Talking about dying is very difficult. I remember when Donnie and I found out that he had cancer. We didn’t talk about his possible death; it was as if we could delay or even elude it if we didn’t talk about it.
I certainly didn’t know how to talk about dying and I’m sure Donnie was just trying to take it all in. When he died (one week later) sitting at the kitchen table we still hadn’t come to terms with what the doctors where saying to us.
I’ve come to the understanding that dying is hard emotionally – there is that part inside of me that wonders about who I am, who I was as a wife and who I will be in the future.
Donnie’s dying presents a challenge I would ignore if I could. It’s a challenge because I’m faced with knowing about dying first hand and I’m no longer innocent about death.
There are no medications for loneliness, grief, fear and despair. How do you address it when you don’t even understand it? I had to learn to listen, not only with my ears but with my heart as well.
I’ve learned to respect that whatever the Widows are saying is their truth, their reality, their experience of having lived with a spouse with a terminal illness.
Dying is a frightening time because we fear death. We have a sense of anxiety and panic because life is out of our control. While our husbands were alive we may have found it awkward to speak to each other about the dying process.
For Donnie and me, it seemed that silence was more appropriate than conversation. We could always talk about it later – but later never came.
Questions go unanswered, feelings of love are not expressed and fears are not shared. The missed opportunity is so final, so sad and so irreversible.
I wish I had known then what I know now about the process of dying. I wish someone had talked to us about dying and yet how we could still take in every moment while Donnie was still alive.
If you have a loved one with a terminal illnesses don’t wait to talk about death. People who are dying are still living and they need to share their feelings and fears while they still can.