1 (edited by ukmember Wed, 03 May 2006 07:55:15)

Topic: A good death

When I saw that you had started this section I thought how sad. I never imagined that I would be one of the first to add to it.

Yesterday my beloved husband of 33 years died. Ten days ago he had his ascites drained and never really got over it. He grew weaker and weaker as the days passed and was eating and drinking nothing.

On Sat, I had a sense that things were coming to a close. I called all three children (who live in London but no longer at home) and they were with him all day Sat through to Monday. We spent quality time together, looking at photographs, massaging his back and feet and talking about our experiences as a family. The rest of the time he dozed.

On Monday four friends came to visit and he sat up in bed and talked and laughed with them. Later on Sat, he started to have new symptoms indicative of internal bleeding. I suggested we call a doctor and he was emphatic he would not see a doctor  nor go into hospital. He was absolutely firm that there would be no more medical treatment.

At 10.00 yesterday morning in his own home with me, his elder daughter and a close relative who is a doctor around him, he suddenly passed away.

At Bristol Cancer Centre he had stated that he 'Wasn't afraid to die but he wanted to die with dignity.' His life was too short, - prior to the illness he was a very fit 66 year old, had just bought a bicycle and cycled to work -- but he had a 'good death' Surrounded by family and friends at home and fortunately without any pain. For the whole duration of this vicious disease he took only a few paracetamol, for that we are really thankful.

We are devasted. He was a wonderful husband and father and friend. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and affection for him from all kinds of people.  If the measure of a man's life is the number of people who are touched by his death he lived a truly good life. I feel a huge hole in the universe has opened up, one he used to fill and my life will be empty without him.

My thanks to everyone on this board who offered support help and advice. I felt comforted by the little community that grew here. In particular my best wishes to Jules and her father and I hope that the new regime works for him. I will keep visiting this site and everyone here will be in my prayers.

Re: A good death

I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my prayers.

3 (edited by jules Wed, 03 May 2006 13:28:44)

Re: A good death

dear patricia,

I am so shocked and upset to read your posting, all the way along I have felt that you have been there - to share information, frustrations and the pain.  I am deeply saddened by this news, I am so sorry for your loss, you worked so hard in supporting your husband through this, I have admired your strength and courage throughout, I am so sorry that you are in pain now, it is so unfair to lose someone so special in this way.

of course I never met or spoke to your husband, but from the way in which you described him I always felt as though I could imagine the sort of man he was.  A good friend of mine once said to me that in this life there are two kinds of people - drains or radiators - the former referring to the kind of people who take from you with little thought or recognition of your needs, and those who radiate warmth and kindness to whomever they meet.. I think that from what you have told me your husband fell into the latter category.. in additiion, I just want to say that I admired your husband's bravery throughout his short illness, I sense that it was a comfort that he did not suffer at the end, that his death was peaceful and that he was surrounded by those people whom he loved and cared so much for and that he was comfortable and in his own home. 

Patricia, I will be thinking of you now, your life has been dominated for so long by this dreadful disease, however I hope you can look back over the all the treasured memories that you must have, years of happiness and all the events of family life that you shared with you husband..your husband's illness was so short in comparison, no cancer can ever take those precious memories away from you - they are yours forever...

with love, Jules

Re: A good death

Patricia, I am very sorry to hear of your husband

Re: A good death

Dear Patricia.

I am in chok I have first this minute seen your post. I am so sad for you that your husband is no longer here. By the date I can see it is already a month ago. I hope you are doing ok and taking care of your self. I will send you good thoughts and wish you all the best.

Love Ranner

Re: A good death

Dear Patricia,

I did not see this post until today.  I am so sad to hear that your husband is no longer with you, but I'm happy to hear that he was able to pass with dignity.  A good death indeed. 

I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. 

- Sara

30-something caregiver

Re: A good death

Hello Patricia,

I've been wondering how you are doing.  My uncle passed away just a few days before your husband (Al's Story posted in this forum).  I've been trying to do all I can for my aunt, but it never seems like enough.  Has there been anything that you have done or that others may have done for you that has brought a little bit of comfort from time to time?  She did attend a few grief group sessions, but they stopped meeting for the summer!

With peaceful thoughts for everyone,

Tiffany, Wisconsin

8 (edited by ukmember Fri, 07 Jul 2006 03:15:06)

Re: A good death

Hi Tiffany
My lifeline has been my work. I run a website for parents and the office in in my home. As soon as I felt able, I went back to work. At first I was just sitting there going through the motions, unable to concentrate but gradually I have been able to get engaged.

It's become easier and keeps me occupied and stops me from thinking too much. I think if I had been just around the house I would have found it very difficult not to get depressed. I live in London - so do my children so I see them at least once a week and sometimes more. They have beeme very concerned and supportive. I guess they see that I am not as strong and invulnerable as they thought - as children often think about their parents. I have lived in my house for 21 years and have good neighbours who have been very supportive and have lots of good friends.
What I have noticed is that in the first 2 months, many people phoned and invited me to eat with them, that has tailed off and what I realise is that now I have to be the instigator; I have to phone and make plans with my friends otherwise I am sitting at home waiting for something to happen and missing M terribly.

I do feel that the worst hasn't hit me yet. The realisation that the future we had planned together - the trips we were going to take, moving house, having grandchildren I haven't really faced that yet. As I write this I am crying but there are a few things that can help. I realise that my grief is unavoidable.  I even fear that I am pushing it down and that may not be good, but I can only do what I am doing.

After M died I went with two close friends for a walk to a part of Hampstead Heath. M & I had never visited - though many people told us how lovely it was. It was beautiful and it was a clear sunny day. I cried that M was not with me to take pleasure in the day. I told my sister who said - Yes it's sad but it is still beautiful'  So I hold on to the thought that life still has many things to enjoy, even if the enjoyment is less for not being shared.

My Son: 'We have been the same as a family since Hannah was born (my youngest). We were five and now we are four but a family is an organic thing, other people join our family and we will go on. I found that helpful.

Other thoughts I find helpful:
He had no pain
He had a full and very interesting life (unlike my son's friend who died in a car accident at 20)
Many people loved him
My children had their father all through their childhood and beyond
He would not want me to give up on life
in sum , I miss him so much because I loved him so much but 'better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all!'

This may not be of any help to your aunt but I hope so.

Patricia