How do you go on when your hearts became one... now mine is half?

by Kathleen
(Phoenixville Pa)

My husband , love of my life was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer with stage IV metastatic bone cancer through a workmans comp injury in Dec, 2009... Never would have known he was sick till the injury. He spun circles around me.
He died August 2010...

We were together for 21 years. He was a strong tall and so handsome , had the deepest dimples that just pierced my heart with a smile! He died at the age of just 49..

This man indured more pain & was so strong... before they found out he had Cancer he started getting epidural steroid injections for low back injury & inflammation.

Little to be known there was a tumor on his T-10 that ended up giving him a 90% Thoracic compression... the steroids made that area weak & it collapsed. I have been in the medical field for 30 years so I am not nieve to alot of things..
He had to have an anterior & posterior spinal fusion"2 seperate operations, 3 days apart, with all the bars & 12 screws in his back. In the hospital for 1 month, then go to rehab for a month before he even started his chemo... At that time he did not know he had stage IV cancer.. "I Knew"

I sometimes feel guilty for not telling him.. I was trying to protect him... was I wrong? I did not tell him because I wanted him to fight & come home... He was so strong, He would tell me it is what it is & you can't change it! He never complained about his pain although I know even though he was at the top of pain killers they did not numb it.. So many times I wanted to hug him, well I really couldn't because of his back, and just bawl my eyes out infront of him!! I never did... I felt at the time I had to be strong for him.. He knew I cried he told me so.. But why do I feel so guilty for not showing him my immense sadness?

It will be two years since he is gone this August... Seems like yesterday... I feel so lost & lonely with out him, he always took such good care of me.. My heart is broken! We shared so much together. He was home on Hospice, I feel blessed that I could take care of him, and that we actually got to talk about our lives together & to know just how lucky to have had such love in your life is beautiful & unique!

I had not even an inkling of how difficult this process was going to be! Befor, during or after.. That it would permanently be immbedded so deeply in my body heart & soul!
I cannot seem to get the visons out of my heart & mind of him laying there dying & watching him take his last breath!!! On the other side of it I am so grateful that I could talk to him, caress him & tell him I love him & that everything will be ok, you just rest... I am here! Even though he at one point was in a morphine induced coma, I believe he could still hear me & I am so grateful he could be at home where he belonged... I am so lost & heartbroken over the loss of my love... I am overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities that I now have all on my own, the house, the bills, maintaining everything, working and during this whole process I worked while his sister stayed with him till, I got done until he went on hospice...

He told me he wanted me to go to work, he did not want me to lose my job.. And I guess he also wanted me to have semi normalcy part of the day... Had I of known he was going to die so soon I would have cut my hours to part time, but we needed the money... he was 75% of our income he had a good job & was such a smart man! Amazing how you become so dependent on someone... Although I have finally excepted the fact that he is gone, I still sometimes look in the doorway and try to imagine him standing there smiling at me <3... I am now 50 and I know he would want be to go on with my life, he told me this! But How can you even begin to try & let or be with someone when you feel like you are only half of the person you used to be?? And still love your soulmate so much? He will always hold the key to my heart.... Until we meet again!

this is only about a 16th of what transpired between us in the 8months of his diagnosis till his death... I still cry because my heart aches for how he must have felt physically mentally & emotionally knowing that he was dying & all his & our dreams of growing old together were hit by a freght train!! And because i miss him so much!!
How do you mend a broken heart?

Comments for How do you go on when your hearts became one... now mine is half?

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Jul 25, 2012
Being strong
by: Kathleen

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you so very much for your kind words & support... Yes cancer is an awful disease...
You know so many people have said you are so strong, but I did what I felt I needed to do! Give him all the love,comfort, and compassion that I could.. It was not a matter of being strong it was a driven madness to just try to make him comfortable as possible & for him to know at the end of his life the pure depth of love I had for him!! I still cry sometimes, but not near like I did before... When you can cry you know you are healing & that you are where you are supposed to be.. It's a tribute of love the tears that you cry... I have finally excepted that he is never coming back & that my life must know go on, and that It will now be a whole new me without him. I will not be that same person that I was with him.. I have finally decided to open my heart to let the opportunity to love again find it's way.. I will always love him, miss him & keep our memories close to my heart in its very own sacred place... But in order to survive, I am learning to finally move forward"baby steps"... Again thank you so much for your support & words of kindness ! :)... You have truly been an inspiration to my mind and spirit & have actually enabled me to move forward.. Thank you again for your support & kind words of support!!

Jul 25, 2012
A Broken Heart
by: Anonymous

Dear Judith,
I have come to the conclusion the only way to mend a broken heart is time... It is of the essence!

We must remember how truly blessed we were to have such great love in our lives. Our spouses would not want us to be sad and be in a constant state of grief! They are always with us in mind, body & spirit...They will always hold the key to our hearts like no other.
I still miss Bob more than I could ever say in words, only those like us know the pain staking knife that pierces us from time to time..
I have finally excepted the fact that he is never coming back & that I must move forward with my life and not feel guilty for being here..
It is going to take a very special person to fill the void that we have, but know that you will be able to love again! This person will have to be patient kind & gentle & allow you to have & keep your memories of the life that you shared & respect them...
It's ok for us to want to have love again, and until you are ready to open your heart to that possibility it will remain broken!! So, my dear, cherish all of the beautiful,fun, loving memories that no one will ever be able to take from you & when you are ready open your heart again & let love in! He would want to see you happy!!
You will feel guilty at 1st, but that is normal.. You almost feel like you are cheating on them...
But it's ok... We are & must allow ourselves to feel the sun warm our skin & hearts when it shines. I hope this helps give you a better feeling & perspective on how to cope with your grief... It may still take you time there is no time line for this... But don't close your heart!! sometimes like a cocoon of a butterfly we must go to a deep dark place in order to come alive again & be free! Spread your wings & fly when you are ready!!! Time my dear, time... Take care & try to smile.. Laughter is so good for the soul...

Jun 29, 2012
Perth, Australia
by: Judith

Kathleen, if somebody let's you know how to mend a broken heart could you please let me know as I desperately have one that needs mending. For some reason your story touched something in me as it is so similar to mine. My darling John had only 8 months from when they told him there was nothing more they could do to fix his heart till he passed. We did not really talk about what would happen after he passed because it was too difficult for either of us to face and the only thing I did was to try and re-assure him that I would be all right. Famous last words because it has been hell since he has been gone. Nothing could have prepared me for this so if someone out there could help us both it would be greatly appreciated.

Jun 29, 2012
you will be whole again
by: Anonymous

your loss has made me cry....what an awesome woman you are. He was so fortunate to have you in his life, and you him. Life is really just so unfair. Cancer is so awful...the pain, the suffering that goes along with it. I watched my grandfather battle cancer for 2yrs. It was awful. When he was at the hospice stage it was so....surreal. We wanted his suffering to end, but didn't want him to leave us. I can't imagine losing the great love of your life the way you did. If I had cancer, I would hope I had someone like you near me for comfort and strength and that is exactly what you did! You are still grieving....I dont' think 2years is too long, who is to say how long it takes each individual anyways. When the hardest parts of grieving gradually end, your pain will lesson, memories make you happy, not sad, and that is when you will feel whole again. Please be sure to get help if you ever feel too overwhelmed or start to experience depression...from what I understand there is a difference between greiving and depression. Also you don't want your grief to turn into complicated or prolonged grief. Again, from what I understand this is different and requires professional help usually. I am sure you know much of this anyways. I just want you to know that I think you are incredible, amazing, loving and strong human being. I wish you peace and relief from your grief soon.

Jun 28, 2012
Identify with everything
by: Brenda, Dublin Ireland

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I lost my husband the 2nd September 2010. I got upset today because I was told I was wearing my grief too hard. Whatever that means. I felt awful. Like a failure. But I have only started to feel the loss now and I identified so much with your story. The time lapse between first symptoms and Tony's death was similar and he went through so much through surgery. His was stomach cancer and he had a major surgery, a gasteroectomy. But I too battle with the memories, I often wonder if I should have told him that after the surgery I was told there was an 80% chance of the cancer coming back. Also I was advised not to tell him cause he was suffering too much with infections after the surgery. I did say goodbye I suppose, but I feel very isolated after his death, people just moved away gradually and being told I was wearing the grief too hard nearly broke my heart. I think we are very brave, I have a massive mortgage to manage on my own and I am still in a bit of denial about that. But you are amazing. What you did for your husband was unmeasureable. Don't doubt it. I think we live in shock for some time and many people don't understand. I think, for what it's worth you are great and it is an impossible situation, you kind of have to leave your body kind of to look after them. Otherwise we couldn't do it. That's what I think anyway. Mind yourself and thanks again.

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