This site is run by widowed people, for widowed people

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: 686
Latest Activity: 15 hours ago

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 goingon (Cynthia) Aug 19. 22 Replies

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

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

Started by Mozzie. Last reply by Dianne in Nevada Aug 19. 39 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


Started by katjames. Last reply by Dianne in Nevada Aug 19. 15 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

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

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Long-Term Illness to add comments!

Comment by Bonnie on April 13, 2016 at 6:58pm
Hi Tink and Terry. Believe me, I share those feelings. I have to tell myself that I really did show patience most of the time, and that the times I couldn't I have to forgive myself for just being human and not perfect. My husband had dementia, and I never lost patience as it got worse, only before I understood the degree of his cognitive loss. He was always very supportive and understanding of me, and I know that now he would be telling me that I did the best I could. I get tearful when I think that I now just have to tell myself what I know he would have said, as I feel his loss so keenly. I hope you too can forgive yourselves for being human, and recognize that your spouses surely understood and knew how caring you really were. Long term caregiving is far more stressful than we recgonize when we are in the depths of it. It has taken me almost two years to BEGIN to understand what it did to me. I also tell myself that I am grateful that I had to do it and not my husband. I'm glad he was spared that stress, and was well cared for down to the end, and I could make sure of that. I'm also glad he was spared the grief of seeing me decline as he did. He did not suffer, had no pain, was very well taken care of and still found pleasure in life right down to the end, and I was able to ensure that for him. I'm sure your spouses kow you did that too.
Comment by Terry on April 13, 2016 at 3:44pm

Sunnyone, I hear you.  A long term illness can definitely do a number on the caregiver.  My biggest regret is that I failed to have patience with my wife at times.  As if she didn't have enough to deal with.  I would sometimes be very short with her and I can still picture the hurt in her eyes when I would snap at her.  It was entirely out of fear and frustration that no matter what I did it was not making her better.  I guess I will always carry the guilt over that with me though.  The fact that you were eventually able to start looking after yourself gives me hope that I will be able to do the same for myself.  It has been 13 months for me and I am not there yet.  Maybe I am subconsciously trying to punish myself for my shortcomings with my wife.  My hope is that one day soon I will wake up ready for the change.

Comment by Tink on April 13, 2016 at 2:07pm

Hello Bonnie and Sunnyone, I know what you are talking about. I lost my husband in November of 2013, to a rare brain disease. I was his caregiver, first he went to daycare while I worked, then I had to put him in a nursing home for the last eight months at age 58. It hurt me so to see him there with so much older people. He lost his ability to speak, walk, eat.....I too regret the times I was impatient with him.  When he would just sit in a chair and fall asleep while watching tv, I would take care of other things around the house. I had no idea his disease would take him as quickly as it did, and now I regret too, and think that I should have just sat with him at those times while he was still here at home. The last 5 months he was in the home, I did visit every day and stayed over Friday and Saturday nights with him, sleeping in a chair. As much as I know what I did for him at the end, when I am not busy those feelings of that I should have done more creep back into my mind. I work with people that have no idea of how fortunate they are having their husbands. It is hard not having someone close to me that understands what I am going through. 

Comment by Bonnie on April 13, 2016 at 1:14pm
It has been very helpful to hear from you and others that with time the rawness of loss dulls. The challenge of re-inventing one's entire life remains, and both have been very hard for me. But staying busy is for me the best response too, and I am trying to do more and more. For most of last year I just couldn't, but I've done better lately. I am nearing the end of a couple of months of physical therapy and that has helped give me more energy. My therapist has said that I was bound up with pain, but I didn't really know I was in pain, except emotionally. But the therapy seems to be working, and I know I have more energy. Still trying to find a volunteering interest, but I go go my painting studio twice a week and that has been a steady outlet. As you say, friends and relatives mean well, but don't really understand, although my sister-in-law lost her husband several years ago and she does. It is indeed good to find folks who "get it."
Comment by Sunnyone on April 13, 2016 at 12:08pm

Bonnie, Hello! I had a tough time at 2 years then things began to settle down. I miss Bruce terribly but I am trying everyday to move on with a life of my own. It will be 4 years this May and I can feel the sadness creeping in again. When it does I try to get moving walking, exercising, volunteering, and going out to talks or lunch with friends. The sadness doesn't go away but being busy is how I get through it. I am so glad I found this site as most of my friends still have their husbands. It is difficult for them to relate. They are supportive but just don't have the same perspective. It's good to exchange thoughts with someone else who "gets it."

Comment by Bonnie on April 13, 2016 at 6:39am
Hello, Sunnyone, and welcome to this site. I'm glad you found it, as it has been very helpful to me. I lost my husband in July, 2014, approaching two years now minus a few months. He too was ill for over five years, and I was the primary caretaker. I did it fine until the last ten months, when I had to get some help and finally move him to assisted living for the last three. Like you, I have gone over and over what I might have done differently, and it has been hard to get past wishing I could have done more. But I know in my head that I did the best I could, but I still also like you regret every single time I was impatient. He had dementia and became increasingly dependent in the last few years, becoming almost completely so by the end. It has been hard for me to understand fully just what he could and couldn't understand as he was so dignified right down to the end, looked so good you would never has guessed how ill he was. I have had to fight beating myself up with guilt and recrimination when I do know I did all I could. I am doing a little better now, beginning about 4 months ago. The first year was tough, and I thought it would get easier once I passed the year mark. It did and it didn't. It sounds like you too are moving forward a little, taking better care of yourself. Everyone here says it will get better with time, and I am trusting that. I hope you can too.
Comment by Sunnyone on April 13, 2016 at 5:49am

I'm new here and I hope I am doing this right. My husband had rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed when he was 36-38. Somewhere in there. He fought it for years with every medical intervention available. About 6 years before he died he began getting strange infections that sent us racing to the hospital at all times after he collapsed. Each of these infections took a little more of his strength. I was his sole caregiver and I remained his sole caregiver until 1 month before he passed. At that point I was so exhausted and he was so sick I just drew a line and said I must have some help. In May 2012 he went into hospice care while in the hospital. We brought him home on a Monday and he passed on that Thursday. I had been preparing myself for his passing and thought I was ready. I managed well for about 6 months and then my health began to be affected. For the next year I had every cold, flu, back injury, shoulder issue, knees, name it I was falling apart! After my year of health problems I began to work on myself. Exercise and eating right have done wonders and I am doing pretty well. I have worked hard on going over everything I did for him and can't say I would have changed much except for being more patient. I am so sorry for the times I was short with him. I know I did my best but now and then the thought of my impatience just brings me down.

Comment by BESTBUDS1 [Norman} on April 3, 2016 at 6:39am

Karol i am so very sorry to be so late responding to your question..My wife was 52 when diagnosed and was 53 when she passed.. Yes we talked extensively about it and decided on natural treatments instead of Radiation and Chemo... The tumor was so deep that removal was not an option.. The first 3 months were better than the last 3, as hospice came last 3.. Has taken over a year to tread through the flashbacks but now the sweet memories come forth even more.. Take good care...

Comment by CarolinaHeart on March 13, 2016 at 10:18pm

Lucky and grateful, icecream.... as you put it "that I am still here to figure it all out".  I am in total awe and admiration of the courage and perseverance that you parents demonstrate, moving forward with visions of shattered dreams and broken lives in your rearview mirrors. Coping with loss and grief in the face of  added responsibility renders me powerless just at the thought. Endurance beyond measure! 

Comment by Tink on March 13, 2016 at 3:08pm

It is so hard to watch your husband be taking over by these diseases. My husband's was a rare brain disease, but I worry about my son, if he will be just as unlucky to end up with it. By the time he died, he looked 20 years older then he was. My daughter was widowed in 2013 at 33 with 2 very small ones after her otherwise very healthy husband died from Leukemia after a 6 month battle. I grieve for both of these men, but I feel for her also...trying to raise these two little ones without their daddy. I worry about how she will do it when they become teens! So, Icecream, I  wish you the best in getting your girls through those teen years. 


Members (686)


© 2016   Created by Soaring Spirits.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service