Mrs. M. thank you for your condolences and I am sorry for your unexpected loss too.
Thank you for your recommendation of the Megan Devine book. That is the first one I have started and will look into the Saltzman book as well.
My step children are both out of the house, one is nearby and one lives in Michigan, several hours away. They are 21 and 22 years old. The oldest, my step daughter, seems to be good at times, then this weekend, she is calling Christy's cell phone in the middle of the night just to listen to her mother's voice message. Very sad, but I am trying to be supportive as I can.
I hope to find better days and take it day by day. I hope you can as well.
Hi James T,
I'm incredibly sad to read your story. I know "thoughts and prayers" seem to be somewhat hollow thing to say to someone in our position, but I do appreciate the gesture. I'm a day behind you. My 49 year-old healthy husband passed 11/25/17 from pancreatic cancer, or what we were told was pancreatic cancer, but was really "poorly differentiated carcinoma of unknown primary". On Nov. 5th we were raking leaves, everything was normal - we were joking with our neighbors, and enjoying the morning until bam! he had sudden intense abdominal pains. I got him to the ER, a week in the hospital and numerous tests the week after that confirmed cancer, and a PET scan confirmed it was in his pancreas, liver and lungs. I had to rush him back to the hospital the day after Thanksgiving, he was bleeding from his liver and they couldn't get it to stop, and the cancer was "everywhere". I signed the papers to remove him from life support and he passed about 90 minutes later.
I know I'm still in shock and have barely processed him being sick, let alone passing away. (I have a REALLY hard time using the words "die", "died" and "dead"...I just can't say his name and those words together). My grief counselor has been wonderful and is helping me see some things as gifts. Things like him finding a permanent job two months before he passed after 2 years of unemployment, he was feeling so much better about himself the last 6 months because he was temping before he was hired permanently. Instead of being angry that things were finally looking up for us, then two months later he's gone. I've found myself yelling "what's the point?!" over and over, but my counselor is helping me accept it as a good thing. He could have gotten sick while he was out of work and that would have been much worse.
I'm feeling a little guilt about being able to get out of bed and function each day. I think I'll be chatting about that with my counselor. But I also ask my husband to help give me the strength to get through each day, and maybe he IS helping me! I like to believe it at least.
I wish you peace, light and love. To all of us here.
"Thoughts and prayers" are my least favorite phrase in the English language. So trite, so meaningless.
My husband was out of work when he got sick and that added to his depression. But he was feeling positive about the future when he had his stroke. The day before the stroke he wrote his medical social worker that he was feeling better than any time since the whole thing started. Your post helped me see that as a blessing. (Truth be told, he was a 58-year-old network administrator and was unlikely to do much more than scramble from contract to contract for the rest of his career.)
I'd spent six months in denial that he could die. They were so optimistic about his cancer treatment. When he was diagnosed with moyamoya (rare brain disease that carries high risk of stroke) the doctors were similarly optimistic -- he would have two surgeries and then be fine. I have since found out that MM is not that simple and that most people who have it continue to have TIAs and/or seizures.
That last day after the stroke, he was loopy but did not seem terribly frightened and he went status epilepticus shortly thereafter so was not even aware (I hope) that it was the end. I also had to authorize removing the ventilator and that is its own set of awful, as you well know.
Unknown primary is terrible cancer. I have a friend whose husband had this. The problem is that different types of cancer respond to different drugs and with unknown primary, it is hard to know what might work.
Thank you Denverkim. I am sorry for your loss too and that you are so early in this too.
Shock barely describes the cloud of trying to process all the things that happened too soon. I am uplifted that you are finding comfort and some uplifting insights in speaking with your counselor. I also understand not being able to use the D words in relation to our significant others. The first time I had to accept that is filling out the paperwork for my counselor, when I had to check the box on marital status... Really I am a widower now.... Damn that was a crying moment.
I think survivor guilt is something that I am impacted by too, in that I still get to get up every day, although many days I wish I could sleep until noon.
Peace, light and love to you and all of the others in this community - great words you have there.
Hi all. This past August, I lost my husband of 35 years after a 2-year battle with Cancer (Pancreatic); he had just turned 62 (I am 57). It was awful watching him wither away during this time; he went through 51 hard rounds of chemo in addition to radiation treatments. Towards the end, I prayed that God would just take him home so he would not have to suffer anymore. I didn't want him to have to live through another hunting season (his passion) knowing he could not physically do it; it killed me to see him watching the RV shows on television (as this was his dream after we retired). After he passed away, I held a huge "Celebration of Life" for him - very non-traditional. Since then, while I've had my melt downs, I am also at peace, knowing that he is in a better place. I found myself feeling guilty because of this peacefulness/acceptance that he is gone and he told me that I have been grieving all along, since his Cancer diagnosis.... makes perfect sense to me. Anyways, I am enjoying reading the forums here and anxious to receive a book that was recommended by several on this site (can't recall the name at this time).
Welcome, Dez, and I can understand your feelings. My husband died at age 78 of acute myeloid leukemia 6 months after his diagnosis, but the ravages of a predecessor disease (polycythemia) and the meds used to manage it had taken their toll. He was really going downhill the last 2 years- weaker, able to eat less, losing weight. Regardless, we still got in some wonderful trips in 2014 and 2015- just had to be careful and not wear him out. He used to hike the Appalachian trail but by the time he died he was down to 117 lbs. and I think he was feeling worse than he admitted to most of the time.
He died in November, 2016 and it was a relief, really. I'd have the old, healthy Ron back in a minute but the Ron who died peacefully at home under hospice care was ready to leave this earth. I've done far better than I ever expected since then and I, too, feel a little guilty. I think part of it is being freed from being a caregiver- it was a privilege to take care of a man who had taken care of so many others- but now all I have to worry about is keeping the bills paid and the lawn mowed. I enjoy cooking for myself, my body is in better shape than ever because I've extended my gym workouts a little (and I'm almost 65) and I have some wonderful travel planned. I keep expecting Ron's death to unexpectedly hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks and it hasn't, although I did sense my alone-ness more this year at family Christmas gatherings.
We're all different.
So, we're all different. What's wonderful is that this group is non-judgmental. No one gets told to snap out of it when it's a major task to just get out of bed and get dressed, and no one gets criticized when they find bright spots in the new life they're beginning to build.
Thank you for your support. It's so nice to see others are feeling the same way.
Thank you, Dez, for articulating what so many of us go through -- relief that it is over. For those who lost a spouse suddenly, this is something they don't experience. But whether you have been caregiver through a long illness, a short one, or if you are like me and were in the limbo of ICU, not knowing if your husband is even still in his body or if his brain is so damaged that his spirit has left already, a lot of us have already started grieving beforehand, and at least when they are gone, we finally KNOW.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt guilt at this relief. It is hard to deal with.
Thanks for your insight. I am thankful that my husband didn't have to be admitted to ICU... that was another prayer, that he die quickly and peacefully at home, and my prayers were answered.
Bob had dementia for a long time and I was his caretaker. When he died I felt relief that he wasn’t suffering anymore and I felt grief at the same time. At times I feel guilt that I survived him, and it is difficult to deal with. Peace to all.
Hello everyone, My husband Chris passed away on the 15th of October from oesophageal cancer. He was diagnosed in May 2016 when he was 46. He did a short round of chemotherapy but as it was palliative and made him feel like a zombie he decided to stop. He decided he would cure himself with nutrition and lifestyle changes and he did not have any medical tests or intervention apart from blood tests until three weeks before he passed away. He had abdominal swelling and it took two days for me to convince him to go to the hospital. They found his liver enormously enlarged with tumours and said he would have weeks to months. He told me he was relieved as he’d had enough. This was the first time he wasn’t talking about fighting to live. It was a indescribable evening. We went from nothing to palliative care nurses in our home everyday, multiple medications and equipment and seeing him decline physically and emotionally extremely quickly.Our kids (25, 23 and 19) all flew home and stayed so he was able to be at home with his family all together as he wished.
I have only just started to get back into activities outside the home and I’m am blindsided by the stupid things people say, or that they knew Chris and say nothing at all. I think that hurts more. I logically know people don’t know what to say but I get so frustrated I end up in tears in public in front of people that I shouldn’t care about, and then they look so uncomfortable I want to run away. A woman we know told me today in the post office that she knew Chris had passed away but was on holidays when it happened. What is that supposed to mean? No condolences, no how are you? Then tells me how great her husbands business is going and they are planning a lovely holiday together overseas!, I can’t understand how people can be so insensitive. I don’t know anyone who I can relate to or knows how I’m feeling right now (they think they do but truly have no idea). Anyway, I just needed to have a rant.
Dear Sam,I'm sorry and I know exactly how you feel because our story is very similar to yours.We even had no paliative nurses and I was his only caregiver.I am not a doctor or a nurse and I am afraid I couldn't do the best for him to relieve him.I was absolutely alone with him except for the last day when he was already in coma.When I remember those days and nights I wish I was dead too.
Please don't torture yourself with insensitive people.They believe that cancer is something that can't happen to them,that we are guilty for being ill .I tried to stay strong but I also broke in tears in publik few times.I just couldn't stop it.I remember I was told "so sorry ,he was a handsome man"(?),"no more holidays for you" etc.People stay away from us because most are selfiish and don't like to feel uncomfortable or do something for us.Even when they say the right words they don't actually mean it so don't expect support and care from them.It;s been 7 months for me and the fog starts to lift up but what I see clearly is not good.I lost my soulmate and the life I loved.I am only here to support our children.So far I haven't found a reason to live except the children and I only hope time to ease my pain no more no less.This site is the only place I can talk freely about how I feel and it's very useful.