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my wife's passing

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2013

My wife passed away 2 days ago on the 12 at home under Hospice's care from this dreadfull disease. It had metastasized to her liver, lungs and pelvic bone. The cancer on the pelvic bone  had lodge close to the sciatic nerve ending which would cause excruciating shooting pain down her right thigh to her knee. She couldn't sit or lay on her back and only laying on her tummy would alleviate the pain. The pain pills oxycoten 40 and oxycodone 30 would also control some of the pain but they would cause her such confusion. At times she wouldn't even know she was home in her bedroom. Of all the events we went through together, nothing would prepare me for what was to come. The last 4 days were horrific for me. She became totally uncommunicative. I would ask her with yes or no questions how could i help her in her time of distress, but she would just stare at some fixed point in space and not answer or show me any sign of comprehension. it's at these times i would cry and say to her "please help me, I don't know what to do for you", but still no answer. The next thing was her inability to swallow. Just giving her the pain pills with a little water caused her to gag. As soon as it happen the Hospice Dr. exchanged her pain pills for liquid morphine, but even that little amount of morphine still made her gag. Then the worse happened, the gurgling which lasted until she passed away. She tried to cough to clear her lungs, but her muscle at that point were soo weak that there wasn't enough force to dislodge the liquid trapped there, and there was absolutely nothing i could do to minimize or eradicate that sound. I can still hear that sound in my head now. I felt so helpless during those last few days more so than ever before. 

Are these symptoms consistent with this type of disease? I don't know how to deal with all these atrocious mental images still being played over and over in my mind. Would anyone share their coping skills with me. thanks


lp1964's picture
Posts: 1240
Joined: Jun 2013

I'm sorry that you and your wife had to go through this. May the thought that she is pain free now at a better place give you peace and comfort. I personally cannot give you any specific advice. There are support groups here under " Other Discussion Boards.

We men are stubborn and tend to isolate ourselves in times of hardship. Don't be that man. Reach out in your community if there are any support groups there. Ask the hospital about them. Go and see a psychologist a few times. Talk to friends and family, other patients here. The more you talk the more comfort you are gonna feel. Your thoughts are all in your head now. That's why you can't get those sounds and images out of your head. The more you exprethe and verbalize them the more relief you are gonna get.

I wish you strength in the upcoming days and weeks to heal.


Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3366
Joined: Jan 2010

Being a caregiver and loved one to someone so sick is one of the most difficult things there is.  I am sure you did all you could to ease her passing.

Now, it is time to take care of you.  When the memories of those last difficult days intrude, try instead to bring out the good memories of your time together.  Bring out pictures of things you saw and did together.  Gather those things that you know brought a smile to her face or joy to her heart.

You should also see your own doctor and explain your issues.  Perhaps he can point you to a support group. 

The other thing to remember is that your dear wife is no longer suffering and she would not want you to be suffering either.

Celebrate her life.

Marie who loves kitties


LAckerm1's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi:  As far as your question concerning the state your wife was in prior to her passing, yes, it is consistent with the end stage of cancer.  My husband Denny passed on May 8, 2013 at hospice house.  He had mets to pleural cavity, his 12th rib on left side and eventually into his lung.  Never any problems with the liver.  He had excruciating back pain and also had a drain for his left pleural cavity which we drained every other day--this also became very painful.  He started vomitting and had trouble swallowing on a Wednesday night at home and we went to hospice house on Thursday with the thought of eventually returning home.  Things went downhill from there with the same problems swallowing as your wife experienced.  He also had the vancant stare and dropped jaw for the final 36 hours of his life.  We kept talking to him and the family was all there--so I had alot of support and love surrounding both of us during this ordeal.  I hope you have a strong support group to surround you at this time.  The vision of Denny at the end still runs through my head on an endless loop but someone told me that eventually my thoughts of him will be of when he was healthy.  I hesitated to respond because I know that this scenerio is disturbing to those in the battle against this disease but I feel you need some reassurance that you did all you could and she is at peace and out of pain now.  This is the time to let others help you--I think this is more difficult for a man.  I wish you peace at this time and do not question yourself or how things ended up.  What's the expression--"Life's a ***** and then you die"--we all must face our eventual demise.  Let yourself grieve and mourn--and don't try to be the guy who holds it all together.  It's OK to fall apart--You too have been in this battle and it is painful to watch someone you love suffer and you do feel helpless.  Just wanted to let you know so that you think you are alone in this.  Don't know if this helps but I just wanted to share.  Linda

Maxiecat's picture
Posts: 544
Joined: Jul 2012

I am so sorry.  Please try to take some time for yourself to grieve.  Your wife is no longer in pain.  You did everything you could to help ease her pain and to make her as comfortable as possible in her last hours.  Is there a grief support group in your area...a place where you can go and talk to other people who are going through the same grief process?  Maybe the hospice in your area has information to help with the grief process.  You will never forget her...but maybe time will help to ease some of the pain and the mental images of her last stays will dimish to the point where they are just a memory.  Talk to other people....I find that just talking about something difficult ... Really does help.


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

It is so difficult watching the human body fail before our eyes....

I'm truly sorry for your loss....images like that are impossible to shake....one can only hope to cordon off a part of their brain to place those type of memories away....images like that stay with you, but hopefully will tone down over time. 

I've witnessed some of what you describe and it is truly heartbreaking. 

Thank you for sharing your story and I hope that time can help to ease some of your hurt.


LivinginNH's picture
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010


I am so very sorry for your loss.  But yes, her last days were normal, there was nothing that you could have done. I'm sure that you took wonderful care of her right up until the crossing.  I try to remove those terrible last moment memories from my mind, but it's hard sometimes.  So, what I've done to help with that is to place pictures of our better times all around the house.  That way he is always smiling back at me, and I can "talk" to him as I'm doing chores no matter what room I'm in.  We each have our very own way of dealing with grief, so just do what seems right to you.  And don't be afraid to cry, it's good to let out those emotions rather than have them build up and explode when you least expect it.

Take comfort in that you were with her at the end, she knew you were there, and loved her.  This I know.

My deepest condolences...


Posts: 271
Joined: Nov 2011

I've been reading these forums for almost 5 years and can honestly tell you that I've only seen a few reports like this.  More often than not, the end is more peacefilled.  

I am so sorry you had to experience this and hope you can soon focus on the good years, the healthy years and the ugliness of death won't be so constant on your mind.


So sorry for your loss....... 

serenity101's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: May 2013

I am sorry for your loss and what you had to go through. I can't add much to what has already been said, except that my local hospice offer help for after loss, maybe yours does too.


steveandnat's picture
Posts: 887
Joined: Sep 2011

So sorry to hear about your wife's passing.She was very fortunate havyout you as her caregiver.  I pray she rests in peace and you can get some resht as soon as possible.  Jeff

Coloncancerblows's picture
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

I am so sorry for your loss.  My prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2013

Thank you all for your overwhelming positive support and ideas and sentiments. i have already acted on some like talking to Hospice and info on support group. I have a very small family consisting of Mom who's 85, her sister 86 (both legaly blind) and an estranged brother-in-law.

Friday is her funeral, i have such mixed feeling about being there, but i'll have to. My sister-in-law is getting rid of her clothes while they're here) that's a help. Anyways, Thanks again

geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

for your loss and also that of Linda.  The end can come in may different forms.

My husband George died on 10/29/12 after battling advanced Stage IV for 3 1/2 years.  I can hosestly say the end was nothing like you describe.  George did not have bone mets (that I know of) so perhaps that makes a difference.  There was no gagging.  The dropped jaw, yes because they are breathing through their mouth.  During the last 48 hours there was no pain (never really was), no staring into space, no aggitation, no thrashing, and the like, no gasping for air. No movement by him.  He just looked like he was sleeping very soundly.  He simply drifted off and you could tell by some of the monitors that his heart was failing, his breathing was erratic, blood pressure was low, etc. so I had the monitors turned off in the room.  He just opened his eyes once, closed them, and exhaled and that was it at 3:22 p.m. 

You might ask why I am posting this?  Well, it is to let everyone who is Stage IV and thinking about the end, what it could be like.  It was only those last few days that I knew he was never coming home.  Before that, in fact four days earlier, he was still talking, etc. and said how he hoped he would be released that day and then it took an awful turn.

I am so very sorry your wife suffered so much.  You did the best you could, as all caregivers do, and yes, you may second guess yourself, I know I did, and ask yourself if you made all the right decisions but in time you will come to realize you did the very best you could under very strenuous conditions and will find peace with your decisions. 

I did say no to life support measures.  I had to really think on that one but came to realize if I said yes, what would the end result be and realized it would have been no different except he would have suffered stuff by a heart doctor, dialysis, ventilator, etc. and I said no.  Believe me folks, that is a decision no human being should have to make for someone they love so very much and it haunts you for a very long time, maybe forever, but if you dig deep enough you come to realize it is the right decision to let go.

Take care my semi colons, I think of each of you every day.

Love - Tina

Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

My husband died one week ago.  I too have terrible images in my mind.  I am hoping that they will subside over time.  When I think of him I want to remember him like he was before colon cancer.  All I can remember are those terrible images from his final days and hours.  They haunt me.



annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

Hugs and love coming your way.  AA

thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

We are so sorry for your loss.  I know the battle and pain of cancer first hand.  I am glad her pain is over and she has found sollace in a great place.  


Keep her in your thoguhts and prayers and remember she is watching over you and your family.

Best Always,  mike

Posts: 74
Joined: Jun 2012

Stock,  your wife passing sounds like my mom.  She had every thing you described.  It was a horrible thing to witness.   My mom was functioning I somewhat well until about mid July.  Then she went downhill fast.  She was non responsive towards the end.  how have you been doing ? 

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2013

Thanks for the support this community has given me. I'm not doing really well. The images of the last few days r still strongly embedded in my mind. I don't know if they'll ever go away. I'm also plagued by nagging, persistent thought about not having done enought for her. I miss her so much. I'm afraid to go out to stores and restaurant we frequently visited for fear that the memories will flood my thoughts, and i'll start crying. So to avoid this, i mostly stay at home and go out only to visit her at the cemetary. Had to change my user name and account since for some reason i was unable to login with my old user name. I thought at first the site had banned me for being too graphic in my description of her illness.

annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

My sister died from cancer when she was 44, and I was with her at the end.  In her case (she died from kidney failure), it was a very quiet passing.  But when my mom died last fall, she had pneumonia, and that caused her to have the gurgling sound you describe.  It was a lot more disturbing to me than my sister's death (although that was emotionally more upsetting, because she was so young).  I can't allow myself to dwell too much on the last couple of days before my mom died, because they were pretty awful.  I have to make a conscious effort when I start to think about it, replace those scenes with better memories of my mom.  

I wonder if it would help you to look at photos of your wife when she was healthy when these kinds of thoughts start to become overwhelming?  I find it helpful to have visual reminders to push aside the more upsetting memories.  I also think talking to someone about this (like a therapist who specializes in loss) can be incredibly useful.  The only other words of wisdom I can offer is that the passage of time will bring some peace with it, as much of a cliche as that may be.  My BIL and nephew (who was 13 when my sis died) are doing really well now, but it took time for them to reach that more positive space.  They will miss my sister, and mourn her loss, forever, but the overwhelming grief has lessened, and they are able to be happy and enjoy life despite their loss.

Sending strength and hugs your way~Ann Alexandria

Edited because I just read your last post.  I really can't encourage you enough to seek out some grief counseling.  This does not "fix" the situation, as only time can do that (and then only in the sense of allowing you to regain some sense of acceptance), but it can really help with developing coping techniques in the short-term.  I worked with a therapist after my sister died who helped me so much.  I had many regrets, and wished that I had done things differently while she was alive.  The therapist helped me to come to terms with this.  This is such an overwhelming situation, and none of us is prepared for it when it happens.  It is literally impossible to be prepared for the emotional devastation after we lose a loved one.  Please keep us updated on how you're doing.  We care.

Posts: 74
Joined: Jun 2012

I agree with annalexandria,  you should seek some sort of therapy.  I never thought I would need it but I went this morning.  I was fine at my moms funeral... When i  was around other people but If i am at my house alone and my fiancé is at work my mind races... spent the last few nights drinking until I could sleep.... That's the last thing I want it!   you did all you could do!! we are only human and second guessing yourself will drive yOu insane! 

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