how to cope with a dying husband

My hubby has terminal cancer, and I want to be there for him and all his needs but I need to hear from someone who has done this before

Posted in family & relationships, health & fitness.

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7 Responses

  1. Generic Image Elizabeth says

    my husband is terminal with ALS but was diagnosed over 7 years ago and what they call a slow mover maybe in the 2nd stage of ALS.   at times i feel it is unbearable watching him die slowly.  so i haven’t been thru the it all yet.  but i have sort have come to accept and live each day as his only caregiver and to make other plans for myself.   i try to get out every day to exercise or play with my granddaughter and at least every 6 months get away for a few days, hire help and adult children help after their work.   visit WellSpouse.org  

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  2. NitaHart NitaHart says

    Hi Shirley,

    I am sorry about your husband. I gave up my career to look after my mother in her final days. Although it was the most difficult time of my life I am grateful now I had the time to spend with her. I will mention what I was told when I decided to become her caregiver.

    Make sure you take time to get away. I am not sure what supports you have in place but whatever they are draw on them to give you strength. I was fortunate in that I had palliative care as a support. The nurses and caregivers who came to the house were a Godsend. Don’t try to do it all. If you have family ask for help. The one bit of advice I was given is to talk to your loved one, about their life and things you may not have had time to ask. Build memories of the heart as often as you can and don’t keep what you are feeling inside. Take time to laugh because that is healing for both you and your husband. There is a book called Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom that might be good to read. Is it about a man in the final stages of life and his incredible strength to live each day to the fullest. I actually read that book to my mom. Everynight when she went to bed I would read as she drifted off to sleep. Those are moments I will remember for as long as I live. This may sound strange but in the end I was so honored to be with my mother when she drifted off to sleep for the final time.

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  3. LilTigg LilTigg says

    I was with my father when he passed after ensuring he was at home with my mother, my two brothers and my sister. We sat with him as he passed and I know he felt our love as he went. It was a release for him and in some ways for us too. Enjoy the time together, explore each other and be open. The Mitch Albom book is worth the read too. Make sure you have support for you during this time and afterwards.

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  4. dynamomma dynamomma says

    One thing I’ll share is that you never know what they will remember, whether it’s cancer or ALS.  My mother was in a home and it was the best for her at the time.  I went to see her often and most of the time she never knew who I was.  One Friday, I with my daughter and grandchildren went to see her.  She remember the baby but not anyone else.  But we chatted and she told stories.  Of course I went home with that sadness that overwhelms you.  The next Monday, she fell and broke her hip (the second time).  While she was being kept comfortable and waiting for the doctors to decide what to do, my sister sat with her.  I was at work.  I got a call around going home time and my sister said mom had passed, her heart just gave out.  I went to the hospital and sat with my siblings.  My sister said all my mom talked about alll day was the visit she had a few days ago from me, my daughter and grandchildren.

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  5. Spirit seeker Spirit seeker says

    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband and what you are facing together.  While you don’t say how much time you still have with one another, it’s important to talk with someone who is counselor that deals with this type of situation.  You might talk with your doctor or local hospital to locate an individual who does this.  They can give you both individual support, as well as letting you both know what to expect.  Beyond that find out if there are support groups for spouses of terminally ill patients in your areal, so that you can say things you need to say but don’t want to burden your husband with.

    Remember you have to take care of yourself, in order to be there as fully as possible for your husband.  Be sure to surround yourself with good friends & family if you have them. Get out for lunch, to the library, even a massage or a yoga class if it appeals to you & you can have someone stay with your husband while you get out for at least a couple hours a day.  It will help you to take a breather, & have a break for short time, so you can refill your own well, so to speak.

    Let your husband know you love him with every touch, this can be anything from holding his hand to massaging him.  Or you can consider doing some hands on energy work, if you’re interested.

      There is an excellant book on using a method called Jin Shin Jyutsu, which is an ancient oriental healing art used worldwide by trained practitioners as well as people using it for self-help & family members:  A Touching Goodbye by Judith Andry.  It’s a wonderful book & will give you “tools” to help your husband, even when you’re feeling like there’s nothing you can do for him.  Jin Shin Jyutsu can be used to bring calming relaxation and a sense of peacefulness to both those who are in the process of critical illness & dying, or for their caregivers, or for anyone at any stage of life & health.

    There may come a time when the signs are there that you need to have outside help such as hospice care or a nursing home in order for your husband to recieve the care he requires and for you to have the burden taken off of you.  Remember that when this happens that it is part of the letting go process for the two of you & that it may be what is best for you as well.

    May you be surrounded by those who love you.

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    • Beach angel Beach angel says

      I lost my 48 year old husband to cancer in 2003.  It was the hardest time of my life.  I would suggest you get hospice to help you..it is very hard.  I also would not hesitate to ask for any outside help at home that you can get.  Don’t be afraid to ask!  I had no family around.  I even had a church help me.   Get all the support you can…whatever works for you!

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      • Generic Image Shirley3 says

        Thanks to all of you who responded.  I guess my own common sense told me the same things, but I just needed to know someone else has done this.  I am so grateful for this community of vibrant women.  I’m far from family and friends, and because my husband was so difficult to get along with, I have no friends here.  He was good to me, but he and the neighbors had ongoing conflicts ( mostly about differences about repecting one’s property).  You see, we’re “yankees” in a small southern town.  I’m also not religious and there are no groups here that deal with this that aren’t christian-based.  I know I can come here for help and support and it means a great deal…thank you again!

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