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