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 his dying was 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.
Dying is a frightening time because we fear death. We have a sense of anxiety and panic because life is out of our control. For Donnie and I, it seemed that silence was more appropriate than conversation. We could always talk about it later – but later never came. Questions went unanswered, feelings of love were not expressed and fears were 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 told us that we could talk about it and 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.