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Learning about caring for and losing a sick spouse. 
Started by PER
05 Oct 2014, 11:47 PM

It has been a very short time (4 months) from beginning (diagnosis) to end for my dear wife (and best friend) who had cancer and an early dementia. I found it challenging to learn how to be a care-giver, and exhausting, but I pushed through, not thinking about me, except way in the background. I did notice that my wife was no longer actively caring and loving towards me and I know that I felt angry at times in response. I also knew that she was too sick and weak to be able to give emotionally.
When I read the letters of Jimmy on this site I was helped and moved by his honesty and admired how well he expressed himself. It helped me to put words to my early sense of loss as I quietly fulfilled my duties and gave support, but knowing that I truly felt a loss of the usual response from my partner-the hug or the smile or the affectionate response for her care giver. As I talk about this I feel it helps me now to acknowledge these feelings. My time as a care-giver was short, but demanding in iots of ways, but I cannot imagine the continual stress of caring over a protracted period of years as many have to deal with and have written about in this forum.
My sweetheart passed on just 2 weeks ago and it is since then that I have felt my own pain more acutely and it seems that I feel more free to weep and to give my feelings importance in this phase, and to give vent to them - hence my desire to express myself here. Thanks for listening.   
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Reply by KathCull_admin
06 Oct 2014, 1:36 AM

Hello Per

Welcome to Virtual Hospice.  You will find that like Jimmy, the members here are a supportive, caring group who will listen and understand.

There are several people who have lost a spouse/partner in the last little while.  You can meet Myrock, Missie and Marstin and others on these threads:

·         lost from a broken heart  

·         Husband has stage four head and neck cancer 

·         having hard time dealing with boyfriend gone..

Do you have other family close by Per? I look forward to continuing our conversation.


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Reply by NatR
06 Oct 2014, 2:14 AM

Hello Per

welcome to the forum  

i did not lose a partner and love like you did - but I extend to you my sympathy for your loss.
i am glad you searched and found this message board where you can find others who understand and will hear you - and reply.

i have worked as a caregiver for many years and have a famiky member who is now in long term care - In a very small way I do get your situation as a caregiver and how that feels - but I encourage you to keep sharing your story / and hear the responses ...

they will  help to understand your feelings and you will feel part of a large famiy
best wishes
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Reply by oldbat
06 Oct 2014, 2:53 AM

Hello Per,

My heart goes out to you over the loss of yor wife over such a short span.  But in that short time you learned just how hard it is to care, lovingly, for an ill partner.  Physically draining, emotionally exhausting, yes, but in its own way, kind of a blessing.  You kept your marriage going through everything you were doing and showing.  Maybe she was unable to respond to you the way you still hoped, but that does not mean that she didn't understand and reciprocate every drop of love you showed her.  You saw her out, Per, kindly, lovingly and gently.  Isnt' that the way we would all wish to go?  A gentle hand holding ours.  A soft voice whispering words of love and reassurance in her ear.  Be proud of what you did for and with her.

And come share your ongoing sorrow with us.  We understand.  We empathasize.

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Reply by Brayden
06 Oct 2014, 3:24 AM

Hello Per,

I too can feel the stress and strain that you have experienced in the last few months. Yet the words from oldbat must be so comforting as they come from her heart and say it so well. Keep venting here please.


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Reply by Xenia
12 Oct 2014, 7:56 PM

Welcome Per:

A;; the replies to you on your loss of a wife in such a short time is echoed by myself.

The strain of caring for a loved one who is no longer able to smile, pat your hand, cuddle up to you just to show they care is hearbreaking indeed.  Your wife loved you as much at that hard time as she did from the start when you both fell in love with each other.

Losing a loved one in a such a short time would be hard to take as it is hard for those of us who are taking care of a loved spouse for an extended length of time.  The dying process becomes so very hard and at times I would welcome saying goodbye to John then I feel guility in thinking how could I think that.  

I too miss some of the small intimate things we shared as you did with your wife, just a smile, a pat on the back, a quick kiss on passing all things I remember having shared with my husband of 58 years.   I try to remember that he probably misses them too but is too tired to talk about it as he has a hard time speaking now.  He tells me that to carry on a conversation takes too much out of him as he has cancer, COPD, heart failure and a number of other ailments so when I feel like it I sing to him as he used to laugh about my singing and knew how I was feeling.  

We all try to carry on and share your sorrow on losing your wife but you will always cherish the memories you shared with her and carry the love you had for each other for the times you find your pain of losing her too much to bear.  Your healing will take time so please keep in touch with us as we share your loss.

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Reply by Nouce
01 Dec 2014, 6:31 PM

Greetings, all,

I'm thinking about PER and trying to imagine those feelings of loss and grief. I know they are real and deep, and I will hold you in the light for good memories.

I am struggling with the grief of constantly losing but not losing my partner. Last night after a long holiday weekend of making extra effort to give him a good time, he asked me to put his phone at the right place by his bed, and I lost it. I told him I was tired of running back and forth day after day trying to keep up with everything he needs.

And then I sat down on his bed and cried and cried. Then I went to my bed and cried myself to sleep. I know he felt bad at the time, but thankfully, his memory is such that likely he doesn't remember this morning that this happened. I need to figure out how not to carry the weight of that Sunday night sense of giving up. Today is another day, and may we each find some small sign of life. Or love, even is Dostoekvsky was right that : “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.”

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Reply by KathCull_admin
02 Dec 2014, 5:23 AM

I have been thinking of your words this afternoon and evening Nouce - and I guess, in a way, I have been taking you and others on this thread, PER, Brayden, Oldbat, Xenia, NatR and Brayden around in my heart and thoughts today.

I cannot change the circumstances or experiences (nor are any of you asking me to) but I can stand with you - and I do - with great respect, admiration and caring.

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Reply by NatR
02 Dec 2014, 5:43 AM

Hello Nouce,

i saw saw this message earlier and now Katherine has written you a beautiful note.

its really hard to walk a mile in someone else's shoes but in so many ways I do get how you felt abd what you did - and first thing I want to say is .... You need the biggest hug, a large pot of tea and someone to hold your hand and let you know it's okay

you are just dangling by the end of that proverbial rope.
caregivers are a pretty stubborn bunch:). We should be conscripted into the army - because we will go and go - we will walk right off a cliff  in the hopes that our continuous efforts will pay off.

you are a wonderful person to do what you are doing and a rare person to be able to share it here.

i really want to share one thing - you are a good person, a loving spouse and a caregiver who needs to let go of the guilt and pain.  You are going to get through this - and now you know that as much as we try to be robots - we cannot go on without a bit of restoring yourself 

dont dwell on what happened - just see that you are like everyone else - you have your breaking point.
I just wanted to say I care about what you are going through - I don't always get to reply - but I do understand.
sending you a hug and understanding...
things will work out - you are among friends here - thanks for sharing your story with all of us
best wishes and a huge hug from me to you  
NatR :)  
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