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Readers Respond: What Helped You Honor Your Loved One in the Final Stages of Cancer?

Responses: 50

By

Updated January 25, 2015

Died in my arms

My 36 year old husband died in my arms from lung cancer while I promised him over and over again that he was going to a place where he would have no pain and would be able to "breathe" again.
—Guest RQ Jewel

MY HUSBANDS LAST GIFT BEFORE HIS DEATH

A FEW WEEKS BEFORE MY HUSBAND DIED FROM CANCER HE MADE ME A TAPE IN WHICH HE TALKS TO ME FOR ABOUT 40 MINS. SOMETIMES CRYING, SOMETIMES REMINISING, AND FINALLY LEAVING ME SOME PERFECT WORDS TO HELP ME TO COPE WHEN HE WAS GONE. THAT WAS 34 YRS. AGO AND I STILL GAIN COMFORT FROM HIS VOICE AND WORDS.
—Guest HELLE

Granny's Gone

My grandmother was my everything growing up. She was a second mom to me but most of all my best friend. When I had my son she treated him like he was gold. In her last few days we all knew she was about to go... Suddenly I recieved a phone call from my mother saying she had declined and if I wanted to say goodbye now was the time to do it. When I arrived at the hospital I had no emotion except fear. When I walked into her ICU room it wasn't granny. One eye was shut, the other was rolled back in her head, she couldn't speak, and became very agitated. I walked to her bedside held her hand and answered the question I knew if she could talk she would ask, "The baby is with his Daddy at home and he's walking." Right then a tear rolled out of her eye and we all gave her our love. As my grandpa was giving her one last kiss, she passed away. To this day I still have problems dealing with her death... but I will always remember that tear for my son who stole her heart!
—Guest Blondehays08

Holding her in my arms

"Mom, I heard your heartbeat as you carried me inside you, now I hold you and listen for your last heartbeat" I was wearing a stethoscope and holding her in bed.
—raintear

Normalcy and Transcendence with Diane

The greatest gift our sister-in-law gave us at the end of her five-year cancer journey was a sense of normalcy and transcendence. Diane was thin and yellow from liver-failure. But she talked openly about dying, about the great adventure that awaited her. She took care of unfinished business and made special time for each person who wanted to say goodbye to her. Death was not to be shushed or shunned, but embraced with tears, laughter, and awe. The openness and sharing of the last days, both with Diane and with those she loved, was a wonderful way to cope with our impending loss. When Diane died, knowing that she had asked us to wash her body, dress her, and have a home vigil provided an even deeper sense of normalcy. We had practical tasks to do, and as we honored her wishes, our grief was flooded with a profound sense of the sacred. You can read the full story in “Living Consciously, Dying Gracefully: A Journey with Cancer and Beyond.” Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan, www.nanbec.com
—Guest nanbec21

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