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The Love of my Life is Dying
1 Posts
My husband has been battling colon cancer for 5 years. He is now at the end. He has been given 10 months at best. We have remained hopeful throughout this journey but this news has hit me like a rock. I am usually strong but I find I cannot cope. I am so scared, for him, for me, for my children. I am 1 year away from retirement, my children (2) are just heading off to university. I feel like I am losing everyone I ever loved. In the past year I have lost my mother and 5 years before that, my father.
My husband is my rock. He is so gentle and a problem solver. After 25 years together, I don't know how to be strong without him. I can feel myself crumbling but want to be strong for him. He needs that and he deserves that. I am so, so sad and anxious about the future. It is like waking up to a nightmare each morning but it doesn't go away. I need help and guidance to be strong.
4 Replies
Runner Girl
1688 Posts

I am so sorry that your husband has been in this battle for so long. It has to have put tremendous stress on all of you.

While I have not lost a spouse I have lost nearly my entire family. My sister died in a car accident in April 1986, then my brother died in another car accident in August 1986. My dad passed from lung cancer in May 2013 and my mom passed from untreated diverticulitis in January 2018. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2018 and a year later my fiance decided he could not deal with me having cancer so he bailed.

I invite you to join our Grief group, the link is here: Group Home - CancerConnection.ca

I think you will find many stories, similar to yours and perhaps some folks you can reach out to. I'd also like to introduce you to Whitelilies‍ , she has some experience with this type of cancer. I'd also like to tag Kims1961‍ and Brighty

Are you working with a palliative care group?

Runner Girl

6765 Posts
Jan1116‍ I'm so sorry..my heart breaks for you for what you are going through. I lost the only person I ever loved to esophageal cancer 3 years ago. It turned my world upside down. We were about to be married and cancer took him from me right before the wedding. . I didn't think I would ever be able to go on,but here I am.
there is no right or wrong way for you to feel ,nor do you have to be strong at all times.
I know it's not easy but please make you are still eating,sleeping and exercising. Its important for you to stay healthy.
the most important thing you can do now is to reach out for support. Friends, family, social workers, and a support group. I joined a grief councilling group plus had one on one with a grief counselor after he passed. It helped me tremendously to be a able to cry with someone and not hear the usual 'cliches 'that people say. Just someone who totally understood. Plus in my grief group I made a few friends and we still get together 3 years later for barbeques.
I also posted a lot on the site and the support here was wonderful...plus again I made some wonderful friends.
What I found that helped me a bit was to try and compartmentalize things. The cancer thing was happening .. that was one part of my life..., but then I still had the other things in my life too. I didnt want everything taken from me. So I made the other parts of my life go on as they normally would. I went to work, watched the shows I usually watch, did my mundane tasks as I normally would.... because I wanted to pretend my life was still as it was. It was a way to cope. Although I did break down at work all the time in the first while.... everyone was so supportive about it and so understanding. They let me have time outs to cry in the bathroom if need be.
what gave me relief when he passed was that he was no longer suffering. He suffered so much and he was finally at peace. That brought me some comfort too.
I still miss him all the time, I will forever. But as the time goes on,the pain lessens. I didnt believe that when my grief counselor said that to me,but yes,its true.
Now I can think of him and smile and remember the wonderful times we had together and be thankful we did get that time. If I never love again, I'm thankful I at least had love once in my life.
you will get through this and we will be by your side. You're not alone. Keep reaching out. @runnergirl thanks for the tag.
2091 Posts

Thank you for trusting us with your very sad news. So wonderful you two found each other for 25 years, have two children and a life of memories.

When i was diagnosed with cancer, there seemed to be this unspoken topic of dying. No one wanted to talk to me about the possibility, I had no idea what would happen, I was frightened and not ready to leave a husband of 27 years and 2 kids in university. So..I took a death and dying course, there i could talk about it death. My own - my family - friends possibly.

I will send some links that were helpful for me. Some things i learned is the power of resiliency in a family. We are stronger than we think. Allowing help and love to come into the family at this time, is a gift to your husband and to them. It's ok to talk about death and dying - it doesn't mean we give up HOPE - but also allows us the time to say things, do things that help during this difficult time.

Palliative care can be really helpful for both the physical and mental health at this time. Knowing what is most important for your husband - no pain? less meds? staying at home as long as possible? Hospice centers can be invaluable -even if your plan is to have him die in your home.

Having those tough conversations can be such a gift of love. Does he have things he would like to share with you? the children? family? He is probably also worried about you - so opening up the door of communication can be freeing.

This is hard but families can do hard things. It is also love. Know that it is ok to get some time away for yourself - you need to care for you. Crying is just a way of love pouring from our eyes - we don't have to be strong. We can be scared, unsure, angry but we can also find laughter, joy and relief. It may help that you get some support -a local counsellor? family doctor?

Runner Girl‍ and Brighty‍ shared some great ideas, Most importantly you can always reach out here. We get it.

Here are a few resources - take a look when you feel ready. This is about you and your own timing - you will find your way.

Resources (mygrief.ca)
Palliative and End of Life Care - Ontario Caregiver Organization
Taking care of you the caregiver | Canadian Cancer Society

I can't express how strong you are in reaching out , telling us your story. You have helped others on here by just doing that.
Please let us know how you are doing, when you feel able.
1073 Posts
Jan1116‍ Hello....I am sorry to hear of your husband's timeline.......it is all overwhelming, at this time.....it is OK to be emotional.....of course you wish to be strong for him; especially in his presence.....kudos to you for that......please know, he too, feels all sorts of things....together, your bond, will get you, both, through this.
Terrific ideas already shared by other members....
My dad, just passed, of colon cancer.......he was in palliative care "at the end"......he was kept comfortable and pain free....for that, now, my mom and I are so thankful......
At the hospital, where your husband attends, there should be an Oncology Social worker......see if you can get an appt; even just to talk, for a bit.....they are a wealth of resources too....Hospitals also have Patient-Nurse Navigators....whose sole role is to support patients, and their loved ones, with support and answer all questions; they are Nurses too.....another source of resource......that rhymed !!
Try, each day, to carve out a few minutes; JUST for you......perhaps walk in the park.....sit on the bench....sip iced tea.....just collect your thoughts.....you need to re charge, to be the best "you", for your husband......this is to be Guilt-Free Time !
Perhaps, if you have a moment; have a look at:
Reach Filomena (contact page).....she is a wealth of resource and knowledge, in Colon Cancer...she helped me over the years.....
We are here for you.....
One gentle thought, as I read what you shared; please know, that your 2 "kids" heading to University is not really leaving you......it is them, growing up, and finding the world and conquering it......it is wonderful and healthy, and you ARE a part of their world, every day, every way......cherish their accomplishments.

Warmest Regards
Runner Girl‍ thank you for the tag
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