ML6363 Posted April 11, 2015 Report Share Posted April 11, 2015 It's been just over a year since my husband Richard died. He'd been suffering from lung fibrosis for almost two years, but oddly enough, the doctors never mentioned this was a fatal disease. When malignant cells showed up in a routine analysis of lung fluid, we were told this indicated stage 4 cancer (terminal), but even then, no prognosis of life expectancy was made; if the patient doesn't want to hear it, the doctors won't say it. Though I completely understand not wanting to know (I don't think I could live with a clock ticking away above my head), this made the last months very difficult. R had half-convinced himself it could be 5 or 10 years; I had a bad feeling it would be very much shorter. But there's a big difference between 10 years and 5, and between 5 years and 2, 2 years and 1, and less than a year - and if the doctors won't say anything, what do you tell the kids? Your own best guess, based on things you've looked up on the internet? So while I was half-preparing for the worst case scenario within a year, we couldn't talk about it at all, as he didn't want to consider that possibility. Then the pulmonologist finally said (3 months after finding the malignant cells) that she was expecting "things would go wrong" in somewhere between 6 weeks and 6 months, which was even shorter than I'd guessed. During the shock of the first week after that prognosis, I cancelled a trip and most of my work for the next 3 months. At the end of the week I called a lawyer to ask if there was anything we needed to do. R didn't want to talk about it. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he was hospitalized. Even then, he held on to the idea of going home again. Several days later, the doctors told us they were afraid he wouldn't make it. He was suffering so badly (suffocating, despite the highest amounts of oxygen possible), that he finally asked to be sedated and died 20 minutes later. It was exactly 2 weeks after the doctor's warning. Even though we were able to say goodbye, we never had a chance to talk about so many things - not important things, like how he felt about dying and leaving us, or practical things, like did his will need any changes, or even stupid things, like where he left a key I ended up needing. I guess in the end, the time is always too short, and there are always things left unsaid... As is probably the case for a lot of people, the worst time was waking up every morning. Every day would start in a flood of sadness: sadness that he's gone forever, sadness that he suffered so badly the last months, sadness with every memory of things we shared that will never happen again. Then I'd get up, the day would start, with all the business of kids and work, and miraculously it would be evening again. I thought that after a year the sadness would have become less, but somehow, it doesn't really seem to. The worst mornings are ones after dreaming about R. In some of the dreams, I feel terrible because he's suddenly back, but I've remodeled his studio (he was an artist) and given away all of his paints. But even in the ones where he's just sitting in his chair, or doing the dishes, after my first joy at seeing him, I'm overwhelmed with sadness, thinking that he'll just have to die all over again. It's just as sad now as it was a year ago - the physical suffering, the feelings he couldn't talk about, the emptiness he left behind. Maybe after two years it gets better? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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