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I Can't Tell Them

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I'm the one you all want to yell at.

I'm the one you all hate right now.

I'm dying.

I have a rare illness, one that the doctors can't diagnose. They know I'm dying, hell, they told me! But they don't know why, and it frustrates them. They won't know until my autopsy, if they know then.

I have a husband and 5 children. They love me and they need me.

They don't know.

I can't tell them.

How do you tell the ones who count on you that you won't be here for them? How can I tell them that I brought them into the world with love and tears, that now I'm leaving?

Two are done with college, one is in college, and two are in high school. Now I have to leave them, along with the husband I've fought with and loved for so many years, I can't remember when we weren't together.

I'm dying.

I'm a housewife. A life few have chosen. No one will remember me, except a select few.

I have had the most wonderful life ever. I devoted my life to 6 people. My children were not raised by babysitters, but by me. Television was limited to an hour a day when they were small, and MTV has never been allowed in my house. None of my girls has ever walked out of this house in skimpy clothing, and the neighborhood children were able to smell cookies before I put them in the oven.

I have raised many of my children's friends whose parents didn't have time for them, or the kids were too much trouble, or they were on drugs, etc. My Mother's Day sees teenagers with unGodly body piercings and tatoos, now clean and sober, who love me and are in no way biologically related. I once hung my keychain from the eyebrow ring of a teenage boy!

Yet I'm dying.

Please believe me when I say that we don't want to leave. I want to see my grandchildren born, I want to see my youngest graduate from college, I want to hold the ones I raised who went to Iraq and sent me emails and letters the whole time they have been gone.

None of us want to leave you. We love our families and would do anything to keep you from this pain. We know the pain. We have tried to keep it from you out of love. We don't want our children or our spouses to see or feel this pain.

Yet, we still die.

My husband and children don't know. I won't let them know. Why should they feel this?

I'm dying.

I've led a wonderful life, one no one will ever acknowledge. I never cured a disease, invented a computer program, or found a way to "give back" to the community.

Please believe me when I say for all of your loved ones that we never lied to you. We didn't want you to share this because we are not strong enough to deal with your grief. We feel your love. We need it and it gives us strength. But those of us who spent a lifetime helping and hand-holding, we can't let go of our love for you or our responsibility to you long enough to let you grieve.

I am selfish.

But I am dying.

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I can feel the pain in your words, because as my husband was dying when asked by the Hospice nurse if he was scared to die his only fear was what would become of me, how would I handle being alone after 48 years together, married 46 of them. He was so worried how I would cope and go on without him.

It has been 20 months now and I miss him deeply and still cry a lot.

But you do go on, he still lives so deep in my heart that I will never forget the love we shared.

My 4 grown children miss their father so very much and talking about him brings us closer to him.

I know your family will always think about you and love you so be strong for them by telling them what is happening, they need to have these last few days, months, or years to show their love and be there for you. They need to be able to say goodbye. While I hated the fact that my husband knew he was dying and the suffering he had to endure I am so grateful that we had the time to say all the things that needed to be said and we were able to say goodbye. Do this for your family, let them know, let them be there for you.



7/1/38 - 10/20/04

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I agree with Charlie,

My wife Karen lost her mother 8 years ago to cancer, and we knew all knew she wouldn't make it. We had Hospice for the last months of her life in her home. She had a real good day the Tuesday before she died and told everyone individually her good-bye and we got to tell her ours. I don't like that she had to suffer, but we did get to say good-bye. My wife died 9 weeks ago from a heart attack while we were on vacation. Now, while I know she knew how I felt about her and how much I loved her, I didn't get to say good-bye. I feel robbed by that. So please give your family the chance to say their good-bye's they will be grateful that they were able to. I know it must hurt and it will be painful for them, but I think it would be more painful if they knew that you knew and didn't say anything. My thoughts and prayer will be with you, and let your family know about this web site it has helped me and many others and it can help them through this also


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I agree with Charlie, and Derek

My Aunt passed away a few years ago and she knew she had cancer. She told no one.... I was so upset with her and angry because I never got to say goodbye... she was very close to myself and my siblings and we spent so many special vacations with her. She was admitted into the hospital late in the evening, and died before noon the next day.... no one had a chance to say good bye... no one had the chance to help her face the next journey in her existence...no one was given the opportunity to love her and hold her hand....

Please tell them.... they will be upset but they will also be there for you... you should never feel as though this is something that you should have to face alone....

Please listen, I recently lost my mom, and there are so many things I never got to say.... and so many different choices I would have made had I known...

Don't allow your children to feel quilt because they didn't get to spend enough time with you.... their grief of losing you will be big enough....

Let them hold you, cry with you and be a part of your journey.....

You won't regret it I promise....

my prayers will be for you... and your family

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Can't Tell

I re-read your post this morning and it brought up some other things. You say you will not be remembered but by a select few and you haven't given much to the community. I disagree, as you stated, you helped raise the neighborhood kids, you were a stay at home mom your kids and the neighborhood kids will remember that, you gave to the community by being there for them. My wife wanted so much to be a stay at home mom, but we just couldn't afford to. And now with Karen gone that reailty will never happen. But with you those kids were taught values that the school system can't teach. Those kids will tell their kids about you some day. You don't see it right now, but every kid your life touched will be a different and better person because you were there. So don't short change yourself, in my opinion you have the best job someone could ever have and that is being home to raise your children. I wish I could be there right now and give you a great big hug in thanks for what you have given the world.

God Bless


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Derek is so right, you have given a lot to those childen and the world, don't sell yourself short. Everyone touches someone in their life that will make a difference. My husband also thought he did not make his mark, but my children and I know he did. He was a firefighter, paramedic and saved many lives and property in his 38 year career and we were so very proud of him.

We know there are people out there in this world alive and happy today because my husband passed their path on this earth, so you feel proud of the things you did and the people you touched for their lives are better because you were here.

When my husband was dying I met another women on a grief website who had just lost her husband to the same type of cancer that took my husband and her words of support and caring helped me thru the last terrible months. I will be forever gratful for her words, she touched my life.

My prayers are with you, stay strong, and show your family how much you love them by letting them share your pain. They will be forever gratful that they had some special time with you.

I will keep you in my prayers


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Guest PattiZ54

Can't Tell - WOW!! You should NOT have to do this alone and your family does not want you to. Guaranteed!!! Sounds like you have been a wonderful Mom and they need the opportunity to tell you that. They need to be able to hold you and tell you how much they love you and help you get through this time. The ones of us that are left here on this earth feel so much guilt and you can't let that happen to your family - they will have enough guilt of their own. I know that my husband was sicker than he ever let on and that upsets me, but I KNOW it was because he was already so worried about me and what would happen to me when he was gone that he just couldn't tell me. We had 25 days together while he was in the hospital and I wish the doctors had been more up front with us about him because I don't feel that I ever said goodbye the way I wanted. They kept telling us what they thought we wanted to hear - saying that things would be better when they knew damn well it wasn't going to be better! I kept thinking that he would come home with me, so I never totally felt he would die. YOU NEED TO TELL YOUR FAMILY! They need to know.

You are in my thoughts!!!!


(Charlie 6/10/58 - 11/16/2004; I love & miss you, Dear!)

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Thank you for your wonderful thoughts, words and prayers.

My Doctors told me today that I may have about a year, they don't know for sure.

For some reason they can't figure out, the lining of my brain cells is dissolving. (Demylination) This is causing the cells to go out of control and send signals to my brain. So far I have had so many different symptoms, that they can't be sure which will finally end my life.

Sometimes my brain sends the signal to stop breathing, or for my heart to stop beating.

Sometimes it just sends pain.

If I have a year, how long should I give my family?

Could I give one month, for them to say good-bye?

I am not strong enough to do what eveyone is telling me.

I can't watch my babies cry.

I can't tell "my kids", the ones I raised and are in Iraq, just to have them worry until they come home.

If they worry about me and don't pay attention to thier surroundings, they won't come home. I can't be the cause of that.

I'm sorry, I know you all mean well, but I can't spend the entire last year on this wonderful planet causing pain to the ones I swore to protect! When my children came into the world, I made a promise to them. I have to protect them from pain, but I also have to tell them that I'm dying.

Quite a problem!

Is a month long enough? Can I wait until there is something the doctors can tell me? There is no exact time frame now, because they don't know how it will happen.

Sometimes, God forgive me, I think about ending everything quickly and painlessly. Then they won't have to see me suffer.

My biggest fear is that this is in my brain. What if I loose my mind? What if I don't know them anymore?

I have a PhD in molecular biology that I never used, but that I never missed. I loved being a mom! But still, I can't loose my abilty to think!

Those are my fears.

That's why I can't tell them, at least right now.

Can I wait?

You have all felt the pain that I am about to inflict on my family. What do you think?

Edited by can't tell
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You have read what we have all written...you know the pain and loss and grief we bear...the same that your family will someday bear. Nothing you do or don't do can keep that from happening. You are brave and selfless to want to spare them or protect them as long as you can. I understand and agree, especially about not telling your children in Iraq...it would distract them and could be dangerous for them. However, I can tell you this...my husband tried to spare me...on June 17, 2005 I left to go to my Sister's Reunion with my daughter, it was always a very special time for me and my husband knew it. He wasn't feeling well, he'd come home from work early the night before and slept sitting up in the recliner, and I sat up all night with him. I thought he was coming down with a virus, he wasn't able to eat and that wasn't like him. But I thought it was a 24 hour bug and he'd soon be up and well. Fifteen minutes after I left, he had a heart attack, then drove himself to the doctor. He didn't know it was heart, only that he felt bad. The doctor knew immediately and he urged him to call me...I hadn't left town yet, I was at my sister's, preparing to leave. George told the doctor not to contact me, he didn't want to ruin my weekend. He went by ambulance to the nearest hospital, 45 miles away. We had always been at each other's side, we were so close and loved each other so much, yet I was not there for him that weekend. When I finally got to the hospital it was two days later and he died without us ever getting to have a last talk or say goodbye. That has haunted me and will continue to haunt me the rest of my life. It breaks my heart. You plan to give your family a month or so to know...but what if that time is cut short and they don't have a month...or a day? How will they feel, knowing you didn't give them a chance to say goodbye? How will they feel, not having known just how ill you were? Perhaps they will wish they'd been more sensitive, more attentive, perhaps they'll wish they'd been there for you more. Perhaps it will haunt them that they didn't get to show you just how much they love you in your last days. That is my concern. Doesn't the military give leave to someone when their parent is dying? I know, they probably wouldn't give a year, but I would urge you to have your doctor's continually monitor you for signs of anything changing or happening more rapidly than they expect...and if that happens, let your family know asap. Really, whether we know or don't, whether we say goodbye or not, whether our loved one lingers a year or two in our care, or goes unexpectedly in the blink of an eye...nothing can quite prepare us for their departure. Loss is loss, and when we love someone, we are going to feel that loss. My mother in law was my dearest friend and she had cancer, I took care of her the last two years and eight months of her life when she was bedridden. I watched her suffer and waste away, little by little, and it was so hard to watch. When the time came, we had grieved already, and were so glad she was finally out of her pain and struggle, yet still I missed and mourned my dearest friend, and will miss her until I see her again...and it's been nearly 19 years now. When my husband died it was a total shock and I was dazed, nothing can prepare you to lose your mate, but what I am saying is, whether we are prepared ahead of time with the knowledge or taken by surprise, the loss is the same...it is just that when we don't know ahead of time, we add to that loss the additional burden of shock and unpreparedness. What you decide is up to you...if you decide to hold off telling, I would do this, at least prepare a note for each of them letting them know of your reasons to spare them, that will help them at least. I don't know that there is a right or wrong way to do this, it is a very individual decision and your family will have to respect your reasons and choices. I wish you the best. I really do understand your thinking...I am not sure I would want to see the change come over everyone in how they treated me, etc., and I'm sure I would want to make the most of the days I had left and make each one as good as possible. But I also see the other side of it too...good luck, we will be praying for you in these months ahead. Please feel free to come back to this site as much as you'd like...after all, you will be grieving too, grieving for your own losses, the time you'd thought you'd have with your family, the dreams you never saw come to pass...try to remember that there will be a continuation someday, and when you pass, the separation is temporary, that helps us all to bear it.

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Can't Tell,

I agree mostly with KayC, The kids in Iraq don't need to know, that will put their lives in danger, but I do think that the military allows extended leaves of absance for cases like this, I just don't know how long. I can check with my brother who served in the Coast Guard for 22 years if you would like. Personally, I would talk with your husband, you two are married you became one. He is someone that you can tell your intermost secrets to. Your husband knows your children as well as you do and can make a descision together on how and when to tell your children. We all can give advice on this site, but it is all based on limited information, we don't know your family like you and your husband do. This way it won't be a descision you have to make youself, there will be too many of those in the times to come. Your husband will probably want to spend more time with you, and do things with you that he might not have before, but give him that, if I had known that Karen was going to die this year, I would have spent time with her a lot differently, just to soak it all in as much as I could, I would have spent the morning that morning to give her a big hug and a kiss that really says I love you instead of rushing to make sure we had everything for the trip we were going on that day and just giving her a peck on the lips and a small hug. Let him cherrish everyday that you two have left together.

I envy you in a way, you will get to see loved ones that have passed before you in a very short time. I came across my wife's voice message on her phone last night and wish that I could hold her and hear more of her voice. You will get to see her before I will, and because you have crossed my path, I believe that when you get to heaven you will know who she is and she will know you.

Like Kayc said, there is no right or wrong way to do this, just like raising kids, no one has written a book for this, we can only give from our experience and what would have made things easier for us being the ones left behind. I know you will make the right descision based on your situation, pray to God, He is there for you and will guide you in the direction you should go.

God bless you and your family, and I will keep you in my prayers. Please keep in touch on this site, and be sure at some time or another let your husband know about this site, it will help him in the times to come.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank all of you for your kind words.

My medical insurance expired this month, so we'll se what happens from here. My husband got caught in the layoffs that have hit all over the country (although the papers say that we are in an economic recovery...I'd love to see it).

The kids in Iraq that I'm so worried about are not my biological children...they're the kids I raised, with just as much love and pain and joy as my own. No one will let them leave for a "foster mom" when they weren't legally in foster care.

I had a birthday last week. My own children and several of the kids that grew up in my house were here. They lit the grill, cooked the food, and made sure that I was queen for the day! What an experience!

Now I know for sure that I did not waste the gifts I was put on Earth with...I put it into those kids...my own and all of the others who needed me.

I have lost sensation in my hands, and my arms are numb if I stretch.

I love them, and they will know this site. Maybe they will find my old posts and know how much I loved them.

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Can't tell,

Glad to here from you again. I wish there was something I could do for you what with the layoff and no insurance it seems that the world will always kick us when we are down. God will take care of you and your family. I am glad that you are going to let your family know about this site, it will help them as it has helped me this last 3 months. Hope to here from you again and you will be in my prayers.

God Bless


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Can't tell

I hear your pain and feel it. You need to ask yur self from the bottom of your heart on what you should do only you and God have that answer. I agree with you on somethings about not wanting to hurt the people you love and making them sad when you are not sure on how long, but what are youdoing to help you is there a group you go and talk to or do you just bottle it up in side and hide it that is also not good for you. Everything seems to get worse before it gets better so hang in there. You health insuranceis a hard one what about talking to someone in your town like a congress person? The reason whyI say that is because my MOM got sick several years ago and we were told to call them and they helpped all the way. What state so youlive in there usually other means of help also.

You have to give yourself the credit you deserve about being a stay at home mom. The toughest job out there 24/7 365 really non stop as you see. The payment is more than life its self youget to see what you helpped create how strong you helpped your kids (all) are and respectful. Don't ever think that is all you did it takes a special person to have that job I was a stay at home mom until my kids hit school age.

It sounds like it is time to have a deep inner conversation with you and the MAN above to find out what you should do and how to do it.

Good Luck

Keep in Touch


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Guest PattiZ54

Can't Tell - I am so glad to see you back here! We're glad you have a place to come to and people you CAN talk to. I, too, wish I could help you. I am so sorry to hear about your husband's layoff and the insurance dilema - I think you should try to check into some help. What about disability or medicare/medicade? Try contacting some local government people and see if they can help you....

I understand what you are saying about the economy...it sucks and I don't understand why the government keeps trying to convince us that it's in great shape. I work in the mortgage business and I have seen more people being layed off and offices closed just lately than ever before. I'm sure hoping things are going to turn around SOON!! I so much hope that things turn around for you also!

Please try to find a way to talk with your husband about your situation. I think he deserves to know. He is the ONE person you should be able to share everything with - someone to confide in and someone to help you. He would WANT to do that for you. YOU deserve that.

Please continue to come here and "tell" us anything. We want to be here for you. You are in my thoughts! Take care and hopefully we will hear from you soon. Hugs to you!!!


(Charlie 6/10/58-11/16/2004; I love & miss you, Dear!)

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Can't tell,

I am sorry for your difficult situation. I came across this thread, after just joining this board, and I wanted to tell you that you have helped me a lot. My ex-husband died two years ago. We became very close again during his illness. It was liver disease, so there was hope he would get a transplant and live, and he focussed on that, and wouldn't talk about how it might not work out.

Over the months, we talked a lot, 3 hour conversations late at night (we lived 2000 miles apart, so it was all by phone.) But in the last few months of his life, he didn't call, and I was feeling a lot of fear and reluctance to call for fear of what I might learn.

After his passing, I was very upset that he didn't call me, and didn't discuss his possible death. I wished I could have comforted him. But I don't know if he wanted comfort. Maybe he really wanted to face this alone -- that would have been very much like him. But I feel differently now, after two years. This is partly because my father now is dying, too, of stage 4 cancer. And I see in your words much of what I think my ex-husband felt. I believe he did not want to hurt me by telling me he wasn't getting better, but worse. He did not want to see my grief, or hear it on the phone. My father doesn't want to discuss these things either. So I feel differently now. You cannot save those you love from grief over your passing. Of course we all feel grief when someone passes, whether it is expected or not. But I just wanted to say that your words help me to understand what I believe my ex-husband was feeling too, and helps me let go of my pain that he didn't talk to me about the likelihood of his death. If not talking to me about it helped him to face his death more easily, then I am okay with that -- I wanted him to be able to pass with as much peace as possible, so whatever he needed to do to make that happen is okay with me.

And I will tell you, that I feel him around me always. I KNOW he has come to me in spirit since his passing, in dreams and all the other ways described in that wonderful book Hello From Heaven. He has never left me. I hope that gives you some comfort -- I firmly believe you will be able to watch over your loved ones always.

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I had read when you originally posted here and at the time was sorting out my own despair. I didn't realize until today why I couldn't think of what to write to help you. I just wanted to share that I lost Larry seven months ago, almost eight. He was waiting for a transplant and never for one moment did we give up hope or expect that he would die waiting. He died the day before his 50th birthday. What I wanted to tell you, was that we did not know until after his death, that when they released him from the hospital for the last time, that they in fact had told him that he was dying and had developed cancer. We do not know how much time they told him he had, but he was told before he came home. He did not tell me or his family. When he came home, he was only with us four days. I know that this was his way of loving me and trying to spare me. But what I would like you to consider is that if I had known I would have wanted to comfort him, help him and not let him feel alone or scared. That is probably still one of the most painful parts of this unbearable grief for me. Waking and thinking that he did this alone. My heart breaks when I think of his last few days. I don't begin to know what is best for your or your family, I just wanted to share my experience and hope that it will help you.

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I'm sorry for your pain. I hope that you will soon realize why you've been put through this.

I can understand your ex husband and his thinking, it's the same thinking I have right now. It's not that we WANT to go through this alone, it's that we're weak. We can't handle other people's pain. We want to smile, and laugh. We want to love like we always did. We can't handle the tears or the pain. We can't handle our own fears, much less someone else's. I look at my children, and I can't see them cry, knowing that I caused it. When the children where here for my birthday, loving me the way I always loved them, taking care of me (they know I'm sick because of my cane and the way I can't move around anymore) giving me everything they had, fixing my favorite recipes, I couldn't let them all know!

I have no idea how to break this news.

I tried to tell my husband this week. With the news about the medical insurance, I thought that this might be the time. I think he knows, because he cut me off, and wouldn't let me talk. I look in his eyes, and he knows. He just doesn't want me to say it. He doesn't want it to be real.

I can't force him to accept it, and I can't make it real for him. Maybe I'll wait until he's ready to hear it.

Did you all know, but refuse to accept it, if your loved one had a fatal illness?

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Yes, I knew. I always get that feeling, that I know when someone is going to pass away soon. As soon as he told me about his illness, I knew. He was upbeat, sure he was going to beat it. We talked a lot, for hours at a time, for months after his initial collapse. He just knew he would get a transplant, and survive. But I felt the heaviness of just knowing it wasn't going to happen. I never said that to him. As he got sicker, and his options were closing down, and they wouldn't put him on the transplant list, he stopped calling me. And I felt so increasingly burdened by my fears, I didn't call him.

I was just wild with grief when he died. But you know, that would have been true anyway. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said you MUST talk to your family. But now, I think differently. I think you need to do this your way, the way that works for you, and no one can tell you what that is. It's unique to you. If you have told your family you love them, that is really the important thing.

My father has terminal cancer. We don't exactly talk about it. We talk about the treatment, but not that it will, eventually, inevitably, fail. We don't discuss death, afterlife, anything like that. Instead I spend more time with him. It's an unspoken truth between us, that he will not be here much longer, and that I will grieve, but the time we spend is our focus now. We just spend time like we always have, arguing about politics, or watching Law & Order, or cooking together. Some things maybe don't have to be said in words.

I think I do understand, to some extent, what you are saying. I know my former husband hated to hurt me, and certainly hated to see me hurt. I know him well enough to know, now that the first agony of grief has stabilized enough so I can think, I know he didn't call me because he wanted to give me good news. He planned that he would call me after he got the transplant and was recovering. It didn't happen. I know he was doing what he could to take care of me. Maybe I would have liked to talk to him more. But he was the one going through facing the end of his life. He needed to do what he could to get through this. So do you.

Be gentle with yourself. You would never leave your family if you had the choice. But God chooses when we leave. Don't blame yourself for what you can't change.


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Guest PattiZ54

Can't Tell - I'm sure your husband does know. As long as you have been together, I'm sure he can see and sense the changes in you. You're right...he just doesn't want to believe it - none of us do.

I know after they diagnosed my husband with lung cancer, I was in total denial. I didn't realize it then, but I know now. I didn't want to hear about it or think about it - I just KNEW in my mind that he wasn't going anywhere. He wanted me to believe that, too. He was my protector. He never let anything happen to me - always there to take the pain or punishment for me. We talked a little about what if something did happen to him...he was so worried about what I was going to do or how I was going to get through it. 3 days before he passed away, he talked to both his mom and his brotherinlaw and told them that they needed to "take care of me" - to help me get through this. My brotherinlaw was to help me with things around the house and his mom was to help me financially if I needed it. I know that if he could have spared me this pain, he would have done ANYTHING to do that! He never wanted to see me cry or to be unhappy. He was a wonderful man and I miss him so much! I miss the man that protected me and loved me so much- now I feel so alone.

I don't know if there is ever a "good" time to tell someone, but maybe you could give your husband a little bit of time and then try to tell him again. I know he doesn't want to hear it, but he needs to come to terms with it. If he doesn't, he will never forgive himself....

Good luck and my thoughts are with you and your family. Please be sure to continue coming here....atleast you can tell us.



(Charlie 6/10/58-11/16/2004; I love & miss you so much, Dear!)

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My dear Can't Tell,

I've been following this thread since you first posted here on June 7 and, like everyone else, I am so very sorry that you are struggling with this very serious illness.

I am sorrier still that you seem to be struggling alone, without the full support of your husband, children, family and friends. I think we all agree that this is your life and your dying, and you have every right to do it in your own way – provided that you don't hurt yourself or anyone else in the process – and therein lies the rub, doesn't it? By taking the "I Can't Tell Them" position, is it possible that you could you be hurting yourself or those you love and those who love you?

It's completely understandable that you want to protect your loved ones from pain and suffering – don't we all want to do that? – but pain and suffering are part of being human, and part of our job as parents is to teach our children that death and loss are natural parts of living. We all know that nothing – absolutely nothing! – in life lasts forever. Every living thing goes through a natural process with a beginning and an ending, with living in between. We may act as if it will never happen to us or to someone we love dearly, but the simple truth is that we all are going to die one day. The only difference between you and the rest of us is that you have a better idea of when that might happen to you and what the cause will be.

How you view this mysterious diagnosis you've been given is entirely up to you; you can view it as a death sentence, or you can see it as an opportunity to teach your children some of life's most valuable lessons. Given what you've told us about your family, it is obvious that you and your husband have done a fine job so far teaching your children how to live. As I'm sure you know, that includes preparing them to face and deal effectively with life's many losses and disappointments, now and in the future. Difficult as it may be, and harsh as it may sound, you might think of your illness as an opportunity for you to teach your children how to die.

We cannot change the facts here – much as we may wish it so, there is no magic wand to wave that will take away your illness – in that you have no choice. You do have lots of choices, however, in how you wish to approach the final days / weeks / months of your life. Since you have to do it anyway, why not do it armed with greater awareness of what to expect, and with greater confidence about how to make the end of your life a time for growth, comfort and meaningful reflection for yourself and the rest of your family?

There are so many resources that can help you, my dear, and I'd like to point you to some of them. (These and others are listed on the Caregiving page of my Grief Healing Web site, and I'm reviewing and adding to them all the time.) Whether you choose to take advantage of them is completely up to you, of course, but my prayer for you is that you will just take a single step and begin. As the saying goes, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Actually, you have begun already, by being brave enough to come here to share your story so openly and honestly. You are not alone on this journey; we are right here beside you, and we will continue to be, just as long as you will permit us to accompany you.

Americans for Better Care of the Dying

Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness (You can read parts of this wonderful book online, at the Americans for Better Care of the Dying site, listed above.)

Anticipatory Grief: A Family-Centered Approach

Caring Connections

Dying Well, Defining Wellness through the End of Life

Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying (Book)

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying (Book)

The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living (Book)

Frequently Asked Questions about Hospice Care

Health Journeys: Resources for Mind, Body and Spirit

Health Watch: Alternative and Complementary Health Care Information

Illness: A New Perspective on Suffering

It's Not Too Late: An Interactive Guide for Exploring and Expressing Love as Life Nears Its End (Book)

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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  • 1 month later...

I am sorry I have taken so long to reply.

Yes, I am still here!

I did try to tell my family that I am dying. My husband found my Advanced Directive, and placed it on the kitchen table. That kind of opened everything up!!!

Nobody will believe me. My husband is insisting that I'm "over-reacting" and walked away. My children have painted my bathroom (WOW) and wallpapered my livingroom while insisting that I "take it easy." My husband found a job with an old friend and somehow was able to continue my medical insurance as a pre-existing condition! Don't ask me how...my husband has always worked miracles.

So they know. My husband will only talk about work and money now. I think that's because he wants to let me know that everything is okay when I leave. I do understand that much about men! So now I know that everyone will be finacially okay.

My mother wants custody of my children, but I can't take them away from thier father. My oldest daughter also wants custody of her two little sisters, so I have to figure this all out before I go. I have decided that my oldest daughter (21) has a life to live, and my husband has work and grief, so my retired mother will be the one to take the two youngest girls. My husband will financially support them and always be there and love them.

Is that okay, or am I screwing it up again?

I have never died before, so I don't know how.

How can I make sure that everyone feels loved? I don't want any hard feelings between my family members when I finally go.

By the way...

All of you who have been on the other side and watched someone die, I hope you now understand. They did not want to go. The one you mourned loves you, and wanted to make this easier. That's why I originally posted, to let you know that. I wanted to let you know what it felt like from this side.

To Derek,

I know that I was the fortunate one in order to stay home and raise my children. Not many women can do that these days. My husband at times worked two jobs so that we could have this "luxury" that women see as "lazyness". I personally think that many of them are jealous!

Also, before you judge yourself (something that you have a habit of doing) remember that I live in Texas, and the cost of living is much lower here. Please don't kick yourself that your precious wife could not stay home. Check the rates, on the internet. You will see that a stay-home mom is not as rare here.

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Can't Tell:

What a sweet post! Here you are dying, and yet you think of Derek and the rest of us. I was kind of wondering though, why you want your mom to have the children instead of their own father? Does she live nearby, and couldn't she just help him out by watching them while he's at work or sometimes an evening so he can have a break? While women are often the caregivers, both parents are important to kids...and even though he may not know how to do it, he would learn. Unless he's unfit, I don't see why he doesn't raise them. Yes, he will grieve and also be busy working (ask Derek), but a lot of us work and raise kids and as for grief, maybe the kids would help his focus by giving him purpose and divert his attention some of the time by keeping him busy.

I wish you the best. You can let go knowing you have done all that you can...and how sweet for your kids to step in and help you! You must have raised them right. And I too think that being able to be an in home mom is a priviledge that I wish all could have. I was so lucky when my kids were young but I know that all women can't do that and our situations differ...yet kids do know when they are loved and wanted. God bless you.

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Can't Tell,

So good to hear from you again. I appreciate your post and letting us know what is going through your mind during this time. I to haven't died as of yet and it is interesting to know what is going on.

No women will be able to understand men, nor will us men understand women we are just made up differently. I will say it sounds like your husband is in denial of the situation. And like most men doesn't want to talk about it. Hopefully as time gets closer he will open up. It sounds like though he is taking precautions just in case to make sure everything is in its place. I will continue to pray for you and your family, that by some mircule and by the grace of God you will be healed. Please keep in touch, I am sure there are a lot of people on this site praying for you. My e-mail is listed in my profile, feel free when the time is right to give it to your husband, I will be more than willing to help him in any way I can. It can be tough raising kids without their mother, but for me it gives me a reason to keep living.

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"By the way...

All of you who have been on the other side and watched someone die, I hope you now understand. They did not want to go. The one you mourned loves you, and wanted to make this easier. That's why I originally posted, to let you know that. I wanted to let you know what it felt like from this side."

Can't Tell:

I'm so happy to hear you are still here and keeping us posted! It's great to hear from you, I have thought of you and wondered how you are doing.

You are very sweet. You definitely did help me. You confirmed what I suspected, that my ex-husband wanted to save me pain (although he couldn't), and did the best he could to spare me. I know now that I wanted to be there for him, to save him from pain, and he wanted to keep me away from the day to day difficulties, to spare me pain. We tried to save each other because we love each other. It helped me make peace with how things happened.

Please keep posting here and let us know what is going on with you. I am sure when your husband said you are overreacting, it is his fear talking, he is hoping it is only overreaction, that it's not true. It will probably take time to sink in.

All the best to you,


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Cant tell,

First let me say I am inspired by how strong you are. I also wanted to add that when my husband was dying (which was unexpected although he did have cancer his death was quick and we thought he was going to recover well) I wanted to be with him and tell him I loved him which I never got the chance to do. It bothered me for a while. It also bothered me that he told the social worker in the hospital tell her not to come. I wanted to be there, but now I realize he wanted to spare me the extra grief of seeing him intubated and so sick. Thank you for your posts I was reading them and they truely bring me comfort. Take care and God bless.

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