Caregivers’ Newsletter from Koganei, Tokyo

Days in Grief : Bereavement with the Beloved One True Thoughts on Caregiving

Here is a story from a lady in her seventies who took care of her husband till he sadly passed away.

The Rose of Sharon is in bloom beautifully. The white Rose of Sharon is the only flower my husband liked, who was not at all interested in flowers. At this time last year, we were watching the flower together… When his illness was found, it was at Level 4 and had metastasized to bones and lymph nodes. Operation was not possible. Even a strong man like him, my husband was so shocked that he was dumbfounded. Then began his life under medical treatment which lasted for one year and eight months. I decided to enjoy the days as much as I can together with my husband. While watching his condition, we went on trips, driving and often walking. Even now, wherever I walk, memories come back and I become sad.

He did not complain and underwent his treatment always with a positive attitude and all his might. We even challenged the immunotherapy which was not established yet. However, his pain in the back worsened. I could only pray that his pain would ease and rub his back. Every day I felt my own helplessness.

When we considered receiving a “second opinion”, he was reluctant at first because he had a faithful personality. Our daughter and I somehow managed to persuade him saying “it is your right as a patient and you don’t have to worry about it”. He accepted it at last and got hospitalized. He received palliative care and radiotherapy in parallel. He carried on his treatment with a reliable doctor and kind nurses. He was liberated from his pain and was discharged from hospital in two weeks. He stayed at home for three weeks, but he could not walk well. We held hands seriously and firmly for the first time in our 52 years of marriage as I attended him when he needed to go to the washroom, bathroom and toilet.

On the twelfth day of his second hospitalization, he passed away quietly just like a Rose of Sharon falling down, being watched over by his three children and their spouses, grandchildren, elder brother and two younger sisters.

When he was alive, he used to go for “go (Japanese board game of capturing territory)” volunteering because he wanted to see the people waiting for him at the “carer’s café”. Now that I am being helped by everybody at the café in the same way and feeling the purpose in life, I feel there is a curious turn of fate.
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