I HAD CLOSURE BY HELPING HIM IN ANY WAY I COULD
[This is a response to my post of 1/13/03. Carole replied on 1/16/03. It is reproduced here with her kind permission. -- Robert Young, Webmaster]
Robert, I read your note on Promise**. My husband, Rich, died last February
8, 2002, from prostate cancer after a 10 year on/off battle with it.
How were we
both prepared? How was I prepared?
We did a lot of talking about death: how I
would handle things, etc. No, we had no children. I have his sister. (She
and her husband are in their 70's. Rich was 71 when he died. I am 57,
almost 58.) My only brother is 1000 miles away. So, no, I don't really have
anyone to do those things that you mentioned, but I was 39 when we married
18 years ago and was quite self-sufficient then, and still am.
I don't know if
this approaches what you were asking for as answers to your question of
preparedness. I do know that I have friends as support system, and I also
have a very firm belief that death is part of the cycle of living, as is
birth. I am much more spiritual than religious- although I do have a support
system within my organized church.
Those "grief-quakes" do come and I get through them. Rich was in Home
Hospice and I found great support from that program, and know I can continue
to get that support. I would suggest any widow/widower get into a support
system. Talking with others who have gone through/ are going through what
you are going through is really helpful and supportive.
I tried cyberspace
grief groups (a couple of them) and did not find them as helpful. The
personal one-on-one/two, the in-person has been more helpful to me. I also
have become a hospice volunteer this last year- trying to give back and be
of support to others.
Those are just a few ideas. No one really knows how
he/she will feel. Even though I thought I was ready, as I sat with two
friends waiting for Rich's body to be picked up
from our home the evening he died, all of a sudden I said , "My God, I am a
widow." That word had not even crossed my mind until he was dead.
So, one is
not really ready until it happens, and even then one has feelings/ideas that
one could not have imagined before. I do feel that I was more able to move
forward in my journey because Rich and I had really said our "good byes." I
felt I had closure on helping him in any way I could have. He was just so
terribly sick and his body was so tired of fighting. I gave him permission
to go several times those last two weeks and he did seemingly without a
horrible struggle at the end.
Robert, I hope I have not been morbid as there
was no intention to be so. I have just shared where I was and where I am.
Now, I want you and Caren to give each other a big hug and a big "I love
you." Each is really good medicine and will be in her memories for a long
time to come.
My prayers for you and her,
[ ** Promise is a mailing list for those grieving a loss. It also offers help and support to those with a spouse, partner, or family member in the last stages of life. Go here for more information.]