Will the traumatic pictures in my mind ever fade?

My husband of 30 years died on November 10th. He had a very aggressive cancer only diagnosed mid September. He was in and out of hospital 3 times but for the last 4 weeks before he died we nursed him at home with help from hospice carers and Marie Curie nurses. The cancer took away everything that was my husband: he couldn’t walk, he was incontinent and he couldn’t talk. I was exhausted physically and mentally and on the go the whole time. Often my mobile would be ringing at the same time as the landline as visitors band carers were arriving. Now I am in a quiet house with the terrible pictures going through my mind of how he suffered . I want to remember the man that he was. People keep saying the recent memories will fade. I hope so. I am hoping to have counselling and am being prescribed antidepressants. I hurt so much . I am glad however that I found this site. It does help me to know there are others in my situation. Thank you fir reading this


Dear Meseaber

I am so sorry. I did not have the experiences that you have had and can only imagine your pain. I am sure that you are already aware that Marie Curie offer bereavement support.

My husband died in a road traffic accident and I spent months awake haunted by what I imagined were his final moments. A passing motorist stayed with him until the emergency services and air ambulance arrived so I can only take something from the fact that he was not alone in his final moments. But heartbroken that I never got to say goodbye as despite the police best efforts I arrived too late.

I hope that you get the support you need and can surround yourself with trusted friends and family. Take care.

Sheila, thank you. I’m getting a lot of comfort from the posts I see in this bereavement community and they are helping with the pain I feel


Hi Meseaber
We lost my mum in April to cancer. She was only diagnosed just under 3 weeks prior to her death. She spent the last just over 2 weeks of her life in the local hospice, as she felt emotionally it would be too much for me to care for her at home in the end. So my brother and I were protected from that. As I type this now I’m weeping as I think of her care and compassion for me, even as she was facing death.

However watching her die was horrible. She was very emaciated and the day before she died as I sat next to her sleeping I felt like I was sitting next to a breathing corpse. Sorry that that is so graphic, but that is honestly what it felt like. She had a naso gastric tube insitu for those last 3 weeks, which I know irritated her at times and was catheterised. Although, we were fortunate in that she was able to speak right up til virtually the end, although her last words were, “Pain, pain, pain.” She was on two syringe drivers and was given pain relief which settled her.

The last week of her life she really didn’t want to be here and on Good Friday, (she died on Easter Sunday), got very distressed saying that she didn’t want to be here and was in pain, and they had to sedate her and give her pain relief. I was fortunate in that I missed that episode, although my brother witnessed it. I arrived just after they’d sedated her.

I remember after the funeral we had a few people back to her house and we put her service card on display. Looking at the photos we’d chosen for her card all I could see was her emaciated body lying in the hospice bed, which I shared with my brother. And he said, “Remember her like this.” It took a little while, but now I remember her as she was when she was healthy, and I’m sure that the same will be true of your memories of your husband. Give it time. What helped me was seeing a couple of videos of her on her phone. My nephew’s wife had asked everyone to make videos for their son’s fourth birthday as he couldn’t have a party. And seeing that video from last year, which she’d made when she was well and happy helped me. But in time I’m sure the awful memories of how your husband was at the end will fade.

Take care and be kind to yourself.

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Hi Meseaber

Sorry for your loss of your husband.
Caring for a loved one at ‘end of life’ is truly the most awful, difficult, emotional and exhausting thing you can do.
Nothing can prepare you for it.
You did an enormously great thing, you should be proud of yourself.

I hate Cancer too.


Thank you. Cancer is such a terrible, terrible thing. You’re right that eventually I will find comfort from videos but not yet. At the moment I just want the impossible and that’s to have him back and to have our life together

I really had no idea how awful it would be . Years ago I had helped to look after my dad who had pancreatic cancer but awful as that was this was so many times worse. Thank you for your kind words.

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