My DH is dying

(66 Posts)
cakeslover Wed 10-Oct-12 09:49:31

I think I just need to write it down and maybe there's someone out there who could help me on how to deal with my DC.
My DH was diagnosed with tongue cancer on february when we were on holidays in our native Italy. He decided on having his treatment here and postpone the return to the UK for as long as it was needed.
He then went trough a major op to remove part of his tongue and some lymph nodes. After that he went trough two more ops. After the third one, he has suffered a respiratory arrest with severe brain damage and went into a coma. It is been 4 months already, he's not conscious and now we've found out that his tumour is spreading fast.
We have 2 DC, DD1 (4 yo) and DD2 (18 month old).
My eldest hasn't seen her daddy for 4 months already, and knows his asleep, very ill and that the doctors were trying to find a very rare medicine to make him better. She misses her daddy, her home, school and friends.
I am trying to find some kind of psychological support for her, and trying to reassure her that mummy is still here and is going nowhere. But understandably she's very clingy and stressed.
In the meanwhile I have move all our stuff from London here and rented a new home for us. Thankfully I have my mum who moved here with us, who's more than helpful (we are in his birth city).
Is there anyone who could pls help me on how to deal with my DDs feelings, how to cope with life without the best husband and father?
We are still fairly young (early 30s) and life seems to have ended for me.

OhChristFENTON Wed 10-Oct-12 09:52:17

I have no direct experience of this but just wanted to say I'm so, so sorry, - there will be someone along very soon to give your more than just a {hug}.

IslaMann Wed 10-Oct-12 09:52:40

Nothing I can say to help but couldn't let your message go unanswered. My heart hurts for you and your DDs. All I can suggest is plenty of cuddles, reassurance and love, which is what you're doing already. Please look after yourself as well as your DDs.

I'm so sorry sad

Is there a local cancer charity that can help? They usually have counsellors that can work with you and/or your children.

Big hugs.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Wed 10-Oct-12 09:54:43

Oh you poor, poor thing. sad

What an awful thing to have happened to you.

I don't know what services there might be in Italy, especially for children who are suffering bereavement, but there are people here who post from Italy and they may know something.

much love x

Zoomania Wed 10-Oct-12 10:00:20

I have no experience of this but just wanted to reply and say how sorry I am. I will probably say the wrongt thing but didn't want to leave your message unanswered.

I just wondered whether you had looked at the macmillain website which has lots of resources and books on how to tell children, support phone lines etc. You probably have so I am sorry if this isn't helpful.

I think you sound amazingly strong and will keep getting through it one day at a time for your children.

BegoniaBigtoes Wed 10-Oct-12 10:02:21

I'm so sorry. I have no direct experience but I know there is an organisation that can help people in the UK who have lost a spouse, called WAY here - if you are going back there eventually? There may be an Italian equivalent you could search for.

Shorter term it may help to just talk to your DD as much as possible, look at pictures of DH when he was healthy, talk about how much you love him, keep him alive in her mind if you see what I mean and l her talk about him whenever she wants.

I know there are people on MN who have been through similar things and will be able to help you so keep posting.

weegiemum Wed 10-Oct-12 10:05:58

I've nothing much to add except to say I'm so, so sorry to hear your news.

Ih darling sad

I have no advice to give but didn't want to read and not reply.

I hope you get some helpful information..thinking of you x

alibeenherealongtime Wed 10-Oct-12 13:52:06

Oh how so very sad for you all, you are being so brave for your DH and your children, I hope you find the support you need for all of you, sending you love and thoughts.

Imsosorryalan Wed 10-Oct-12 13:58:56

No advice except lots of kisses and cuddles for reassurance. We're all holding your hand. I'm so sorry you are going through thissad

cakeslover Wed 10-Oct-12 14:20:46

Thank you so so much for taking your time to reply. It means a lot.
I will definitely look into the Macmillan website again, a book sounds like a very good idea.
Will try and find some kind of counselling for me and my girl. hopefully she will be able to get trough this well.
We have no idea on how long he's got left, so maybe will be better to wait till break the news to DD. she's now used on having her daddy at the hospital, and knows he's not coming back any soon. sad
I wish I could feel strong but I just feel that I've no choice really.
Thank you so much again,

weegiemum Wed 10-Oct-12 14:25:08

I spoke to my dh who is a GP in the uk.

He very highly recommends Macmillan, they have some good resources.

Books I've come across (I'm a family literacy tutor, kids books are my life!!!) that might be good are: Goodbye Mog By Judith Kerr and for slightly older children, The Heart In The Bottle by Oliver Jeffers. If you can't source them in Italy I'm happy to send them, pm me!

alibeenherealongtime Wed 10-Oct-12 16:07:14

I too have lots of books as I had a bereaved 2.5 year old in my care, now 4 years old. I have one " saying goodbye to daddy" I would be very happy to send it to you.

redadmiralsinthegarden Wed 10-Oct-12 16:10:08

nothing to add to you except a big hug, cakelover. I'm so sorry to read what you are going through.

guanosoup Wed 10-Oct-12 16:15:20

Sorry to read your sad story, an amazing charity that helps children deal with thier emotions and feelings is Winstons Wish (on phone, so I cannot link)
Look after yourself, too xx

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 10-Oct-12 16:20:21

Im so sorry for you and your children sad

GoldenAutumnDays Wed 10-Oct-12 16:29:44

I'm so sorry cakeslover (((hugs))).

I found MacMillan really helpful fo myself when DP died of Cancer earlier this year. Also as guanosoup mentioned above [[ http://www.winstonswish.org.uk/ Winstons wish]] was fantastic with DS.

I know how hard it can be at times, but you find the strength to be strong for the DC.

Thinking and praying for you all xx

Growlithe Wed 10-Oct-12 16:31:13

I'm so sorry for your situation cakes.

I'd also recommend the MacMillan site, to help with your own feelings as well as you DDs.

One thing I would say is, when my DMIL was in the latter stages of cancer, I made the mistake of telling my DD, who was 5 at the time, that 'Nan wouldn't be getting any better'. As adults we understand what this means, but what I didn't realise is that she thought Nan would still be with us, just poorly. Such a mistake.

I think small children need facts in simple, honest terms, although I realise how hard this will be to say.

Once again, I'm so so sorry.

GoldenAutumnDays Wed 10-Oct-12 16:37:46

The school were and are helping DS a lot too. They keep an eye out for him and a TA will take him to a quiet corner if he gets upset or angry and either just let him sit quietly or talk if he needs to. Please talk to teachers IMO they will do anything to help grieving DC.

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Wed 10-Oct-12 16:47:54

I'm so sorry this is happening to you all. It's so unfair.

I don't think I know how to help you, but I would like to ask why your dd hasn't seen her dad. I believe that children should go into hospital/ ICU to see their loved ones. They don't see the tubes or worry about the bleeps, they just see the person who they love. I also believe that seeing their loved one helps to put the pieces of the puzzle together, it stops the situation being so abstract. I hope this makes sense, and apologies if this totally against what you think, I just wanted to mention it.

Sending you all love, light and strength x

I'm so so sorry.Winstons wish are amazing for children and will email you help if you are not in UK.

catsrus Wed 10-Oct-12 17:41:31

Another vote for Winston's wish here - they are a wonderful resource. One idea is to begin putting together a memory box for each child now - a large box (Winston's wish sell lovely ones, but you can use any old large box) which you fill with things that remind them of him. Things that he used to use or that they will associate with him.

Obviously your little one is too small, but your older dd will still have memories of him. As your things are there why not go through some of his things with her and look for things that might spark a memory. Things like "do you remember on holiday when daddy wore this silly hat / sun glasses?" If there are photos of him to go with the objects all the better - it's about preserving 'snapshots' of his time with them. Personal items like ties and silly Christmas socks that are small enough to pack away with lots of other bits are what you are looking for - did he always read the sports page of a particular newspaper?. Your older dd can help you select things for your other dd. After the funeral you might want to put a copy of the order of service in there and maybe press a few flowers from a wreath. If you are able to do it you might want to ask friends in the UK to get a copy of a newspaper on the day he dies (or more than one). It's about creating a set of memories, things your daughters will be able to look at as they get older and can talk to you about.

I honestly don't know if it's too soon to start doing this now - but I do know that the boxes continue to be treasured for years. I got a couple for 2 children whose mother died and their dad said he wished he had one too - so we quickly got another one. You might want to think about one for yourself.

I'm so sorry you are having to go through this, life really isn't fair is it?

cakeslover Wed 10-Oct-12 18:48:41

weegiemum, alibeenherealongtime thank you so much for your kind offers, I will see if I can find these books here. If not will get in touch. Thank you.
Growlithe, thank you for your advice.. I was really wondering if I should start "preparing" her for the future. I see what you mean, maybe I should just wait and when time comes will tell her straight. She's very inquisitive (as any 4 yo), but she knows that her grandad (my DF) is in heaven and sometimes I get sad thinking of him.. and getting sad about missing someone you love is ok.
ILikeToMoveItMoveIt I've been thinking about taking her to see him. It is so difficult tough, she has this image of him going to pick her up from school in his bike, been the strongest man in the world (she keeps telling me this). I just don't know if I will be destroying the image she has from him.. seeing daddy so pale, skinny in his nappies (his eyes are open and he moves his mouth as to talk) IYSWIM
I really like the box idea! and will definitely look into winston's wish.
Life its not fair at all.

3girlies Wed 10-Oct-12 18:52:53

I am so sorry to read this, what terrible heartache for you all. Winston's wish is a great charity also ClicSargent might help, they are a cancer charity for children and younger adults, they help the families too. They helped and supported us as our youngest daughter battled a brain tumour and have stayed in touch since we lost her in July. Such an awful situation for you all. Hugs. X.

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