Lost my wife and best friend in Jan. 2014 after 8 years of Stage IV Breast Cancer

by Peter
(Los Angeles, CA)

I lost my wife on January 21, 2014 after 8 years of Stage IV Breast Cancer. She was a fighter and bounced back many times only to have the cancer grow and spread and then have to do more chemo. We were married for 33 years -- not all sunshine and roses but we kept it together and made it through the tough times. She was my best friend and I loved her dearly.

I feel very fortunate because we had time to talk about everything so I knew her wishes and what she wanted me to do when she passed. She kept on making lists of things we needed to do right up until she began hospice care. I knew exactly what her wishes were and have been able to carry them out.

There were many times during those 8 years of treatment when it looked like the end was near. I grieved for her so much during those years that in the last year I felt burned out. Spent. Like I was beginning to shut down emotionally.

She suffered so much and yet she never complained. Early on she decided that it was no use complaining and she channeled her energy toward trying to help others.

She did everything she could to make her passing easier on me. In the last few years I had to find work in a city two hours away so she helped me find a small apartment there and I'd commute back on Fridays and return to the city Sunday nights. It was like she was helping me to practice being on my own again.

It wasn't until her Dr. said, "it's time for hospice." that she started to let go and then things happened very quickly.

Our son was amazing, helping to take care of her in the last weeks. He'd been overseas to Afghanistan twice and lived far from our home so he didn't get to be there for her during a lot of her treatments.

And what a great bunch of friends and family helping us through her end days. A few couldn't bear to visit her in hospice but I gently persuaded them that they would regret not saying goodbye and they came and she passed away later that night with my son on her left and me on her right, holding her hands.

The loneliness hurts. I've moved to a place we discussed me going to that is closer to work and closer to the ocean. She would have loved it here and there have been many times when I wanted to call her and tell her some interesting detail about this place.

I have a great big hole in my life that is going to take time to heal but I have so much to be thankful for as well.


Comments for Lost my wife and best friend in Jan. 2014 after 8 years of Stage IV Breast Cancer

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Apr 22, 2014
Sympathy and hope.
by: Lawrence

Dear Peter,
What a sad but beautiful story, your love for each other shines out from your contribution
You had eight years of seeing the one you love suffer the pain and anxiety of a long drawn out illness that must have been unbelievable hell.
After reading your story I consider myself a very lucky man as my beautiful precious wife died in the blink of an eye, one minute talking the next dying.
It was Christmas Day 2012, turkey in the oven, family all together and she just slipped from this life to the next.
The shock was terrible and although we had been together for nearly seventy years and knew sooner or later one day one of us would die, when it does finally happen you can’t really believe it.
People say to me that they know how I feel, but they can’t, you have to experience the agonizing pain and emptiness of life without the person you have loved for so many years to know.
Like you, we all gathered around her death bed as I closed her eyes, kissed her goodbye, and thanked her for seventy exquisite years; she was the first girl I ever kissed and the last.
Both our daughters kissed their loving mum goodbye for the last time.
Peter, you must thank God for the wonderful thirty three years you had together and no marriage is “SUNSHINE AND ROSES” all the time that’s the fun of it, but one thing is very clear you CHERISHED her and she knew it...
It’s still early days for you, three months is nothing in the grieving process and you must allow your body and spirit time to heal, BUT and this is a big BUT, keep your mind occupied, get out of the house, don’t stay in and wallow in your grief, mix with people, go to the library and read the daily newspapers, join a club, if you can play a musical instrument when you feel ready, start playing again
I have done all these things and much more to help me overcome my terrible loneliness and heartache; believe it or not I am having violin lessons at the age of eighty five and find hard practice takes my mind off my sadness.
I still serenade her every evening on the organ and last night I sang “SEND IN THE CLOWNS” without crying, so I am moving forward with my grief, I only hope she can hear.
So Peter, we are two grieving widowers trying to get on with our lives without the person we loved more than life itself, but I can tell you the pain does get easier in time but will never go away completely. Nor would we want it to.
With deepest sympathy.

Apr 21, 2014
Lost my wife and best friend in Jan. 2014 after 8 years of Stage 1V Breast Cancer.
by: Doreen UK

Peter I am so sorry for your loss of your beloved wife to this awful disease of cancer.
Your grief started the day of diagnosis so you have been grieving a long time. It must have been so hard on you going through this long cancer journey.
My husband was diagnosed in March 2009 with the worst rare inoperable, incurable lung cancer. My grief started that day and lasted 3yrs.39 days when he died May 5th 2012. Next week will be 2yrs. since I lost him. The cancer journey and treatments were so distressing for my husband and us all as a family. You somehow just get on with the caring suffering silently, feeling helpless many times over trying to do all you can when what you can't do is swap places with them, take away their pain, or save them. It is one of the most helpless and surreal experiences. Knowing your loved one is going to die.
I would look into the face of my husband and see his sorrow and there were no words to say that would make it better. HE DIDNT' WANT TO DIE. I DIDN'T WANT HIM TO DIE.
I sit here alone wishing he was with me again. An eternity now of emptiness and loneliness. Times I want to discuss things with him and he is not here. I have to make all the decisions ALONE NOW.
I was able to give my husband a good burial. Pity he can't see the beautiful verse on his gravestone. Pity he doesn't know I will be buried with him in a grave for two. Pity he doesn't know all his work colleagues came to his WAKE to celebrate his life and raise a glass to him. Under the circumstances it was a great day of HONOUR to Him and His life. I will remember my beloved with the very deepest love and affection a Wife could have for a husband.
May God draw close to you and give you His Comfort and Peace.

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