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[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]

a woman in grief 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,
With care,

[ ** 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.]


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