When care changes over time – Val


Val was relieved when her husband passed away. For her, the grieving had started a long time before his death.


I had a sense of relief when my husband passed away. It was just a huge relief. There was a band of tightness that was on my chest, and when I woke up that next morning—I actually didn’t sleep that night—but when I did wake up sometime during that day, that band that was around my chest, it was gone. My son said the same thing. He’s very close to his father and he said, “You know what? My chest feels better.” I don’t know if it’s like the lifting of the burden off your shoulders, or exactly how it goes, but it felt a lot better that way. I was always wondering if he was going, [if] Dave was going to suffer. If he was going to be days without eating because he did say he didn’t want any intervention; he just wanted to die a natural death. And if I was going to see him struggle and not breathe, if he was going to flap his arms and legs, and if I was going to witness that… I just didn’t know what I was going to see or what I was in for. I took the job on, but honestly I didn’t know what I was going to see in that last day. It is very comforting for me to see him pass away that way. It was expected of course, but still shocking on that particular day. I never thought it would go that way, but I’m glad it did.

The period after, how are you adjusting?

I slept. I slept, I slept 12 hours, 14 hours, many hours. I spent it alone. Many people wanted to come over. My son and I spent the time alone. I just said, “I want to be alone. I’ve been grieving for a really long time. It didn’t start today. It didn’t start yesterday.” So for us, we wanted to be alone, my son and I. Our daughter, his sister, came from Europe and her husband as well. And we spent time together as just five of us, four of us now, four of us. And that’s how we spent the time afterwards. My son’s been very strong for me. He’s told me, “You did a good job.”  My daughter also told me that. Not always did they think I did a good job, but they have told me that in the end.

I’ve gone back to work. I’ve picked up more hours. I feel very sad, and the other thing I miss is the being lonesome for my husband. It’s not that I need company all the time or would like company all the time, it’s only my husband that I’m lonesome for. So having people or company over wouldn’t be the answer to that. But the service went very nicely. It was a really nice service. And Dave didn’t take part in any of it. He didn’t want to talk about any, anything. So he said, “You do it.” So I did. I wish he would have helped but he didn’t. I’ve taken care of some of his clothes and donated them. Like I said, I went back to work and it’s good, it’s good. And I sleep.

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