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Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.

Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."


Long-Term Illness

For those widowed by cancer and other illnesses or long term conditions that required caregiving.

Check the 'Help' tab for more guidance or send questions to

Patience (Diane) is your group greeter.

Members: 679
Latest Activity: on Friday

Discussion Forum

NY Mag Article "The Day I started Lying to Ruth" by a cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer

Started by Patience (Diane). Last reply by Patience (Diane) Apr 5. 20 Replies

Has anyone read this article?  It stopped me in my tracks yesterday.

I'm Lost

Started by MickeysLove. Last reply by NewLoss Apr 3. 21 Replies

So, 4 days ago marked the 2 month period.  I had joined a support "group" where you go and sit with other people and talk about whats bothering you. I had went 2 times, I'm not going anymore - I…Continue


Started by katjames. Last reply by judy Feb 11. 14 Replies

Has anyone been to any retreats in the last few years that were especially meaningful and good????   I know there is Camp Widow, but I'm wondering if anyone has any organization they can recommend.…Continue

Looking to Put Together Resources for soon-to-be-widowed

Started by Mozzie. Last reply by goingon (Cynthia) Jan 15. 38 Replies

I found being the spouse of a terminal person very frustrating.  We were getting care at a prominent hospital, and there were social workers, but I didn't feel like anyone ever gave me useful…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by only1sue on Friday

Lioness and icecream moving on is hard,like you both I lost my husband in 2012. I seem to take one step forward and two steps back.  I am going out more on my own now, weaving a life i can live with.  But now I realise how much being a long term caregiver changed me.  How I was once able to make decisions for one, then had to make them for two, now need to make them for one again.  It is a learning curve I suppose like many others I have managed but sometimes it seems harder because of my age.  I don't have the energy I used to have and that worries me a bit.  But it is keep going, keep moving, try to keep moving on.

Comment by icecream on May 18, 2016 at 8:48am

Hugs to you Lioness! Similar story - lost husband in 2012 also - after 5 year battle with colon cancer. Hospitals, test results and kidney failures were a daily part of our lives. In the hospital one fourth of July, daughter's birthday and Christmas. The last 6 months of his life he could not get out of bed - cancer had metastasized to his spine. He was 46 when he died - did not want to leave this world and not get to watch his kids grow up. Never gave up either - always thought he would beat this beast! I have moved forward a bit,am dating the guy who was my husbands best friend, but it is all kind of dull. The new experiences of my daughters - going to college, graduating elementary school, falling in love, are just not the same when I can't share them with their Dad. I have progressed personally, I  now do some things without thinking twice - things that terrified me before, like taxes, home repairs, driving long distances. We step up to the plate and do what we have to do...but you are right, it lacks the luster of the person you wanted and thought you'd be sharing your life with. I am going on, but the hole in my heart is really not going away.....

Comment by Lioness on May 15, 2016 at 10:43pm
Reading this brings me some relief that others know the pain of losing your love gradually over time. My husband died in Dec 2012 of leukemia, after being diagnosed seven years prior.
He had a stroke in 2007, at 54, and that was such a large shock to us both. Hospital and rehab became a daily part of my routine. Then he recovered enough to come home after 6 weeks, and fought to regain his independence with much success.
Then the cancer surfaced its ugliness in late 2011, and the horror of the downhill journey began. In and out of hospital. Chemo, side effects, hospital, home, weight loss, infection, respiratory failure and a respirator. A miraculous recovery, and home again. Gained weight and feeling good. A fall and cracked ribs, back to hospital, a staph infection, spreading from a leg cut to encompass his whole leg. A prolonged recovery, then well again. Only to suffer more weight loss, and deterioration. He died at home one night, with us at his side. I didn't expect it, as he always rallied. But not this time. I should have, would have quit my job to be with him earlier,mif I had known it was coming that night, but I was worried about money. We were both exhausted at the end, but I can barely exist without him. Nothing gives me joy.
I should be grateful for all that I have, he left me debt free and no financial worries. Many people are not as blessed with such great kids and extended family, who love me and protect me. But will the joy of life ever return, will it ever feel like I am not just going through the paces day to day?
Comment by Patience (Diane) on April 14, 2016 at 4:53pm
I'm coming up on 4 years ... 4 years since my husband's death. And I'm reading all of your words and thoughts ... Eerily similar to what Wayne and I experienced as I was his caregiver. (((((Hugs)))) to all ....
Comment by Sunnyone on April 14, 2016 at 4:33pm

Oh I really am glad I found this site! You have no idea how heartening it is to hear such similar feelings and concerns from all of you! Poor Bruce tried so hard not to die. I know he didn't want to leave me. After fighting rheumatoid arthritis for years and years and numerous infections for his last 6 years he developed pulmonary fibrosis.  His heart was massively enlarged and he died 6 1/2 months after the diagnosis. We learned at the diagnosis that sometimes this happens with rheumatoid arthritis. Who knew? It went so quickly and yet it seemed to be a lifetime. Each of you have lost someone just as dear to you and I thank you for sharing here. It really helps to not be alone in this.

Comment by goingon (Cynthia) on April 14, 2016 at 3:18pm

I wonder often if Don knew how much I loved him; how sorry I was for all of the little slights along the way; and I know he knew - I just wish I could tell him again.  I told him how much I loved him; we were always telling each other that throughout our 31+ years of being together.  But still, it haunts me sometimes.  I can't seem to help it.  He had a chronic illness throughout our marriage, and I never realized I'd been a caretaker for much longer than the one year he had cancer until a friend told me I was, and I realized she was right.  There were hospitalizations, surgeries, chronic renal failure, and a "mini" stroke before they found the cancer.  I just accepted it all as part of loving him, and when they found the cancer, I said "You are not allowed to die..." and he tried not to; when the doctor told us he had several days to a few weeks at the end, he apologized to me, and I asked why he was apologizing and he said "I always promised you could die first" so I knew he loved me and knew how much I loved him.  I've been struggling with being alone and the loneliness lately.  I was in Texas visiting my daughter and the day before I left, she asked me if I was ready to go home, and I said Yes and No; yes, to sleep in my own bed and get back to my life (such as it is) but it was hard with no one to go home to.  She got that.  It's been 5 1/2 years since Don died.

Comment by sueprnova on April 14, 2016 at 12:58pm

Being a caregiver certainly isn't for the weak.

Throughout this journey I was the upbeat one, the glass half full one.  Even though, the day we found out his cancer was back, and had spread, I knew how this was going to end.  Lung cancer with mets to the brain and a couple other places. 

I hated that so much of our relationship had turned into me, the caregiver, rather than me, the wife.  Once we pulled in hospice with 24/7 care, I was able to be the wife again.  Sadly he died a couple weeks later at 46.

I also wanted it to be over...He was such a soft and gentle soul that him being in pain killed me.  

Reece, I often say that my husband morphed into someone unrecognizable.  Even though to me, he was still the most handsome man I have ever known.  If that makes sense?

I am coming up on 4 years.  I will be traveling this year, as I did last year. This year I will be in Costa Rica enjoying life, and living in color, because he isn't. 

I am so grateful I was his wife, and that I was chosen for this very special role in our relationship.



Comment by Reece on April 14, 2016 at 8:12am

I just want to say THANK YOU. Reading over the post of the last few days have relieved some of the fears I have over how I cared for my husband. I don't believe I ever was short with him, but I thought things in my head all the time. In the end, I went back and forth between wishing it would be over already and not wanting him to go. I regret so much not sitting with him more, but I could only take so much of watching him suffer and physically change so much. My husband was only 55 when lung cancer took him, but he looked like he was 80. I often thought who is this man sitting where my husband should be. I would not wish this on the worst person in the world

Comment by booktime (Susan) on April 14, 2016 at 6:13am

Whew, so much resonates with me! We have all experienced the hardest thing we have ever done. I too had those moments.Ed was 62 when he died after a really difficult year, culminating in a last month of not being able to walk or do anything for himself. So I helped him bathe, dress, etc. It has almost been 3 years.

I remember clearly coming home from work one day and immediately going into a flurry: gathering up his dishes from the day that he could no longer take care of, washing them, getting supper, looking at the mail, etc. He said come sit down with me for a moment. I said No! I have to get this done! I'm the one who has to do all of this! Boy do I regret those words and wish so very much I had sat with him more.

But like many of you have said, he would have said I was doing great And I hold onto his words two days before he died - I love you, sweetheart.

It doesn't do us any good to look back and think of all the should haves. Those days are what they are.

We did the best we could - we are human. I think we were super human taking care of our spouses.

Hugs to you all - I wish you all more peace in your lives.

Comment by Gaining Strength on April 14, 2016 at 1:23am

hi Sunnyone,Bonnie,Terry,Tink.  My husband did not have  brain disorder but he had a cancer that put him in a wheelchair and was unable to do most things.  He was 57 at death. It has been 4.6 years and I still do not sleep. Here I am writing at 1.01 am when I should be asleep.  I was his constant caregiver (I worked at home). He would not allow the community nurses to shower him or change him. I understand how the spouse caregiver  can feel guilty for the slightest moments when we gave into tiredness, frustration and whatever else we felt at the moment. However, we have all completed the most enormously difficult task that we were ever called upon to perform. Our spouses had the best that we could offer despite the occasional groans.  I too think of moments when I lost it with him. On one occasion, I was driving him to one of his client appointments (he was a realtor and did not want to miss a single client) and he criticzed my driving, yelled at me for changing lanes when he did not think I should. I pulled over and held my head in my hands and told him that it would be the last appointment I would ever drive him to because I could cope anymore since I was trying to run my own business, help him with his, take care of his personal needs, do the groceries, cook and clean etc etc, all while keeping up appearances so my children would not get depressed . I was so shaken that I could not even put gas in the car even though it was on empty. He died three weeks later.  There was another time when he told me that he felt I was getting worn out.  I think that we have done everything that was humanly possible to do our very best and our spouses knew it.  They must have thought about how they would cope if the tables were turned.  I am relieved that he never had to find out.


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