white, and that her family place a small bench on the common opposite the family home in London.
"Some people want their ashes scattered in different places," she says, "I don’t because I think I would be lonely. I’m the kind of person that wouldn’t mind staying in the top drawer in the kitchen for a while. The one thing my family knows is I am terrified of being alone. I don’t want to die alone.”
In an earlier interview, the mum-of-two said she was overwhelmed by the amount of money that had been raised since Monday and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have described her "tireless efforts" to raise awareness of cancer and "end the stigma of treatment" as inspiring.