A wonderful post explaining the often forgotten perspective of our dear wives who are left behind when this disease takes its final toll. Anticipatory grief is an excellent way to describe the emotion that is the state of mind a loving wife must feel - as they are there from diagnosis, through initial treatment to the end stage supporting, loving, caring and nursing us men. It is a noble task they perform and although I have not reached end stage yet, know that it is one that Amanda, my wife, will perform without qualm and with that stoic quality that strong women possess.
The effects of a diagnosis and the treatment for prostate cancer are not just physical, they are very much psychological, with worry, fear of the future and anticipation and uncertainty your daily bedfellows. A good wife will deflect some of these worries off their men as they both deal with each brick wall of bad news that hits them together as the disease progresses. You share the anger, the pain, the denial, the tears, the why me's, the scaredness, the inevitability. In short, the entire gamut of emotions and the journey. It is this shared experience which makes it easier for a man to contemplate his fate and for his partner, makes easier the passing of their man. This in no way makes light of the terrible, invidious disease that is cancer and the devastating effects of dying, but is a reality in most loving long term relationships. I do not know how I would have coped without my wife by my side at every appointment, dealing with the various health professionals and arranging everything to make the everyday deal it is living with a life limiting disease much less of a trial than it would be. Good women are, in that respect, irreplaceable.
And so it is for women in your position, good, strong, loving women who have been there supporting their husbands from the outset to the end who, through their selfless devotion and love, are spared the harshness of dealing with the strength of emotion that, say, a sudden death would usually impose. The one saving grace about prostate cancer is that it is generally, in some cases longer in duration than others, a slow progressing disease giving the partner some time to experience part of the grieving process before their man passes.
I, and I believe that I speak for the vast majority of men here on this forum wish to thank you for the selfless devotion you showed your late husband and to let you know that it did not nor does it go unnoticed. We may not express our thanks, but without you women by our sides, this horrible journey would be much more a miserable and onerous burden than it already is.
Godspeed to Tony. He is waiting for you I am sure, in a dimension we have yet to understand. In your heart, however, have no doubt that he is doing his best to return the favour and ease your grief as you move forward with your life. True love never dies. It is just expressed in other ways such as a memory, a sound, a whisper on the wind. Tony's love will forever embolden you when you feel down, I am sure, till you meet again. Thank you.