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Sunday, May 3, 2015

When Your Spouse Is Dying - Part 1

Not exactly the most cheerful title, eh?

But the fact remains that dying is what we're constrained to do, and if you're married, one or the other of you will start that journey first.

It's not a pleasant process, and I won't sugar coat it with Hallmark Card sweetness. But, to quote Tennyson, some work of noble note may yet be done. I'm going to try to help you get there.

My qualifications? I am dying, myself, and am trying to understand the road, to ease things for my wife.

This isn't just a series to help you offer a kind of martyred comfort to the dying, taking the burdens on yourself. This is intended to help YOU survive with your health, your heart, and your conscience intact.

Dying's nasty, but while it demands compassion, it doesn't confer entitlement. It's a Bad Trip, but shouldn't be a guilt trip - for either of you.

This is to help you walk into a future that's certainly unwanted, in the form it's assuming, but one you'll have to live in nonetheless.

Some of the topics we'll cover will be:

* Faith - being terminal changes perspective

* Interests - that which you've shared may fall away, and you need to be true to yourself

* Distancing - it happens. He or she is dying, and you're not. We'll look at how to avoid the almost inevitable survivor's guilt.

* Sex - it can be very hard to be physically responsive to a dying mate. And terminal illness can make intimacy seem irrelevant to the dying...which can be hurtful to you.

*  Future Plans - what to share, and what not to share. Hint - if you've already got a replacement lined up, don't share that.

I'm going to leave this open-ended; your comments may inspire further topics, and I would like to be thorough.

So, next time...Faith.


  1. Thank you. Trust me, you will never be forgotten.

    1. Michelle, thank you so very, very much. I'm overwhelmed.

  2. Thank you for writing about these topics. Every couple should have "the conversation" about what each other want for the surviving spouse. Joe and I had "the conversation" several times. I knew he wanted me to move forward with life and I've tried my best to move forward. Although I know he is ticked that I've not dated or remarried yet.

    I look forward to your posts. God bless you and your wife.

    1. Michele, you were on my mind as I was conceptualizing this series. I hope it will be a worthy companion to your witness.

      And thank you so much for the prayers. Things are getting a bit rougher.

      Please give Rommie a big hug!

  3. Still praying with you Andrew. This series - the idea of a spouse dying - is certainly not a topic we want to hear; BUT, one that needs to be heard and acted on. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, as you have so much to say and so much inspired "right there" experience. May God continue to journey with you 'til you are with him...{{HUGS}} for you and your wife!

    1. Thank you so much...it's a terribly hard road, but I hope that at least I can offer a hand to hold.

      And thank you for the prayers, and the hugs.

  4. A topic no one wants to face but everyone needs to embrace as it is inevitable! Praying!

    1. I wish I could say that taken head on it's not so scary...but it is. I guess that how we face it is the key, for our loved ones...and ourselves.

      And thanks for the prayers. They're needed. And appreciated.

  5. This will be a series that is rich with important instructions. Most of us have not walked where you are walking and I'm really interested to know how to approach such a time. Prayers are lifted for you, Andrew!

    1. It will be the hardest thing I have ever written. And it will be expanded into a book, time and strength permitting.

  6. Thank you so much.

    I keep coming back here, and keep being blown away by what I read. This space, and your preparedness to talk out loud about the ugly and specific challenges of dying allows us to face the same thing, but not alone. You communicate, 'I'm here in this reality, and God is, too. This is a dark path, but not without hope.' Thank you for being willing to let others into this part of your journey too.

    Perhaps what you don't realise is how God is using your words to express things that others might have said, had they the skill or courage to speak them. My family faced cancer 24 years ago. I wonder if we were just too choked up with love and fear of loss to say out loud some of the things you do here. I wish we had heard or spoken some of this truth to each other back then... but I was young, and us Brits aren't always great at expressing real emotions either... Your words break that sense of helpless isolation. Your words make sense ('it's a Bad Trip') - and yet make us realise that to face death, and to lose those we love, is a common experience to all. Your words are bringing us together here - to also see that God has taken death's sting and provided us a way through the darkest of paths. Thank you again. Really.

    1. Ruth, your comment means the world to me, truly. As I walk this path I am realizing day on day that the only strength I can draw on is that which I offer, through the Almighty, to others.

      And the expressing of emotions is tough for me, too...I am Asian!