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When you find out your husband is dying

This response is based on what we have learned from people who have gone down the road you are on now. Some things will fit for you and some things won't. It's hard to think about anything else. Nothing can be the same from this point on. Most of us at some level don't want to believe it, and we may deny or avoid the reality.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: My Boyfriend Died and it Changed My Life...

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How Doctors Tell Patients They're Dying - Being Mortal - FRONTLINE

My husband is dying and I don’t know myself

If your spouse is dying, you may go through a variety of strong emotions, all of which are natural. Preparing for death is a difficult process, both emotionally and physically, but there are several ways to make the most of your time together, as well as plan for what lies ahead.

As a spouse, you will likely play different roles in this process as a decision-maker, emotional support system, and caregiver. Preparing for your spouse's death can be really hard and emotional, but it can also help bring you closure and ease you into the grieving process. During these emotional times, try your best to be present with your spouse and make them feel as comfortable and peaceful as possible.

Spend time reminisicing about your lives together and doing the little things that your spouse enjoys most. You may never feel completely ready for your spouse to pass, but consider saying your goodbyes now so you can both feel a sense of closure and comfort.

Remember that it's completely normal to feel overwhelmed by your emotions during a time like this, so don't be afraid to talk to someone else about how you're feeling, like a close friend, family member, or counselor. It might not seem like it now, but you can get through this. For advice on how to plan for your spouse's end-of-life wishes, read on.

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He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Planning for End-of-Life Wishes. Finding Support for Yourself. Related Articles.

Article Summary. Part 1 of Seek guidance from healthcare professionals about end-of-life care. In facing the death of a spouse or loved one, you may feel overwhelmed about what to do in caring for your spouse. If your spouse has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and no further treatments are being done, talk with your doctor or healthcare providers about options through hospice and palliative care. Often the hospital's social work department is most helpful in this situation.

Consider contacting hospice agencies directly about what they may offer. Hospice benefits are often offered through private insurance too.

Be present and provide reassurance. During the final weeks, your spouse may seek to make amends, and want to feel that it is "okay to go. Let them know that that they have permission to go, as it may provide them a sense of peace and comfort. Consider doing the following in the final weeks and days: First, ask the person what they need to be comfortable.

They may want items from home, etc. They may want more jolly music or to look through old photos, etc. Respect what they do or do not want to do — if you think they might like something, and they say no, then respect their wishes and don't force it on them. Create a peaceful atmosphere with soft lighting and soothing music.

Reduce noise where possible. Read a poem, book, or spiritual passage to your loved one. If appropriate, engage in prayer for your loved one in this time of need. Allow them to reminisce and reflect on their life.

Gently massage a hand or foot, or simply hold hands. Find ways to say goodbye. Saying goodbye to a loved one is heart-breaking, but can be a great comfort for the loved one who is dying.

While you may have many feelings of sadness, fear, or loneliness, avoid burdening your loved one with these feelings in their final moments. Often the ability to hear is the last of the five senses to go, so while your loved one may seem unaware, they may be listening.

Recognize the signs and symptoms when death is near. Your healthcare providers may help provide education about signs and symptoms for a person's end-of-life care, depending on the diagnosis. In general, a person who is at end-of-life will often sleep more, eat and drink less, become more withdrawn, and communicate less during the final one to three months before death.

In the final weeks, the loved one will likely become bed-bound and may experience the following: [5] X Research source Continued loss of appetite and thirst, with difficulty in swallowing Increased pain, that can be treated, and fatigue Changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing Congested breathing due to secretions that build up in the throat, which sound like gurgling Changes in body temperature and skin Possible disorientation or hallucinations such as talking to people who aren't there Slowing of urine and bowel output Changes in sleeping patterns.

Part 2 of Engage in a family discussion about your spouse's end-of-life wishes. By having an open and honest conversation early, this may reduce stress in the long run. In terms of medical care and treatment, work with your spouse and family on completing an advanced directive and medical treatment preferences regarding their care.

Often you want to have this conversation, then break for a while to let everyone process and think about it. This helps you and your family not be ruled by your emotions when making decisions.

Reconnect later to hash out the official decisions. You are the default decision-maker regarding your spouse's care, unless another family member is appointed via the advance directive; or if you are unable to mentally or physically assist with decisions.

Deciding if you wish to donate your organs or body for medical purposes. Make a living will and get your finances in order. Talk with a lawyer about estate planning, and how to address any financial assets that may change ownership if your spouse passes. Obtain current information about your spouse's financial holdings, debts, and assets, in order to avoid headaches and surprises after your loved one passes. Discuss funeral preferences and ways to memorialize.

Depending on your family's spiritual background, there may be specific wishes, such as burial versus cremation. There may also be preferences about location of the burial, or where to scatter the ashes. By understanding your loved one's specific wishes, you can honor their choices.

You or other family members may have differences of opinion about how to memorialize a loved one, but the best way is to respect those choices made by your spouse. Consider calling various funeral homes, before your loved one is near death, in order to understand the varying costs and options available.

By understanding your budget for funeral expenses, you can be better prepared when the time comes, and not face additional financial burdens. Keep a list of your spouse's personal contacts and financial information. In our modern age, your spouse may have many online accounts for email, banking, retirement, insurance, and bill paying.

Collect the passwords and account details of all these accounts that need to be monitored, paid, and closed. As the spouse, you will likely become the primary person responsible for handling the bills, and closing accounts, in your loved one's name.

Consider making a "Lifebox" folder with all the various details of the spouse's medical, financial, and personal contacts. In an emergency, it will be easier to reference this folder, than to rummage through files, or piles of paper. Honor your spouse's memory and legacy. Discuss with your spouse and family if there are ways to honor your spouse after he or she has passed. Depending on what your spouse loved most, these actions could be big or small: Plant a tree Dedicate something in your spouse's name Give or donate personal possessions, or your time, to the community Create a scrapbook of happy memories Set up a charitable fund in your spouse's name.

Part 3 of Reduce caregiver burnout. If your spouse has a terminal illness, you may be overwhelmed by the level of care needed. Reach out to healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, and social workers to identify ways to reduce your physical and emotional stressors.

Respite options may be available through in-home care, or care at a facility. You appetite may be down, but try to eat something a few times per day. Also, nap when you feel like you could sleep, even if that's not during the night. Find other ways for family to be useful in helping with your spouse's care. If someone offers to help, say yes. Most of the time our instinct is to say thank you, I'm fine. Then later we regret it when we are overwhelmed with things to do.

Challenge yourself to find something they can do to lighten your load. Saying yes along the way can keep things from snowballing out of control. Give yourself permission to feel your emotions. Be open with people who you trust about your feelings. It is natural to be sad, upset, anxious, afraid, and lonely when your spouse is near death or has passed away. This is one of the most difficult transitions you may ever experience.

Here are some ways to get help: [9] X Trustworthy Source American Psychological Association Leading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologists Go to source Talk one-on-one with trusted family and friends about what you're feeling.

Saying Goodbye

The night my husband died, I slept beside his corpse in our bed. All night. I tell this story whenever I discuss the realities of dying at home. Even as a physician assistant , I did not appreciate the challenges — or the immense rewards — of caring for my husband at home until his death. The palliative care and hospice community often use this data to advocate for more government funding of community supports, such as personal support workers, to help people die at home.

These conversations can be difficult and very painful, but there are ways to make them easier for both you and your loved one. Time seems to freeze when you learn that someone you love has a life-threatening illness.

Coping with anticipatory grief is different than coping with the grief after someone dies conventional grief. You may have mixed feelings as you find yourself in that delicate place of maintaining hope, while at the same time beginning to let go. Not only are these emotions deeply painful, but people are often less likely to receive support for their grief at this time. Let's review what anticipatory grief is all about, and then talk about what may help you at this time.

Tips for Coping With the Death of a Spouse

Each situation is different. Your partner may be newly diagnosed, dealing with metastatic cancer, or living in a kind of limbo, not knowing whether the cancer has regressed. Here are some general guidelines that could help you provide the kind of support your partner needs:. Although your spouse has cancer, the illness is really happening to both of you. Your life is being disrupted in many of the same ways. You are sharing many of the same emotions and concerns. You are both challenged to find constructive ways of dealing with the disruptions and threats posed by cancer and with the side effects of medical treatments. It can be tremendously reassuring and comforting to your loved one to know that the two of you are facing the illness together and that your support and involvement will be steadfast and unwavering regardless of what happens. Here are some of the specific issues that you should try to face together:. Do not assume that you know what your spouse is thinking or feeling about the cancer, or that you know what he or she needs from you.

Caring for my beautiful husband as he died and through the days that followed

Skip navigation! Story from Relationships. Donna Freydkin. And on their bookshelf crammed with family photos and paperbacks, was a box. On the side, there was a sticker: Justin C.

It was all in one day—her birthday—that Cynthia Kertesz, M. But as they went for a hike together that day, she recognized that something significant was wrong.

Editor's Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at dear.

Coping With Anticipatory Grief

Please read our information about coronavirus and cancer alongside this page. If you have symptoms of cancer you should still contact your doctor and go to any appointments you have. Spotting cancer early means treatment is more likely to be successful. Read about coronavirus and cancer.


If your spouse is dying, you may go through a variety of strong emotions, all of which are natural. Preparing for death is a difficult process, both emotionally and physically, but there are several ways to make the most of your time together, as well as plan for what lies ahead. As a spouse, you will likely play different roles in this process as a decision-maker, emotional support system, and caregiver. Preparing for your spouse's death can be really hard and emotional, but it can also help bring you closure and ease you into the grieving process. During these emotional times, try your best to be present with your spouse and make them feel as comfortable and peaceful as possible.

When Your Spouse Has Cancer

After Morgan's second surgery he couldn't remember Fiona's name, but when asked who she was he answered "the love of my life". Who is the best person to care for someone who has died? Sometimes, a person who loved them when they were living. Dr Fiona Reid shares her experience caring for her husband Morgan throughout his illness and in the days after his death. My husband Morgan was a kind, active and talented man. I felt tremendously lucky when I met him and continued to do so throughout our years together.

When my husband Mike was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, Find out ways to support someone who is dying and how you can get support for.

Losing a spouse can be devastating, whether the death is sudden or following a long illness. One day you are married; the next day you are single, alone, and grieving. Between the intense emotions, the lifestyle changes, and the many practical considerations that accompany the death of your spouse, you probably feel overwhelmed and anxious about your future.

When a Loved One is Terminally Ill

This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. The night my husband died, I slept beside his corpse in our bed. All night.

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By continuing to browse this website you accept our cookie policy. Sadly, he died in , 20 months after he was diagnosed.

Family and close friends, along with the person with the life-limiting illness, now have much longer to face up to the prospect of death and say their goodbyes.

As my husband's health declined it was as if we could hear the clock ticking more loudly. All the plans we'd made for growing old, the life we'd imagined, was not going to happen. If our lives were a movie, we'd be going bungie jumping right now. Unfortunately, not all of us will be healthy enough to travel the world and live it up until our last days. My husband's decline was slow at first and has sped up more recently.

 Сьюзан, - тихо сказал Стратмор, - с этим сначала будет трудно свыкнуться, но все же послушай меня хоть минутку.  - Он прикусил губу.  - Шифр, над которым работает ТРАНСТЕКСТ, уникален. Ни с чем подобным мы еще не сталкивались.  - Он замолчал, словно подбирая нужные слова.

Кольцо словно исчезло у него из-под носа. Это совсем не обрадует коммандера Стратмора. Клушар приложил руку ко лбу.

Comments: 2
  1. Mosho

    Interestingly :)

  2. Gardagal

    I join. So happens.

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