In My Own Way

A Tribute To My Wife Pat

 Contributed  February 23 2009

Submitted By Sharon Schonger


I was caregiver for my husband who died 6/15/07.  He lived 10 weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.  Since I had experience working in an emergency dept. of my local hospital it was far less scary for me. It was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything.  We used this time to be totally honest with each other.  The oncologist had told us the most he could offer was chemotherapy for the rest of Don's life.  Don decided the quality of his life meant more than the quantity after one horrendous chemo session.  (Please remember it depends on the type chemo need and shouldn't be used and the side effects of chemo involved).

 We both knew Don was dying, hospice was involved (which I strongly recommend, especially if you have no medical experience), and we knew this was our last of being a couple.  We spent the time doing whatever we wanted to do.  He would say, I want to.....and we would.  I would say, I would like to.....and we would. 

We talked about our life together..the good and the bad.  We said we were sorry about things.  We said how we had made each other happy.  We talked about how fortunate we had been and how the 'bad times' didn't seem so bad any more.  We kissed, had coffee together, laughed together, and cried together.  We said good bye, talked about of fears (his of dying and mine of being alone) 

It was the most wonderful 10 weeks of my life.  I have no regrets.  I said everything I wanted to say to him and heard whatever he wanted to say to me. 

We've loved each other since we were 16 years old, spent 40 years married and never were closer than those 10 weeks.  My advise is if you are about to lose a love one-don't waste it.  Talk to them.  Better than that why wait until someone gets a 'death-sentence' tell them now.

I'm so glad we had that time and were honest about it instead of trying to protect each other.  You know, he knows so tell him/her how you feel, what your afraid of, and how much they are loved.