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Four months and he is gone


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My husband, Barry, was diagnosed in mid-February with advance pancreatic cancer. He passed away on 26th June. I was only really coming to terms with him having the illness and becoming his full time carer when - that's it, all over. The whole family is devastated. Barry and I knew at the end of May that chemo was not working but our son had his GCSEs so we waited until he had finised those to tell everyone. Within a few days of telling he family and friends just how serious the situation was, he was gone. They are all still in shock, as am I. I had thought we would have longer. Although my estimations shortened as time went by. "perhaps we will have Christmas" the "my birthday in October", then "our sons 16th in August". I feel such a fool for being so hopeful. But what do I do now? He was 51, I am 49. I have to carry on for my sons but I feel that people expect me to just crumble, which I am doing inside.

I keep being told how strong I am. I don't know what is expected of me. I have to still get up in the mornings, even if I dont want to. I still have to go shopping, I have to sort out all the paper work and banks. I will have to go back to work. But I think I must look cold and uncaring because I am getting up and carrying on. Dont take me wrong, I have looked at that packet of sleeping pills, even when he was ill. But I have two teenage sons that need me. I am completely lost. The funeral was on Friday and the service was lovely. at the wake afterwards the one overriding thought was "I have nowhere to sit". Everyone was in their family groups but I didn't have one. The boys were with their friends and cousins - which was OK with me. but I just didn't belong anywhere.

Sorry to waffle on but I have to tell all this to someone. x

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Dear Wendy,

What can I say. It's a horrible place to be at the moment no doubt, and don't feel foolish for being hopeful - we have something inside us that wants to keep fighting, wants to survive - no matter what the odds are (just read some of the stories on here, so much against us but we keep trying anyway).

And I know about people saying how strong or brave you are.....it's strange hearing these things - because if you are anything like me, you wouldn't think twice of having the option to wake up and it was all a bad dream. I know I would. Infact, I would give my legs not to have Pancreatic Cancer - but to be alive when my kids reach adulthood (the youngest is 2....and I have 3 children), watch them fall in love, get married - have their own children etc etc. Statistics and specialists tell me that is not possible, but I still hope. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to get up in the morning, and trust me - I have experienced many days like that lately.

Even though your heart must be torn, and your journey seem overwhelming, please do not give up the precious gift you have....which is 'life'. You mention you have sons, even though they are in their teens they still need you - and even though Barry has gone so much of him is integrated into your personality that in some way he will still be there - giving advice, being a parent and giving love, only it will through you. The boys will have any memories of him no doubt, but you will be able to fill in the gaps as they get older, questions most kids ask like 'what was your first car...', 'how many times did you take your driving test...' or 'how old were you when you were allowed to go on a boys only holiday...' etc etc. You may know the answers :)

I myself take great solace in knowing my husband adores our children, and that he is a fantastic father, changing nappies, getting up in the night, telling stories and playing games - but is strong and fair with the discipline too. He's even learned how to plait my daughters hair.... :)

Try not to expect too much of yourself too quickly. You have to allow yourself 'time' - and nobody knows how long it will be before you feel you have some control or normality, or even joy back in your life. It is different for everyone. Just get through the days (and nights) as best as you can, and slowly things will start to drop into place again. Don't be afraid to cry and to ask for help from members of the family, that's what family is for. Give your sons a chance to 'cuddle' you - they may feel very protective over you at this time so don't be distant, talk to them like adults, tell them how you feel and let them do the same.

I'm sorry you didn't have enough time to come to terms with what was going on, 4 months is a short time - one family on the forum had less than that - I don't think they made 4 weeks, a very young family too, tragic. I don't think you ever have time to come to terms with a loved one leaving you before you are ready though, whether it be 4 months or 4 years. I've been fighting PC for 29months.....and it's flown by so quickly. I know I am running out of time, but even now I still find it hard to get 'my affairs in order' even though I have known for over 2yrs that I am 'terminal'.

Is it a definate that you have to return to work? Will there be no financial help with life assurance or mortgage protection....? Maybe check with Macmillan to see if you are eligiable for any benefits, I know they themselves offer a one off payment/grant - but not sure what is required to qualify.


or call 0808 808 00 00

there is also a one off Bereavement Payment of £2000:


If you don't need it for bills etc, then think about taking the boys away for the week somewhere after their GCSE results.

There is also a Bereaved Parent's allowance:


Anyway....sorry the post is so long, I just felt for you and wanted you to know you will always get a reply here - it's a lovely forum, lots of characters and always a reply. You did the right thing posting, especially at this particular time with everything so raw and up in the air.

Take care, and hope to see you on here soon,

Juliana x

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Hi Wendy

Juliana, a great source of support for all of us here, has given you some great information.

I'm sorry to hear your story and for all of us going through this, both patients and family and carers it really is a ticking time bomb. And for me part of me wants to know how long I have left with my hubby (he's 42, I'm 36 and we've been married for 2 1/2 years) so that I can pack everything in, but would it really help me, probably not.

I also know how you feel when people say you are strong, I have that too, as well as "he's lucky to have you" when really at times I don't feel that strong and feel lucky to have him.

Take time for yourself, you know yourself best, ask for support if needed and as Juliana suggested, maybe look at some benefits, like Juliana said, take the boys away when results are through.

As for paperwork, banks etc, maybe ask a friend or family member to do them with you, I know they can't do them for you but just to give you support. And if you can't bear going shopping, then do it online if you can.

As for waffling, don't worry. I'm chief waffler on here, what starts out as "this is just a quicky" ends up a longy.

Take Care


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Hi Wendy and I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I and all the other carers on here either have, or know we are going to, go through the same thing. The surreal, empty feeling you are experiencing will subside in time but it does take time and you need to give yourself time to grieve and recover.

It's a human trait to look to the future and try to plan. Yes, you'll go back to work at some point, yes the bank and other practical things will need to be done, but if you're not able to cope let people around you know - I find that other people are very understanding and only too willing to do what they can to help. Don't try to rush it all - you'll end up overwhelmed. Be kind to yourself - as kind as Brian would have wanted you to be.

People won't think you're uncaring for carrying on - they will think you are brave and focused on your children who need you more now than ever. We all put on a mask for others so that when we're crumbling inside, no one can tell. We have to - if I didn't I think I'd be walking round in a permanent state of hysteria!

Juliana talks about the gift of life....here's another thought - what about the legacy of love which Brian left to you and through you for his children? He would have wanted you all to lean on each other, support each other and love one another as he loved you all. Share your feelings and allow the children to share theirs openly and honestly.

You'll always find a friendly ear here and a shoulder and practical advice if you need it. Let us know how you're getting on from time to time and don't forget we really do know what you're going through.


Nicki x

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Hi Wendy

When I read your post I was deeply touched. Chris & I were "lucky" - they gave us 3/4 months & she had exactly one year from the day she collapsed. I can't imagine if the medics had been right how I would have coped with such a short timescale. It's just days. I lost Chris six months ago, so having a bit of recent experience of death let me start with the bad news. It doesn't get easier - it gets harder! The gap in your life will be so large you can lose yourself inside it. You will cry. A lot. At vey odd times. And in very odd situations. Don't worry about it - people do "understand" although they don't really. Because you are in the loneliest place in the world. Just accept that's how it is - don't fight it!

Now the positives. You have a son. Love him & talk about Barry. Keep him alive. Talk to Barry when you're on your own. I talk to Chris all the time. I ask her what to do. Does she agree? Often she doesn't, but I do it anyway! Mainly because I'm now on my own and that makes it different. Because for the first time I haven't got anyone to answer to - and I mean that in a nice way, not a negative way. It's something you will have to get used to, like I had to.

And you are strong - simply because you have survived those 4 months. Because they were so difficult because the person you love fades away in front of you & you are utterly helpless. They are feelings that absolutely nobody can help you with - people can only be a strong shoulder. But you will survive. Not just for your child, but for yourself. Because Barry would want you to survive. Because he loved you & always remember that simple important fact when you are at your lowest. He loved you & he wants you to enjoy life again - one day.

If you read my post you will see that I've kept busy as hell. Don't be fooled - this does help, but I still went to bed alone & cried alone. Nothing wrong, you need to do it, But gradually life will return, but it is a different life. My dar Mum in law - who last her husband at 40 yrs of age 46 years ago - told me " The pain never goes away, but you will come to terms with your loss & get on with your life"

I wish you everything you wish yourself in the future months. This site is wonderful, the people all beautiful. You are not alone.

And I leave you at 1.11 in the morning - whilst listening to Cyndi Lauper, my Chris's favourite lady singer which tells you something about how hard this all is - with the words she asked me to put on her funeral order of service. Be strong girl, coz you are, & stay in love with him.

God Bless



I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how grey the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good- bye.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them.

Take Time To Live..

To all my friends and loved ones, I wish you Enough !

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Dear Wendy

I was so upset to read your post but like everyone else on this forum I am thinking of you. I know that my 27 year old daughter has only a little time left even though we were originally told she had 2/3 weeks - that was on April 1st. I don't think we can ever be really prepared no matter how much time is left - the shock and sense of loss is almost too much to bear.

I understand exactly what you mean about other people telling you how strong you are - I am constantly told that I am doing an 'amazing job' in caring for my daughter but I get confused by that because I'm surely only doing what any mum or parent would do? For me its a privilege and an honour.

I am sure that absolutely no-one thinks you are being uncaring and cold because you are getting on with the business of living - its like an automatic response - it has to be done. And your sons will need you so much as I know my 20 year old son will need me once his sister is gone.

I so hope that you and your sons can draw comfort from the many happy memories you all shared of Barry - this site is so wonderful and supportive and please be assured that everyone is here for you.

Be gentle with yourself and take care


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everybody and thanks so much for your replies. It is so sad to know that there are other people sufferring, either from this desease, or while watching their loved ones. I know that I couldn't have done any more for Barry. At least he had the chance to thank me and to say his goodbyes, even if we weren't ready yet. I remember when he was diagnosed and he really wanted me to accept the situation and I was saying silly things like "your not going anywhere soon". He said he couldn't accept it until I did. So I said I did and I suppose part of me did. But it really hit home when he said that I would be there to support him through this but what hurt him the most was that he wouldn't be there to support me through my suffering after he was gone. It is now just a month on and I have tried to keep busy sorting out the financial things but nothing else. Especially not housework. I only get out of bed in the morning because the cats need feeding. I suppose at least that gets me out of bed! Luckily the boys are old enough to feed themselves from feezer to microwave. Although I did fry some eggs for one of them on Sunday. I am not much of a cook but it felt like a little acheivement. I have been living on cereals - so easy. And of course all the boxes of chocolates I have been given. Pity I can't eat the flowers too. :)

I know life will go on and that I have to adapt. I have encouraged my sons to continue with their lives as normal which means being at home on my own quite a lot. But I have to get used to the loneliness, and at least I know they will be back in the evening. Not thought about work yet. Meeting them in August sometime to talk about it. My plan is to return in September when both the boys start their college courses. A friend said I should set a date and make sure I keep to it. She also says I am being too hard on myself, expecting too much too soon.

I think I am entitled to some bereavement benefits so will try to go there later this week, my friend has offered to come too. I have been doing things on my own so far but am getting a bit bogged down by paper work.

I do talk to Barry but at the moment it is mainly asking how I am going to cope without him. Although I did have a laugh with him on a news story on the radio. That's a start.

Thank you again for all your stories and support. I guess I not so alone as I thought.

Wendy x

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