My husband and I were married forty-two years upon his death in 2012. He had been a smoker since age eighteen. He died young, only sixty one. We were in shock of course; hearing about the Cancer. I had to come out of my comfort zone and learn to drive in unfamiliar territory, to get him to his chemo treatments That was a huge step of confidence for me. I was his only help in the eleven months before he died. My oldest daughter, living with us was disabled and the other daughter lived in another state.
I watched my husband’s hair thinning and become skinny as a skeleton. I had to watch helplessly as he ‘puked his guts out’ and began losing control of his kidneys. I had to help him by holding a urinal bottle for him to pee. His male ego took a beating as he began having to wear diapers. He insisted on keeping his sweatpants on. That was hard, as he wet his pants before I could get them off and use the urinal. I finally convinced him to use the diapers. The daily stool softeners took their toll on him. His bowels became impacted. He cried with stomach pains because he was so constipated. I told him to go on the pad and prayed for him. After being in pain for three days, he finally had a bowel movement. What a relief that was for him.
I forced him to give up his cigarettes and use an electric cigarette. I also pushed him into physical therapy, even though he was weak. Looking back, I would not have done that if I knew he would only live less than a year and be sick and in pain the entire time. You just never know. I would easily suggest to a spouse not to use chemo, though that is a personal decision. I feel it is better to let them have quality of life for as long as they can.
My husband survived on jambalaya and ®Eskimo Pie ice cream. LOL We would stop at the jambalaya shop after Chemo and buy a big bucket of jambalaya. My husband was a Cajun man. Sometimes we went to his favorite restaurant, ®Waffle House. My husband would not use a walker. Instead, he walked with his hands on my shoulders, behind me. We hit a crack in the sidewalk and down he went. Two gentleman inside the restaurant came out and each took his arm. They brought him into ®Waffle House and even assisted him to the rest room, helping him to undress and pee.
My husband’s brain scan came back as no sign of tumor or Cancer! We praised Jesus and two weeks later, it all came back. My husband ended up in hospice. He was treated so wonderfully, never being allowed to be in any pain. They bathed him and helped him when he became impacted again. I advocate for hospice as it is the best way to die.
My husband died the day after his sixty first birthday. I was with him in the room when he took his last breathe. I remember telling him to go to the light. I told him to let go, that we would be okay.
A couple days after his death, I guessed I lost it from grief. I was in a Walmart®. I had found a carton of my husband’s cigarettes in his desk. At ®Walmart, was in an aisle, cutting up cigarettes in a grocery bag, crying. The customer service refused to refund the $25 for the cigarettes. A security guard sent me out of the store. You never know how grief will affect you. I promise, you will gain your sanity again.
The day of his funeral, I was looking out the kitchen window at the messy yard. It all fell apart while he was sick. I remember talking to Jesus, “I can’t do this, Jesus. How will I ever get the house repairs done and the yard in shape?” I heard Jesus tell me (in my mind), “You won’t be able too, but you can do it through me.” Jesus was right, it all came together. The house sold for the price I set. Two friends did the repairs and sold my car, all while I was living in another state. The coffee company my husband had worked for (thirty years) sent four men to my home to do repairs and painting. The company paid them as though it was a regular route day.
Three months after my husband’s death, my oldest daughter and I boarded a plane, heading to our new life in another state. I carried my husband’s heavy crematory box on the flight. I had to argue before they would let me bring it on the plane. We have been in our new home ten years. We lived from rental to rental before buying two homes on one lot. How did I cope? Lots of prayer and dancing. I joined a dance at the grange in my hometown. I started writing again for the first time in twenty years and have had writings published again.
I promise you will get through the grief and come alive again. Pray, pray and pray and get involved in activities. Meet new people. Don’t stay isolated. God bless you.