Specific Situations > Extreme Caregiving

From a post on YWBB, responding to Shelby:

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Wheelerswife:
Shelby,

I know you know my story and my thoughts on the questions you pose. I decided to add a comment here about goodbyes. I truly wonder how many of us really say "goodbye". I know I didn't. Barry and I had had many, many conversations over the 18 years we were together about life and death. He had already long outlived his prognosis when I met him. When I decided I would follow my heart and marry him, we had already had talks about life and death. I was fortunate to get a long talk with him the night before he got sick the last time, when he asked me if it would be better for me if he died a quick death or a slow death. Talk about a tough question! (I told him what was more important was that it was a good death for him.) He woke up sick the next day and died a week later. We also had a talk three days before he died after he awoke from a coma that nobody expected him to wake up from. That talk was about how he might die, but that we hoped he would pull through. Even to the end, we never said good bye.

What we did say was "I love you."

From my conversations with other wids who were with their spouse at the end, these words were also the last words spoken.

Maureen

lcoxwell:
Honestly, I never said goodbye, either.  He was in a coma, throughout his last day and a half.  While he was in the coma, I told him that I would be okay, because I knew those were the words he needed to hear me say.  My final words to him, both the last time I spoke to him, before the coma, and that final day, while he was in the coma, were "I love you, Babe!"

canadiangirl:
Same here, I think there is a myth that one gets to say goodbye, per se, in a Randy Pausch Last Lecture sort of way.  It really depends on whether the person dying accepts that fact.  It is not always obvious when the actual end is near, and the person cannot always speak at that point.  What it has taught me is to say "I love you" at most partings and as often as the spirit moves me and that was not something "done" in my family. 

SimiRed:
I also did not say "Goodbye", We said "I'll love you forever and ever..."  I did tell him that our son and I would be okay, cause I think he needed to know that too.

anniegirl:
There was no good-bye.

My late husband suffered from dementia early in his illness, so there was no opportunity to have any meaningful discussions and the last months of his life he was "awake" but non-responsive.

I said my own good-bye. The day after he died, I went to the exact spot where we were standing the moment I realized that I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I cried and said good-bye.

But that is not the good-bye of movies or books.

I don't know if I envy people who had the opportunity or not and of those I know (my husband is one as he and his late wife had a long middle of the night talk the day before she died), they didn't say formal good-byes either.

Who says good-bye to the person they loved most in the world? Can that be done even?

I love you's seem more common. It's hopeful, affirming and speaks of future when you can meet again.

Good-bye is somewhat of a closure thing and there is no real closure on widowhood.

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