Flash backs re. Terminal illness

Hi, my husband got very ill November 2021 and died In December. I find I get flash backs regarding what happened, him suffering, him being scared, what happened in hospital, syringe drivers etc. Does any of you get that?


Yes, I was the same when my husband died from terminal kidney cancer. He came home to die as that’s where he wanted to be. He had a syringe driver too and it was awful how much he suffered.

I just kept going back to how peaceful & handsome he looked when he had died. I had to go through everything that led to that peaceful time again & again and again. It seems like I was torturing myself, but it honestly helped me.

I still think of the peace at that time and how he was free from his pain and suffering.

Your flashbacks will lessen I’m sure…again, that takes time. It is such early days for you yet Kathy. I’m so very sorry for your sad loss.

Take care.


I’m so sorry for your loss and what you have gone through.

My mum died 2.5 years ago. She was in hospital for a week she was very poorly with what we thought was a chest infection. . After various tests to find out why she wasn’t getting better lThey told us (and her) it was terminal cancer, she was then put on a syringe driver and we removed her oxygen mask. she then died just two days later. She was so very frightened. It took a long time for those flashbacks to fade. They are not at the front of my mind anymore. But buried deep in my memory. I recall them every now and still get quite upset. But I can put them away in a box and think of better times.

The only thing that helped was talking about it to my grief counsellor. As I was having terrible nightmares because I was holding it all in. So I do think although painful. It is best to talk about it all. until in time it fades. I promise it won’t feel as horrific. But it does take time


Hi Janey and Jooles,
Thank you for your kind and comforting words. It does make me feel a bit more normal. Today is a tough day as it was a Thursday when the consultant told us we had reached the end of the road and it was like all final strength left my husband and he died the day after. He did look peaceful after he died and I am just so grateful I could be with him before he died and after. What I find hard is if people say to me I need to set time aside to grieve. I feel the grief is there all the time, sometimes more intense, sometimes less. But I guess it is probably people trying to be helpful who have never been in that situation. Sorry, I sound like a complete misery, usually I do function pretty well without being a complete miseryguts.


Don’t apologise. You don’t sound like a complete misery at all. It’s an awful, desperately sad situation we find ourselves in.
You’ve made a good move by looking on this site. Sometimes just reading how others feel, then sometimes writing how you feel really does help, because, as you say, unless people have been in this situation they have no idea how completely heartbreaking and utterly life changing it is.


Yes, it’s natural but not easy. It is how we process things.
I still get flashbacks so many years later. I still cry, I want him so much to come back, tell me he still exists.
It is hard, but you can and will carry on. Your love is forever, so pain is forever.


Never apologise. Here we can be as sad as we want. It is a safe place where we understand. It’s ok. I am sorry for your loss.


Kathy, yes, these are images that I still have and the conversations with the consultants. Personally I don’t expect then to disappear even now. Take care and look after yourself. S xx

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My brother died in August 2020. He had cancer but died of pneumonia. I keep going over how he suffered. For a long time, whenever I saw an ambulance with a blue light I would burst into tears. I guess the reason we are suffering is that we were with them all the way which is something to be proud of


I’ve only just found this conversation but yes I do. My husband died at the end of September 2021 . He died in hospital which is not what he wanted and although the hospital were very good on the medical and technical side they were poor on empathy and personal communication. What happened haunts me and I don’t think I will ever really get over it. I have just been back to the hospital to return left over medication and although they agree they could have done things to make us feel ‘more welcome’ it has left me with disturbed dreams and reliving so many unpleasant experiences. My husband didn’t deserve such an awful end and I am sad, angry and sorry that it turned out the way it did. It is so hard when the ending is too soon and in the wrong way. I wish you strength.

I agree/had the same experience with my brother. Lack of empathy. I complained. Commend yourself for being there. I’m sure he knew you were there. My brother hated being in hospital and wanted to come home. I guess we are all the same. I haven’t been back to hospital


Thank you for sharing . It is good to know that I am not the only one. It’s so hard because I think it is one of the things that causes us the most trauma. We all want to have a peaceful and comfortable death and hope that we will be at home with loved ones. It’s terrible when it can’t happen.

My husband died of pancreatic cancer in May. I am finding it hard. He died at home ad was only bedridden for a week. I cannot stop thinking of him lying there in a comatose state. I always have that picture in my head of him lying there and then of him in the funeral home It didnt look look like the strong handsome man I married 5 1/2 years ago. It was not first marriages for either of us. We had so many plans in our final years but it was all cut short. I cannot stop thinking of all the things I should have said to him over the years and things we were still discovering about each other. Is this guilt common? I cared for him since he was diagnosed but in my mind it was blocked that this could not be happening to us. We met on a dating website and married on the first anniversary of our first date. I am now 73 and cant face the years ahead without him, the loneliness is unbearable at times. If I was younger I would think that perhaps one day I would meet someone else and perhaps be happier but at my age that doesnt seem realistic. Anyway I could not imagine being with anyone else and I would feel so disloyal to my beloved husband, Rant over!

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Hi Carol, it’s not a rant, don’t ever apologise. It is tough. The pictures of his final illness will stay with you but will get less intrusive. You will be able to remember him like the lovely person you married. Be proud of yourself that you were with him and supported him when he needed you most. Think of the good times and the good memories. Life will get better again xx

Thank you for your kind message. I know it will get easier but his ashes came yesterday and I sat sobbing holding them. Just a tube of 79 years of life. We only had 5 1/2 years together, second time for both of us. I keep asking myself did I do enough for him, even though I did everything I could. It’s only when they are gone you think of all that should he been said and things we were still discovering about each other. Hopefully I will be getting se counseling from the hospice local to me as I volunteer on their shop

Hi Carol, my heart goes out to you, his ashes coming back is such a massive thing to happen. His life is so much more than that though. He lives on in your heart and mind and he will always be with you.
I know what you mean about asking yourself whether you did enough and said enough. I asked myself the same things after my husband died. But I feel I did what I could and we said what we could say and cope with. I know think because it is so heart wrenching loosing the person you love most you can only say what was and felt right at the time if that makes sense.
He’ll know that you love him and that is all that matters. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, take care x

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Dear Carol

You are not alone in this. I took pictures of my husband in hospital and soon after he passed. Like your husband mine was no longer the strong active man he was when I married him but those photos and pictures in our heads we have do show what a beautiful people husbands were to the last moment of their life and beyond. I too think of the many things I should have said and the things we had left discussing until later. I also can’t get out of my head the horrible site of him lying there just dying and there being nothing you can do. My plans were cut short too. I am in my fifties and even though some might say I could find someone else I don’t want too as I still very much love my husband. I think you are in a place many of us are familiar with and although it feels unbearable I hope you will find strength to keep going as many of us have done.

I wish I had taken photos of him in his last days and after but he looked so unlike him and I thought it might be looked upon as a little weird. I spent time with him in the Chapel of rest but he looked so ill. His ashes now sit on a cabinet surrounded by his favourite flowers and I think it is not much to show after 79 years. Friends mean well but I wish they wouldn’t keep telling me it will soon get better as they haven’t been in my position. I have really bad days and just cry and I sometimes feel guilty if I don’t cry

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Hello Carol3,

It’s awful the way we think about what we could/should have done or said but hindsight always does that. I have photos on my phone of the times you mention but sometimes (well most times) they are too upsetting to look at. But saying that, I am glad that I have them. It can be very frustrating when people tell you it will ease/get better when they haven’t been through what you have. I find it hard every day this ‘new so called life.’ It’s not really a life, just an existence with more responsibility. It’s so exhausting.

Take care.x


Thank you for your message. I have his ashes buy don’t want to scatter them. I would like mine when the time comes to mix with his and be scattered together. At times like this I wish I was religious but I am not and never will be. If there is anyone above watching us why are the good allowed to suffer and die