On the Loss of the Love of my Life

I’m writing a blog posts today to share a little about my personal life. Those of you that have been following me for awhile have seen a few posts about what has been happening. Unfortunately, back in October, my husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

We were understandably devastated but we had no idea what lay ahead for us. We cried together and held each other during our sleepless nights. We had many conversations in the beginning about our love and commitment for each other. As time went by, those conversations got fewer and fewer.

Then, my husband got to work taking care of things–we found a lawyer and drew up paperwork so I would be able to make decisions for him if he became unable to; we contacted family and let them know; and some general things about running the house that he always had taken care of.

We drove into Orlando for his brain surgery. He was worried he might not know who everyone was afterwards, but he did. In fact, he was cracking jokes and making us all laugh.

But, that positivity didn’t last. He had a brain bleed and fell into a deep sleep. Not a coma, but close. I was beyond worried and stressed. He recovered and was released to rehab which he hated but overtime he wound up really liking his physical therapist and his speech therapist. Those people called to that line of work are worth their weight in gold.

He developed an infection at the wound site and had to go in for a second surgery to remove that piece of scalp. He would now have a soft spot. He had to go on 6 weeks of intravenous antibiotics. His radiation treatment, of which he had 6 days of, was put on hold. Then, it took 3 weeks after he was cleared of the infection to get started again on radiation. He finished the full treatment without any sickness or hair loss. We were thrilled! He rang the bell at the office!

Again, that positivity did not last. 8-10 days later, he developed late onset reaction to chemotherapy and radiation. He began declining but I couldn’t see it. I thought he was just tired from chemo/radiation and we were taking him off his steroid that he had started in October which could make one very tired.

He slept A LOT! And then, he began to not be hungry. He complained his stomach hurt and would often rub it. Sometimes he would say his stomach felt sour like he had eaten bad cheese. The doctors confirmed that the antibiotic he was on (he had developed a second infection) could make his stomach sour. So, I thought that’s why he wasn’t hungry.

But, no, it was the beginning of the end. Towards the end, he would have weird delusions. He told me that someone had dropped him out of the attic. There was an attic in the house he grew up in. I had no idea if he was reliving a memory or having a bad dream or if his head hurt and his body was trying to “create” a reason why.

His antibiotic ended and he asked for a cheesesteak (his favorite) and he ate a little bit. I was encouraged! The doctors and nurses shook their heads, though, and said it wasn’t enough to sustain life. But, if you haven’t eaten in 6 weeks, you’re not going to eat a big meal. I still couldn’t see it.

A nurse a month prior mentioned maybe he was giving up. I asked him and he said no vehemently. His primary doctor had told me to call hospice and put them on hold. That’s a weird way to put it, but I think she was trying to be delicate. The rehab doctor said we would have to call hospice if he wouldn’t take a feeding tube. That was the first inkling that something was wrong. Then, his radiation doctor said his will wasn’t giving up, it was his body. It was tired. He had many different things go wrong throughout this time while fighting brain cancer, his body just couldn’t recover. That made more sense than him actually giving up and explained his vehement response to my question previously.

But, it took a kind doctor actually pulling up a chair and sitting down with me and gently explaining that we shouldn’t pursue aggressive treatment. I wholeheartedly agreed that we should not continue with the monthly chemotherapy but didn’t realize she meant any treatment at all. It took several more conversations with her and a couple conversations with the hospice doctor before I started to see what they were really saying.

It took having a conversation with my husband, though, that actually made it real. He told me he was tired of all of this and didn’t want to do it anymore. He said he knew he wasn’t going to be here much longer. He said he wasn’t afraid to die and that he knew where he was going and was ready to meet his God. I have never wept so hard in all my life.

You see, I knew I had to have a conversation with him about his life coming to an end but I didn’t know how. I had prayed that day for the Lord to help me have that conversation. When I arrived at the hospital, he was not in the room. He was away having a procedure. When he came back in, that’s when he told me he was tired of all of it. He opened the door to be able to have the most difficult conversation you could ever have with a loved one in your life. I knew this opening, this opportunity was a gift from God to allow us to have this beautiful, albeit, heart-wrenching conversation.

We spoke again of our love and the wonderful memories we shared and the beautiful family we had. I told him that when he gets up there, if he’s able, to take care of me. He said, of course he would. I told him that when it was my turn, I would come running into his arms. I wept and stroked his arm and hand.

He was completely aware of what we were talking about and it felt like my old Joe, the one before he got sick and his mind quit working as good as it had. But, then, he started saying things that didn’t make sense and in a flash, the moment of pure, blissful love flowing between us had ended. We were back in the dark hospital room struggling with the reality of our relationship coming to an end, at least an end here on earth.

I called for hospice on a Thursday about a week and a half after that conversation. It took a few days for the hospice doctor to sign off and the hospice nurse to come. They moved him to Hospice House on a Monday and he died that Friday peacefully and with family surrounding him. That was May 31st. Only 7 months after his diagnosis.

I have been reeling at losing the love of my life, my soul mate, my best friend–the best thing that has ever happened to me. He brought such healing to my life. So, I have been attracted to books that either talk about grief, or are of a spiritual, uplifting nature, or talk about someone else’s experience.

That’s when I came across Abbie Johnson Taylor’s book called My Ideal Partner, How I Met, Married and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. You see, Abbie and her husband were both blind AND he had a massive stroke that paralyzed his left side.

I started reading it and only put it down once and that was because I had to make dinner.

Here’s my review on Amazon


Wanda

5.0 out of 5 stars

Caregiving, Love, and Loss

July 14, 2019Format: Kindle Edition

Verified Purchase

After having just lost my husband 6 weeks ago to brain cancer and being his caregiver, I found myself in this book. Similar thoughts and feelings. I never knew before I was one how difficult it was to be a caregiver. Watching your big strong husband decline and doing everything in your power to try and ease their suffering is beyond difficult. This was a very good book and well-written. What a beautiful love they shared. Anyone who’s gone through a similar situation will relate and those that haven’t will gain some insight into our world.

If you made it this far, I was to thank you for stopping by my blog today. I know it’s different from my usual posts about children and children’s books and those will return again next week, but I thought you might want to hear a little bit about what has been going on in my life and to read a great book that helps give you insight into what it is to be a caregiver and then lose your partner.

In the future, I may have a book of my own to share our story. We’ll see. Right now, I’m grieving.

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56 thoughts on “On the Loss of the Love of my Life

  1. I am so sorry for your loss of the love of your life. you have written such a beautiful post explaining what you both went through, the ups and downs, and your mutual love is crystal clear. you are so lucky to have had each other, and while it is so sad that you are separated for now, you will be together once again, I’m quite sure. I do hope that one day, you may write a book about your experience, as it may help others to get through this, just as you found a book that helped you. my best to you, Wanda –

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. I have been thinking of you and wondering how this had all panned out. I am so sorry that you no longer have the love of your life with you. I can only imagine how difficult a time this has been for you. Sending prayers and hugs your way, Wanda. xo

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about what you both had to go through. And for your loss. It’s never easy, even if it’s expected. You are in my prayers!! Thank you for sharing the book. I’ll keep it in mind for recommending to others.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Dear Wanda,
    Your heart-felt blog said it all. You were meant to experience this raw gut-wrenching time in your life to help you learn and grow. I know that you will write a book someday, and it will help others. I have lost both parents, an ex-husband, and my oldest son. Losing a child was the lowest time in my life, but I have managed to write four books on grief and healing. You may wish to visit my site: https://suziesbooksdotcom I wish continued healing, comfort, and peace to you. All this will come, as God’s grace surrounds you. xo Suzie Courtney

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh, Suzie, I’m so sorry for your losses. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I’m glad to know you found healing—that gives me hope. And that you went on to write books that help others. You’re my role model!
      I will definitely check out your website.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wanda, you wrote a beautiful story of letting go of your Joe. I know you miss him so much. He was welcomed home and is now in the great cloud of witnesses cheering you on from heaven. (Hebrews 12:1) May the God of all comfort you and your family during this season. Prayers and hugs!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my Mum last August and experienced all you talked about.

    I was not ready to say goodbye to her but her body was tired, it was broken and could no longer carry on. It is the most heartbreaking thing watching your loved one fade.

    Sending love to you x

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I am so sorry for your loss, Wanda. I went through most of this about a year and a half ago with my mom’s passing. Your situation was so much more difficult than mine. I have three older brothers, but none of them live close. It took a kind and sensitive doctor, such as you had, to help me comprehend the reality of the situation. May your heart be forever full of your happy memories together.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Oh Wanda, I see such strength in you. To be able to write and talk about this is the best thing (at least as far as I can imagine) that you can do and I applaud you for taking care of yourself that way. Dealing with such things is necessary and brings a person back to emotional health after going through such a difficult experience. Know that your family and friends including myself are thinking of you and praying for you and that your husband’s love will live on in your heart just as your own love for him does. Hugs.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Shana, for your kind words! I do believe writing is healing. Thank you for seeing strength. I don’t feel so strong but I do feel like I’m making it bit by bit. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! They mean the world to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for sharing. My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October and it’s getting harder to believe it’s true as he is still well, but of course the time is going to come and no one knows exactly what will happen as every cancer and every patient is different. In the meantime we have carried on normal life, doing the retirement things we would have been doing anyway and he is out and about with his friends.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thank you, Wanda, for the gift of his post. Your courage to embrace Love no matter is an inspiration
    to us all. May you find peace and comfort in loved ones and friends. Blessings to you, dear one.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss, Wanda. Although I can relate to some of it, regarding loss of appetite and weight loss, and conversations with doctors regarding my mom, I just can’t imagine how hard must be for you to lose your partner in life. You’ve been through a lot, and I wish you and your family some peace, and to do what you need to do for yourself. Thank you for taking time to share this part of your story. That’s a courageous step.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi Wanda, thank you for sharing your story with such clarity and honesty. When my hubby Rich & I met, he had just lost a kidney to a sarcoma at age 27. He actually bought a microscope & diagnosed it himself when his doc thought it was just an infection. He would have died on the operating table if not for what was then a new procedure. The possibility of his dying way before me was always up front in our lives. He was fine until he was 68 & was diagnosed with Lyme disease of the central nervous system. He was in incredible pain before the diagnosis & treatment (now, permanent nerve damage is managed by strong meds). I’m not sure why I’m saying all of this, but I’ve had a glimpse into the end. Not sure that ever really prepares you though.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh Donna, I’m so sorry to hear that you and Rich are living through difficult times. I do think we experience something called pre-grief or anticipatory grief. We know the end is coming or will come sooner rather than later and we begin to process life without our love. Sending prayers and hugs to you both. 🙏
      Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s always better to talk about it rather than keep it inside.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Well, you reduced to a puddle here, even though coming in as only a tangential part of your beautiful love story. I hate cancer, Cannot imagine living through battling that evil disease and the loss you must feel. I admire the bravery and faith you both exhibited facing Joe’s fight together. Wishing you gentle moments as you celebrate his wonderful life. Blessings and hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I can tell that you have a very tender heart. I have my good and bad days but overall I’m making it. I do believe in God and reach out to Him and feel He is with me.

      Liked by 1 person

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