A good friend of mine pointed out to me that the Grieving Process can take a long time. I googled ‘Grieving Process’ and ended up reading this article:
Avoid Making Big Decisions After Experiencing a Death
. . . . .
I find reading about the five stages of grief is worthwhile too:
The Five Stages of Grief
Learning about emotions after loss can help us heal
Reviewed by Amy Morin, LCSW Updated on February 12, 2021Print Table of Contents
“When we lose a loved one, the pain we experience can feel unbearable. Understandably, grief is complicated and we sometimes wonder if the pain will ever end. We go through a variety of emotional experiences such as anger, confusion, and sadness. . . .”
The following I did write into my Diary recently after having visited my son in Victoria:
What Stage of Grieving am I at? And what Stage of Grieving about their Father are my children at?
Well, this is the question, isn’t it? Also, I’d like to know, how I, an 86 year old, can help my children at this stage?
Everyone knew already in March 2020 that Peter’s cancer was well advanced. So, it was only a matter of time, when his bladder cancer would spread into other areas.
By June 2020 the head oncologist at the hospital advised Peter, to bring his affairs in order. It looked to him, that the cancer had already spread to his bones. A few months later a nuclear test was done, that showed without doubt that the cancer had well and truly spread to his bones, which meant then, that in all probability Peter would have only a very short time to live anymore. It was obvious, that he was in the last stages of cancer and so was in need of some palliative care. . . . Soon, it was organised to give him palliative care at home with adequate pain reducing medication administered by Hospital staff who came to our home at scheduled times. To make the total care possible, quite a few family members were involved in helping to give this, plus we did get some subsidised respite care.
I would say, very often it was very difficult work for all the family. For sure it took a lot out of them, whereas overall I, the 86 year old wife, had not to do all that much physical work in looking after Peter. It was so amazing, how all the children did very lovingly look after their Dad! Also there was a constant stream of visitors by other family members, and a lot of friends were showing that they cared for him very much.
Somehow, all of us had finally to be prepared that is was highly unlikely that Peter would still be alive by Christmas. This prediction was close enough: Peter died on the 12th of the 12th 2020 and was cremated on the 21st of December 2020, our 64th Wedding Anniversary!
But now back to March 2020. By that time, Peter had enormous kidney pain. A solution was found, to drain the liquid around the kidney and his heart: A stent was inserted by an urology team. The stent went from the kidney to the bladder. The stent did its job quite well for a while. However we knew, the stent would have to be renewed after a few months. Finally this was done in August 2020.
On my birthday, on the 21st of September, Peter could hardly walk. I think he realised then that he probably would not last much longer. But somehow he may still have been in a state of denial. And I believe, one of our daughters and her husband were both in a state of denial too. The way they acted and looked after him once he did get palliative care showed to me a denial of very closely impending death.
I, on the other hand, I was already in 2018 convinced, that either his bad heart or his cancer would be the cause of his death. For instance, once the BCG treatment (Bladder cancer: What to know about BCG treatment)
was stopped, there was not much left, that could be done. It was said, that because of his heart trouble, it was not possible for Peter to survive a five hour bladder operation!
So Peter’s cancerous bladder could not be removed. That meant, Peter’s cancer would sooner or later be spreading outside. . . .There was just no denying it!
I think my sadness started already in 2016, when Peter first found out about the tumour in his bladder. I did not want him to die before me: He would have been able to cope without me so much better than I can cope now without him!
I was sad, that Peter developed a terminal sickness, of course I was sad. But for sure I was not in denial that eventually the sickness turned out to be terminal. I was just grateful, that we could still have a few good years together, for Peter was most of the time still pretty active and not in severe pain since he was always well medicated.
Yes, there was sadness, but we were also grateful that we were still able to enjoy a lot of togetherness! Really, most of the time life seemed to be still quite enjoyable . . . .
Come to think of it, the five stages of grief somehow may not have effected my life so utterly, since we had such an early warning, and I was never in denial of the situation and learned to accept it early on. The grief may have effected our children much more. So, I would like to know, how I can help my children!
Very recently I found out, that as early as March 2020 our son was extremely depressed and in tears about the condition of his Dad. This was the time when his wife decided she did not want to see him anymore. I think she had not seen his tears, but she saw his neighbour who had recently moved into the house next door. This neighbour is a very compassionate woman and willing to be a good friend to Martin, however she is due for some rehabilitation for she drinks too much. She keeps telling over and over again, that she had quite a lot of bad experiences and suffering, partly because of her mother.
This neighbour is divorced. However she has a very lovely daughter from an earlier relationship. The daughter is divorced too and has a new partner, she also has a very good job. The neighbour’s 27 year old daughter has a sweet little four year old daughter and shares that little girl with her ex-husband. And when she is feeling well enough, dear grandma can look after the little one for a couple of nights as well. I met the whole family. They are all very nice.
My son lives in Victoria and is already retired, whereas my two daughters still work full-time. The daughters live in NSW both of them close enough for fairly regular visits, and one of the granddaughters comes to help too, whenever her work schedule allows for it.
So, the son lives some 600km away in Victoria. But he’s come to visit quite often whenever he was needed for something or other and when it was possible to visit without having to go into quarantine!