How do you cope when you know someone is going to die?

(10 Posts)
PurpleDamson Fri 13-Feb-15 15:34:40

I need to say things here that I can't say in RL.

My Dad was diagnosed with cancer last year. We were hopeful for treatment but last week he was the told one of the tumors is very aggressive. He is having more treatment but realistically I don't think we are looking at years, maybe even months.

I can't bear to think about it. He is so key to our family and me. We see each other every day and he's really hands on with our young DC. He wants to keep on as normal and we've planned to do some things this year. But I at the back of my mind I'm thinking will this be the last time we do things together. I just want to howl. He's only 65.

I don't know how I'll be able to do this. And support him and my Mum. He can't just not be here but that is exactly what is going to happen.

Added to this DH lost his Dad a short while ago but instead of supporting each other, I think it's pushing us apart, certainly for me. I'm there for DH but it's highlighted to me how different we are. I also think DH isn't a patch on my Dad for supporting and looking after us as a family (I feel awful saying that). After his dad died he said he was a changed man and that he realised how important his family is but that's all been forgotten, last week he told me he doesn't think he likes being a dad. I'm not sure about my marriage, but really can't be dealing with that now as well. Then again, what happening makes me think life is so short. This should probably be in relationships!

OP’s posts: |
OllyBJolly Fri 13-Feb-15 16:06:20

This is such a tough time for you. I think you have to just take one day at a time. When my dad was nearing the end, I used NLP techniques to get through some of the times. It would help me keep it together until I could let go.

I think I understand what you mean about your DF/DH. My dad could fix anything, from cars to blocked loos, to leaking roofs. I suppose I had him on a pedestal a bit. But, my DH is wonderful in different ways. He's affectionate and emotionally available and generous.

Living through someone's terminal illness is an ordeal, and losing that person is traumatic (no matter how expected it is). I think losing a parent does change you. That can be quite difficult to deal with in a relationship. I was single when my dad was ill and I just don't think I would have had any emotional energy left for a partner.

I think you just have to talk, and keep talking.

Sending positive thoughts.

Truckingalong Fri 13-Feb-15 21:03:31

As my mum got increasingly ill, I was almost hysterical about how I'd cope when she died. I sobbed every day and got myself in a real state about it. Now it's actually happened (5 weeks ago), I've actually coped far better than I ever thought I would. Don't get me wrong, it's horrendous and I'm devastated and I spent the first week in a drunken stupor but I'm getting by. You're stronger than you know. Just make sure you say and do everything you want and need to. Have no regrets or things left unsaid. Take lots of photos and videos. It's the most awful, gut-wrenching experience but I wish you the strength to cope.

tass1960 Fri 13-Feb-15 22:12:21

I buried my head in the sand - made the most of the time we had and fell apart after she died - nearly six years on and when I think back to that time I smile - it was a lovely time - I think because we knew time was very limited we laughed a lot said all the stuff we wanted to and kept smiling for her - miss my mum like mad though

starfish12 Sat 14-Feb-15 07:52:56

I really feel for you. My dad passed away 4 days ago with a terminal illness. We knew this day would come, but even so I feel numb and shocked and can't believe he's gone. Already I'm coping better than i thought i might though, probably because towards the end he was so poorly it was unfair for him to be going through all he did. Again you probably can't imagine your dad at that stage yet but as his illness plays out you may find you will slowly accept it in the back of your mind.

Enjoy every moment, say the things you want to say to him, capture memories on film and photo and relish every day with him then when the time comes you will know you couldn't possibly have done any more.

One thing that helped me towards the end was to keep telling myself that nothing is forever, everything is transient and that we don't really 'own' anything in life... its all on loan to us and eventually it all must go. Sorry getting a bit spiritual!!

Re your relationship, its hard to comment as only you know deep down how things really are. All i would say is not to make any quick decisions when both of you are hurting so much. His comments may have been made out of his own grief.... ie he knows one day your children will go through what he is going through now when he passes away.

Good luck x

whatisforteamum Sat 14-Feb-15 14:03:16

Hi op I am in a similar situation Dad is thinking of stopping treatment for an recurrance of aggressive cancer which I think could leave him with weeks though we have known for 2 yrs he is incurable and Mum has incurable cancer too.
So hard to think of last times isn't it ?
My DH is being moody and aggressive as he has had a heart attack and changed a lot.
The good thing he is very much like my own Dad..strong,capable of fixing cars and things,they refitted our bathroom out and did all the plumbing so from that point of view they are 2 of a kind.
So sorry you need support when your own DH is having a hard time too.I would hang in there and not make major changes at this time.
I hope my own Dh is his good old caring self when my Dad gets worse flowers

PurpleDamson Sat 14-Feb-15 21:04:24

I'm so sorry for all of you who have been or are going through a similar situation. It's really shit, isn't it? There's nothing more that can be said. I'm trying to make the most of everything we have left and at the moment Dad is good, if somewhat tired at times. Films and photos are a good idea.

Starfish I am dreading that time when his illness gets bad. It scares me. DH had a few days like this with his Dad and he said he can't get the images out of his mind.

I know I will be ok because you have to cope don't you? But that in itself makes me feel awful because I love my Dad so much and want the world to know when he's not here. I know that's daft but you can't believe the world will just go on without them.

Olly your comments really made me think about my DH. My Dad is a real fixer and provider, pro active and self motivating very different to DH. But you made me remember that my DH is a good man too, but in different ways. I've tried to be more mindful of this and I think my attitude to DH has improved. I'm not going to make any change right now and I do think DH and I will be ok, it just all seems so bloody difficult at the moment.

Whatis I hope your DH and you can sort stuff out, I think it makes it easier if you know you have someone there for you. It's so hard when you both have massive things happening.

OP’s posts: |
thatsn0tmyname Sat 14-Feb-15 21:10:32

My dad died a year ago on 12th February from dementia. He was 75. He had various illnesses in the last 10years so I had a lot of time to come to terms with ageing and his eventual dying. It was very hard visiting him in the care home and I cried more when he was alive on my way home from visits. When he died I felt a mixture of sadness, regret and relief that he was no longer living with dementia. I have no words of wisdom ,just a big hug. X

lalamumto3 Sat 14-Feb-15 21:22:09

My mum died in January, and when she was in her last days she said that she was ready to die, which made it much easier. I think that I was preparing to let her go for several months and it has been sad but not as bad as I thought it would be.
However, I can remember feeling very angry with my lovely sister, for no real reason, I had to remind myself that grief has many phases and manifestations, that anger did pass.
Take it a day at a time.
Thinking of you, it is an incredibly hard thing to deal with.

whatisforteamum Sun 15-Feb-15 09:48:45

Thatsnotmyname so sorry your Dad had dementia which must be doubly hard to watch someones personality change.I dread my dad being in pain as he has a cancer that typically spreads to the bones and brain which can effect personality.
lalamumto3 sorry about your Mum.My parents have had ages to prep for their deaths and have everything has even done up the house to make it easy to sell(it is immaculate anyway).
I hate watching both loved ones suffer although they are both amazingly strong and i have never seen them cry.
love to all on here.

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