I too, recently lost my husband to cancer. 5/8/2009. He also passed away while in a palliative unit, and like you, I was holding his hand as he took his last breath.
My husband was also struggling with his breathing and unable to eat. He had a tracheotomy due to severe swelling in his face and neck. Over a period of months his ability to eat and drink declined to the point where he wasn't able to do either.
It was such a difficult thing to watch as my husband wasted away before me - I felt so helpless! He was so brave, so very brave.
I have a wonderfully supportive family, but at this stage haven't been to see a counselor. It is something I'm thinking of doing but as yet, haven't found the time to go.
I have been kept very busy with visits from family and friends. My mum has been staying with me for the last 3 months but is due to return home (interstate) next week. My dad also passed away two years ago - lung cancer, so mum knew exactly what I was going through.
My mum is also "getting on" in years and will be 80 next birthday. Mum is due for a knee reconstruction asap, something she postponed to be here for me. I have decided to take the remainder of this year off work so I can care for mum during her surgery/recovery period and also to care for my daughter who will be having surgery in October.
I have been thinking about your rainbow moment and I understand how special that was. My husband and I managed to "get away" for a weekend towards the end of his illness. We were driving through the country and decided to visit a Macadamia farm that we had seen advertised in a brochure. It was a rough drive into the farm, but once we arrived we were rewarded by the most beautiful tree. It was in autumn leaf and with a slight breeze, was shedding it's leaves. We were both spell-bound by the beauty of this tree and at that moment we both felt so calm and peaceful. It was very special. My husband also insisted I take a photo of that tree. It's a gorgeous photo. I haven't had it printed yet, but I'm thinking of printing that photo on the many thank you notes that I've yet to do. Hopefully others will enjoy our photo too.
Oh, and just for the record, we didn't see any macadamia trees. After a lovely hot chocolate in the cafe and talking about "our" tree, we forgot all about them!
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My husband passed away 15 days ago, 12 months after diagnosis. It was such a difficult 12 months, with so many setbacks, so many problems. We tried to "make" happy memories, had a few mini breaks away and lots of family time with our three beautiful daughters, their husbands and our gorgeous grandson. But it wasn't enough! I wanted more! We found out, around April, that my husband was terminal. It doesn't matter that we had that time to prepare, we still weren't ready. It was still a shock when it happened. I'd spoken to the doctor on the day he died and was told it wouldn't happen for a couple of weeks. I guess my husband had the last laugh! He met death on his own terms, when he was ready. At least in this, he got what he wanted. He was so very tired! And now....what am I going to do now? I don't know how to live my life without him. I thought we would grow old together. I thought we would get to retire together and go on a cruise and have fun. How do you keep going when your world has fallen apart. How do you pick up the pieces and move on? I have loving family and friends, but I feel, so very much, alone.
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I have only recently lost my husband - 15 days ago - it still doesn't feel real! My husband was first diagnosed with cancer at the back of the tongue, in July last year. I took time off work to care for him. I'm so glad I did, although I often felt useless - I couldn't change anything, or make it go away. If only I could. It was so hard to watch him wasting away before my very eyes and there was nothing I could do about it. It didn't matter how many nourishing meals I prepared for him, he couldn't eat them. He had surgery to remove lymph nodes to the right side of his neck (more cancer) and due to severe facial swelling, had to have a tracheotomy. He slowly lost his ability to swallow and to talk and to breathe. It was devastating. He was so very brave. He passed away at a palliative unit, quietly in his sleep. Just as he wanted. We were married 33 years and were together for 39 years. I don't know what to do without him. Where do you begin?
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.