3. Apr, 2022

The week 13-2022 highlights

Lifecycle picture by Pixabay

We are all part of several lifecycles (birth - life - death), our own one, the ones of our family, friends and colleagues. When you listen to the stories and read the social media posts, the main focus is on the 1st two stages. Death is mostly taken out of it, especially in Germany where I am. Might be a cultural thing or depending on a religious background, I am not sure?

I will be sharing a personal story today (I did think about pros and cons the last 2 days). If you are interested, you are welcome to read on, if death is not your topic, also perfectly fine 🤔.

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20 years ago my first wife died with cancer, when she was 37. Back then my daughters had been just 2 and 5. When we first found out about her illness, it was already too late and she got a prediction for another 6 weeks. The doctor's advice was to sort and manage the affairs and find a hospice place quickly. We had a great doctor and psychologist and my wife started to fight instead of giving up.

Deciding to fight is the obvious choice, but finding the right strategy is much more difficult. As the conventional medicine could not really help, a 2nd opinion came to the same result, besides the standard chemo therapy, my wife wanted to look into alternative ideas. Meditation, talks with the psychologist, reading a lot of books, traditional chinese medicine (TCM) and asking a shaman for help were some of them.

My key learning and take away as the husband, who did not die in this moment:

  • The ill person is priority one and will die shortly. We do not have an idea, what this means, how this feels and, what kind of thoughts they have. Do not make any guesses and it is not about you!!
  • Be supportive and be positive about the ideas and strategies proposed. Do not judge, just learn and be open minded. I did learn a lot and have been surprised several times during the TCM treatments and the shaman visit for example. Pretty hard for a facts and figures based engineer, but I don't want to miss it.
  • The ill person needs much more quality time alone and with the family and friends. No time and interest to worry about running the daily tasks.
  • Do not be too optimistic, what you can handle in the daily care of the ill person. Ask experts for help, this will be beneficial for all involved parties
  • With two small kids the main focus as couple is on the kids and not on you as a couple. This needs to be changed. Ask your family to support you with the kids.
  • Do not complain about stuff you cannot change anyway. Appreciate that you have time to say good bye. Would be different with an accident.
  • Try to learn as much as possible out of the situation you are going through. I stopped to make long-term plans, as life can change quickly and unexpectedly.     
  • You will be surprised about the motivation the ill person can have to reach small goals. They are well aware about their situation and know, where the stand on their final journey.

My wife died after 6 month on 03-Apr-2002 peaceful and knowing for sure that everything will be well covered. It was a journey to remember and still is ...