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Bereaved family and friends

For anyone who has lost a family member or friend to cancer to share their feelings and support one another.

Trying to process my grief

Haymich95
Posted by

My family situation is a little complicated, but here's what happened. My nephews step-dad, Aeron, who was the most wonderful man in the world, died 4 weeks ago from Oesophageal cancer. He was 28. We were close, he was like a brother to me, and best friend. My nephew is only 4, and he has been staying with me and my parents for the past 2 months. We took him back to his mums today, she has only now wanted him back for a couple of weeks, she couldn't handle the kids any sooner. 

It was so painful dropping my nephew off, knowing it will really sink in that his step dad has gone. Because I've been so busy taking care of a 4 year old, this is the first time since it happened that I've been in silence. The first time I'm reflecting on what has happened, and I just can't believe it. I can't imagine a world where Aeron isn't here. As I'm typing this, I imagine him laughing at how emotional I'm being, and telling me he's though, he'll get through this. He promised he would, but sadly it wasn't up to him. 

There was 7 weeks between him being diagnosed, after a simple endoscopy appointment, and his death. He was just being sick, lost weight, we thought it was a bug, or a bad case of gastroenteritis. But no, cancer. After a full scan and all the tests, we found out it had spread to his liver and lymph-nodes. Fast forward a month later, there's a pandemic, we cant see him, and he was stuck in hospital until the last few days of his life. The last time I spoke to him properly was over facetime. I think we both knew it was happening, sooner rather than later. He never had a chance to fight. No treatment would do anything. 

Now I'm alone, in a house with people. I'm in my room and all I want to do is call Aeron and talk about how my nephew is, or just talk. About anything. 

I've never really gone through grief before, but this pit in my stomach feels like it wont go away. I just don't know what to do, so I'm trying here, where people understand.

Sorry if I wrote too much xx

GREENS87
Posted by

I'm so sorry for your loss. My dad has also just passed with the same cancer. 

Haymich95
Posted by

I'm so incredibly sorry to hear that you are going through this. Can I ask, how have you coped with the current situation i.e. social distancing? I wasn't able to see Aeron the weeks before, we facetimed and called, but it wasn't the same. 

That type of cancer is awful, for us it was 7 weeks from finding out he had cancer, to it taking his life. 7 weeks. Cancer stole everything. 

But how are you managing, or not managing, your grief? I don't feel like I can vocalise how I feel, so I hope to find this helpful. 

GREENS87
Posted by

I'm very lucky I have such a supportive partner who is helping me with my emotions. I'm crying one moment lagging about memories the next, feel numb one moment then angry it's a crazy time. 

We was lucky my dad was at home when he passed he didn't want to go into hospital or a hospice. I managed visits by seeing him through the window and maintaining social distancing untill it was time and I had mask gloves n goggles so I was able to go inside and say my last goodbyes. It's hard sorting stuff out at moment tho it's a strange time with this virus around. 

My dad battled it for 2 years untill it spread to his stomach and liver then it was only a couple of months. Was awful to watch what he was going through and not been able to help. His mc millian nurses were amazing tho. 

I hope you find some comfort in been able to speak about things on here that's why I joined to speak to people who are going through the same thing. 

Haymich95
Posted by

I'm really glad that you have a supportive partner, having people there right now for you is so important to cope day to day. I'm the same, I either feel nothing or feel everything. 

Such a bizarre thing to say goodbye with social distancing, but at least when the time came you could be with him, that must have been important for you. Gosh two years, I'm sorry, I hope it wasn't painful for those years for your dad. 

Aeron went to the doctors originally because he kept being sick and lost a lot of weight really quickly, had the endoscope, that day they saw the tumour. It was covering a large amount of his esophagus, and had already spread to his liver and lymph nodes. I think what was so tough to handle was the constant hope being taken away. He thought he could have palliative chemo, but days before he was supposed to start he was rushed to hospital, and then they found out it had spread to his lungs. Each time he found hope it was gone. There was a time he thought he'd have until Christmas, and he got 7 weeks from finding out he had cancer. 

I just feel so helpless. I couldn't do anything then and I cant do anything now. Yes the mcmillan nurses were wonderful for him too, I'm glad you had that for your dad. They were the only kindness through this whole ordeal, giving him that comfort. 

I just can't stop thinking about it all, feels like it's playing over in my head on loop. 

How have you been this past week?

Thank you, I do feel comfort knowing I can type these things and someone understands, hope you have that too. 

GREENS87
Posted by

Hi heymich, 

Its, awful when hooe is taken away constantly, and you always feel helpless, i promised my dad we would beat it together but unfortunatly without the surgery to remove the tumour it was a done deal this was going to happen eventually but watching someone in so much pain and discomfort and not been able to do anything was more heartbreaking then anything. Strangest thing was my dad was such a fighter he was admitted to hospital several times with his sickness pain and dehydration. He had a major heart attack died for several minutes but the nurses got him back. Thats when they had to stop all chemo and it spread so quickly after that.

I had been so busy this past week having to sort out my dads propety and bills and registering his death ive not stopped so havent had much time to process alot. Its his birthday today so were having a little party in the garden just me my partner and our son. Althought he keeps asking when we can ring grandad on the heaven phone because he wants to talk to him.

How are you coping this week? Have you managed to do anything in his memory to remember the happy times not the sad one?

Take care im always online to reply and its nice to speak to someone and get comfort from these chats

Haymich95
Posted by

Hi GREENS87,

Sorry I'm so late in replying. I keep pushing down everything I'm feeling, trying to force myself to forget, and then I find myself on here looking for those who understand. I only come online in the night, as if then is when I let myself feel what I'm actually feeling. 

It is awful when hope is taken away time and time again. I'm so sorry you had to see your dad in so much pain, it's terrible for them and you feel helpless. Then your trust is in the doctors, but when they can't do anything, it all falls apart, or it did in my case anyway. Wow, seven minutes dead, he really was a fighter, I'm sorry he had to go through all of that, but he sounds like he had an unforgettable spirit. 

That must have been stressful, organising all the bills and property information, I hope it wasn't too exhausting? I'm glad you did something with your partner and son to celebrate your dads birthday, that's lovely. I've had the exact same with my nephew, he's been staying with us, and he keeps asking when he can call or facetime Aeron. I did all the research to prepare myself before having to prepare him. My nephew, Isaac, is only 4, and he adored Aeron. He keeps trying to think of solutions to bring him back, I don't think it's really sunk in for him yet, but it's so hard to tell when he's so young. How can he understand? Can I ask, how have you handled telling your son? 

I haven't coped that well since my last message. I push it down all day so I can care for Isaac, and then once he's asleep I just sit in my room thinking everything. It's like what has happened is playing on repeat in my mind, and I just want it to stop. I can't sleep, and Isaac has started having nightmares so I have to help him all night. It has been tough, but we did have a moment last week where Isaac wanted to draw some pictures for Aeron, and he started talking about funny things he did. It was nice, to laugh and remember for a minute without the sadness overshadowing it. I want to do something more though, like a real tribute for him, maybe it would help Isaac. 

How have you been this past week? Grief is hard enough but with lockdown and everything else, how it that for you? 

Thank you, it really is helping reading your replies and feeling there's someone who understands. Look after yourself.