CSN Login
Members Online: 14

Did your love one prepare you for their death?

JackieA
Posts: 150
Joined: Mar 2011

I know that a lot of you in this section have either walked through the love one dying. I want to know if your love ones prepared you for their dying by talking about death? My husband on two ocassions this week has talked about his funeral and body preparation-sort of? Share please.

MomhasStage4EC's picture
MomhasStage4EC
Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2011

When my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV EC, she didnt want to talk about it. However as gently as I could I brought it up myself. She was very young so I knew it wasnt a subject she had thought about too much. So one night in the hospital I walked in and said mom we really need to talk about this. I think it is important to let them know you are not giving up on them, but just in case the outcome is not as they hope you need to know. I also needed to be realistic, I am 32 and and have two small children, my mother did not have life insurance and 70% of Americans do not have Life insurance when they die. This is a hard thing to talk about with your loved one. But in speaking with my mother about it, it really brought us closer. And I think she appreciated someone asking what she wanted. My mother then signed her sports car over to me and said, I want you to sell this and pay for my funeral. If I had never brought it up it could have been very tragic for me to make that decision without knowing if thats what she would have wanted me to do. Having her permission to carry out her wishes was much better than researching it behind her back. I wrote down every thing she told me. And when I had time and I knew the end was near I made pre-arrangements. I think this saved me the week she died from a complete nervous breakdown.
Knowing what was going to happen and how much it would cost and preparing ahead gave me time to actually grieve rather than worry about flowers and caskets and gloom and doom.
The most important thing was I wrote it down...and then never bothered her with the details. One long night of conversation is all we needed. It helped her to realise everything would be ok, and that I would be ok too.
Leave nothing unsaid.
GOD Bless!

Noellesmom
Posts: 1275
Joined: Aug 2010

Died last May of congestive heart failure. It was a protracted death and she was in the hospital for three months and then a nursing home/rehab center the last three weeks of her life. I spent almost every night with her and that gave us a lot of time together after everyone went home and before we tried to settle down for the night (although we were up, most nights, all night with only brief ten minute naps). We talked about everything.

The morning she passed away, there was no question in my mind what she wanted for her service and her burial. It was very calming to know we were carrying out her wishes.

I miss her terribly.

JackieA
Posts: 150
Joined: Mar 2011

we had a similar conversation, Well, what I plan on doing is the next time he brings it up we will talk. I am scared because he is believing God to heal him, but lately he has so much pain...I am so stuck and I feel like if I talk about funeral and wishes, he will think I am giving up on him and God. Have you been there? I feel like the time is coming though.

Noellesmom
Posts: 1275
Joined: Aug 2010

Well, I don't think you are giving up on your husband or on God when you discuss the realities of life, one of which is, of course, death. When people told me it was brave and terrific I had these discussions with my mother, I told them you can't get to Heaven until you die so for mom and me it was just natural. No fear of death here - only, perhaps, angst related to the dying process.

Maybe your husband is a planner? If so, have a pen and paper ready to let him know you are only trying to capture his wishes, not dwell on his dying and death. Ask him if he wants to be the one to write down what he wants regarding his visitation and/or funeral.

This can be hard or this can be easy, dependent upon how the two of you feel about death and how much or little it has been discussed when you've lost loved ones. It is a natural discussion to have: just getting started is probably going to be the hardest part.

MomhasStage4EC's picture
MomhasStage4EC
Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2011

Yes, I have been there. Its hard to explain that your not giving up on them. So I said it out loud. I said the words Mom I am not giving up on you. Its the only way I could get what I was trying to say out in a clear understandable way. Many times the drugs they are on fog up things. So I always said what I meant exactly. I felt like I just didnt know enough to not ask. As for GOD, I called for a priest or a nun to come pray with her every day. That also helped her to understand that we were not giving up on him either. She trusted GOD and she trusted me. It doesnt make you feel better, by any means. But it does make you feel confident that you know exactly what they want and how to carry it out. I did it pretty soon after her stage IV diagnosis. Not everyone can do that or think to. But it helps to get it out of the way so you can then concentrate on them getting well. I was able to spend quality time rather than worry about the dreaded conversation. She also felt more comfortable opening up about things after that. She understood I really cared about her wants as well as her needs. Its not easy Jackie but you will get through this. I wish him and you well and hope he has a full recovery.

MomhasStage4EC's picture
MomhasStage4EC
Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2011

Yes, I have been there. Its hard to explain that your not giving up on them. So I said it out loud. I said the words Mom I am not giving up on you. Its the only way I could get what I was trying to say out in a clear understandable way. Many times the drugs they are on fog up things. So I always said what I meant exactly. I felt like I just didnt know enough to not ask. As for GOD, I called for a priest or a nun to come pray with her every day. That also helped her to understand that we were not giving up on him either. She trusted GOD and she trusted me. It doesnt make you feel better, by any means. But it does make you feel confident that you know exactly what they want and how to carry it out. I did it pretty soon after her stage IV diagnosis. Not everyone can do that or think to. But it helps to get it out of the way so you can then concentrate on them getting well. I was able to spend quality time rather than worry about the dreaded conversation. She also felt more comfortable opening up about things after that. She understood I really cared about her wants as well as her needs. Its not easy Jackie but you will get through this. I wish him and you well and hope he has a full recovery.

cosmic_me
Posts: 35
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi Jackie. I just lost my Mom on the 14th of December. So many thoughts are racing through my mind constantly since she passed. One of them was how my mother avoided any talk about how this will feel for me once she's gone. I tried several times to address it in a very cryptic way to start the dialogue but she just didn't want to talk about it. I got it. Her pain was to much to share when it came to knowing how much I'd miss her. There honestly would have been nothing she could ever say to me to ease how I feel this very moment. We would have done nothing but shared a lot of tears knowing that some topics can't even really be spoken. My mom did become very organized when she left the hospital and finally went with palliative care over Chemo. There was nothing more they could do for the Pancreatic Cancer and she knew it. Her organization included immediately speaking to her pastor about her funeral. I left them alone and tomorrow when I meet with him I will find out what her desires and wishes were in that area. For me she didn't talk about this as well. Again my belief is she was avoiding all the emotion it may have caused. Hospice was great about offering counseling and when the counselor was visiting she admitted mom clearly avoided the topic of her departure in front of me. She didn't dare become sentimental as well. It was her way of coping. This was her wish and I know it was only from a mothers heart. She just couldn't bare to see me in anguish if we spoke about what was to come. I love her so dearly and can't believe she's really gone now but it was precious things like that about my mom I'll carry with me forever. Always looking out for me to the very end. So if by chance your loved one doesn't go into detail about things after they are gone it's to protect you from the heartache you will deal with in even talking about it.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug 2009

My husband and I talked about death, memorial service plans, the grave stone, and even how I was going to manage my old age without him. We talked about everything we could think of. I once confessed to him that I felt guilty when I asked about what he wanted done with his collections, etc., and he told me that it made him feel better. He wanted to know that everything was going to run smoothly after he was gone. It gave him some peace. One of his greatest worries was leaving me alone. Even though I assured him that I was strong and capable, which he knew, he still wanted to take as much off my shoulders as possible. It was a relief for both of us to have as much of our affairs as possible in order. The pastor knew what songs to have for the memorial service. We knew he wanted to be cremated. As many repairs and remodels on the house were completed as he wanted. Our bathroom was finished the day before he died. To make a long story somewhat short, he needed to talk about these things. It wasn't giving up; it was part of his bucket list. It eased his mind. It did make things much easier for me as well. Hang in there. Fay

hart1249
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2011

Those were exactly the things I wanted to talk about with my Don. We had about 4 months from the beginning to the end. Years ago we had both decided we wanted cremation. So... that was covered. I know what to do with the ashes. Up to the very end he just kept saying we have to think positive. I did take a moment to tell him that we would fight and fight as long as he wanted, but... "No matter what happens, I had the time of my life. What a ride!" I talked about sweet, fun, cherished memories and we laughed. I hoped it would open the conversation as to how he saw me "living without him". But it did not. We were such soul mates. thirty years together. It's really difficult dealing with the loneliness. Alone in a crowd. It's only been 2 1/2 months. Christmas season is probably not helping. This week has been an emotional roller coaster. He's been gone 2 2/12 months. Fay, I wish you a Merry Christmas and thank you for the thoughts you share on this board. Hugs!

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug 2009

Yes, it was a gift. We were married for 42 years and already had a living trust, but I appreciated the little things we talked about. Don't get me wrong, I don't think you are ever truly prepared. It is never long enough. Christmas will be hard. This will be my third one, but I'm still a little fragile right now. I wish everyone some peace during this holiday season. Fay

david54
Posts: 114
Joined: Apr 2009

Great topic and question.

No, she did not. She was always upbeat until the last week of her life. She knew she was dying. The moment came when we were driving from her childhood home in the bay area and she looked out over the water and I could sense 100% that she knew this was the last time she would see San Francisco in the skyline.

A few days before she died I had spoken with her oncologist and the report of her CT scan was devastating, her cancer had spread to her lung and brain (From her colon). I went to tell her of the decision and she accepted the news graciously and shared she had a great life and God had been good to her.

Then with her next breath came plans to take a ship on a sea excursion and I could get the rest I needed and push her around in a wheelchair. I couldn’t help but wonder if she had really heard me the first time! But I never denied her ability and desire to be optimistic. I guess you could say we were in denial together in varying degrees.

I just could not bring up the subject of funeral and burial site.
Had she brought it up I would have been open to talking about it. I had to make plans after she died. Was it harder doing so? A little I guess. Sometimes I think it would have been difficult no matter what was discussed.

Dying sucks!

Wpturner05
Posts: 120
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Jackie,

Yes, my husband prepared me in many, many ways. I am 36, we have 2 children 12 and 8. He just died last Friday the 16th. My husband fully pre-arranged his funeral 3 weeks prior. He chose the home, the casket, burial plot, headstone, prayer cards, the whole thing. I was obviously very involved with him, but he wanted to be sure that it was taken care of prior to his passing. My husband had been living on borrowed time for months since his primary esophageal cancer had spread very aggressively to his liver. During that time we spoke a lot about life after his passing. Don't get me wrong, we lived very fully in each day, but we said ALL there was to say and lived each and every day. My husband was very wise and had planned for our future many years ago as well. He told me what he wanted me to do with cars, house, debt, college money, etc.

On a different note, he also prepared myself and our children in the last week or so of his life. We knew his time was near and he did and said all there was to say and do. We gathered together in our bed on the Wednesday before his passing and all talked about our favorite things about my husband. He was awake, listening and concious. It was beautiful.
We were as prepared as we could have been.

The days following his death were absolutely overwhelming. If you and he could manage pre-arranging, I would suggest it - call a funeral home - allow him the opportunity to participate if he would want.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network