Swans Mate for Life

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Hubby has just returned from his nightly visit to the hospital.  This has been going on for 7 weeks.  As most of you are aware his 87 year old father is terminally ill with cancer.  It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind and we had to relocate them locally.  My husband is an only child and we don’t have a lot of family around to help.  He is now in a palliative care ward within 10 minutes of our house and we secured a flat for his mother.  It’s all been a bit too much for her as she was yanked suddenly from her home after 40 years. Nevertheless, we thought she had settled.

Shortly after we got her established in the flat she too took ill and was admitted to a different hospital in a different town.  Her condition is not life threatening.

They’ve been married for 53 years so we were desperate to get them together, for his final days.  It was a bit of a battle as the doctors at her hospital refused to transfer treatment, even though father in laws hospital was willing and able to take her.  In the end, it was the Great Escape.  I arranged to take her for 2 hours to visit her husband under the promise that I would bring her back but I never did.  Luckily, we have a stroppy doctor who isn’t interested in stroking other doctor’s egos.  She gave them a right ear-bending and the transfer was done within an hour.

They’re now in rooms across the hall from each other.  Everyday they wheel her into her hubby’s room where they sit and hold hands.

The weird thing is, and there is no medical reason for it but she is deteriorating quickly.  I must preface that she is getting excellent care but seems to have lost the will to live.  She’s given up eating and drinking and won’t get out of bed for the most part.  We have no idea why or what we can do.  I’ve heard of people dying from a broken heart……..

I’ve answered my own question….

my mother in law passed away on Sunday the 27th of June at 6.15pm

and FIL passed away at 11 am on the 28th of June, within 18 hours of each other.  It was like he was waiting for her….bitterly sweet!

Author: mediocremum

A slightly older mum of one, who drinks far too much red wine and has an unhealthy obsession with her slow cooker. During the day she's an ICT Trainer, Social Media/Online Marketing consultant and does a bit of public speaking. Full Profile on Google+

71 thoughts on “Swans Mate for Life”

  1. What a bitter sweet post. So sad that they're both ill but so lovely that their love is so strong and they're spending their time together.
    Sending lots of love to you both. xxx

  2. That happened to my grandmother when my grandfather got ill and passed on, she just seemed to stop functioning and didn't want to carry on, there was nothing we could say or do, she passed on some weeks later and all she wanted to do was to pass on so she could be with him again. You can die of a broken heart in my opinion.Stay strong and sending all my thoughts and love to you all xxxxx

  3. I believe you can die of a broken heart, A friend of ours lost her Dad to cancer and her Mum just 4 days later of a heart attack. They were buried on the same day. My partner and I always say "if you go first, I'm jumping in with you"… We will be thinking of you x

  4. It is all so very sad. Your hubby must be exhausted – I know from your tweets that you both have been under so much strain. But at least you know that you have done all you can – and getting them together is a wonderful thing. It certainly sounds as if your Mother in Law has just given up. I do believe that people do die of broken hearts and maybe she just cant imagine life without him. Maybe that is her way of "shutting out" that her husband is so ill. Being with someone for 53 years is an awful long time – and perhaps she just want to stay with him. All I can say is do your best. Thats all you can do and hopefully by doing that it will be a comfort – especially to your hubby in years to come.

  5. my grandparents were married for over 70 years and died within a month of each other. my grandpa had said he was ready but had to take care of grandma…when she died he could rest…and that's just how it happened…she went first and he was right behind. it was beautiful in it's own way…poetic even. who could hope for more for themselves even though it's hard at the time for those left behind…take good care of yourselves so you don't get run down during this emotional journey to come.

  6. I am just catching up on my google reader and was going to comment on this when I read your tweet. I am so, so sorry for your families loss. Your hubby must be beside himself. I think you have both done as much as humanly possible to make things as best as you could. I dont have any words of comfort, but I am thinking of you and yours

  7. I don't have 1st-hand experience here, but having one's life-long companion in a prolonged fight for life is quite stressful. Stress is a negative corporeal influence, especially for someone of advanced years. So it stands to reason that when one spouse is ill or worse, that the other suffers as well and can very well follow suit.I can only imagine the stress your hubby is going through. I'm an only child myself (adopted, actually), and I've come to terms with the prospect of my father passing – after a series of stuff over his eighty years – but losing them both in short order is something I'm probably very ill-prepared for.

  8. I'm so sorry to hear your news. What you did for them getting them together has been amazing, my thoughts are with your family x

  9. Very sorry to hear the sad news. Have often come across this phenomena when couples are together for so long. Being apart and 'left behind' is too devastating to contemplate. It is as if the mind takes over the body and fate is decided.Wishing you and your husband much strength in the difficult days ahead.LCM x

  10. I am so sorry to hear of your news. I have heard of close couples leaving this realm like that so close together. My mum died last year and your husband will find a way to cope but in the meantime, he will react normally but that may well include both physical and mental changes. I have slept so much for example and then lurch from black humour to tears and back again. I hope your husband has something to hang onto in terms of a faith, a belief in the strength of spirit and the legacy that he will be for his parents. Hard times but I am sure you will be there to support him. And well done you, on reaching out on Twitter etc for support. You will need it too. Lovely images of the swans.

  11. I guess when you wrote that you didn't expect your father in law to be so very close behind. They really didn't want to be apart did they…I am sure you will all take some comfort in the fact they were together for their last days, and, their suffering is over.

  12. That story is so, so moving. At the end of the day she took her own rational decision and set him free.Your hubby needs all the love and support you can give him, which I am sure you will do. Look to each other now and build your own family around the example of their devotion to each other

  13. What heartbreaking news, I'm so very sorry for you and your family. I'm hoping you all find strength in that they are still together, despite you being left behind. I'm sending light and love.x

  14. I know that it is hard for your hubbie to loose both parents so close together, but , they were together, (thanks to your sterling efforts Chrissie!) and I really think that this is how they would have wanted it. So whilst hubby mourns his parents, he should take comfort in the fact that they went together and are together, it is really most sweet and rather (macarbrely) romantic. Sorry, I dont do religion, but you and Hubby did all you can for them and I am sure that they are very grateful. XX

  15. Oh my God I was touched the first time I read this post. Like you say it's bitter sweet. Your poor husband to lose both parents more or less together. I hope he's ok and you too. x

  16. Sending you love and strength to get you through this sad time. You and D are no doubt in shock and whilst busy arranging the funeral and other duties, you don't really have the time to grieve, but take comfort in the fact that they are together, still holding hands and that they passed away peacefully. Take care hun, you have been such a good wife, mum and daughter in law these past few weeks looking after everyone else, but don't forget to look after yourself as well. Sending you all hugs.Lots of Love Nici xxxx

  17. I couldn't believe it as I was reading it and stand here, potato wedges in the oven, chops ready to go on the BBQ, and I'm glued to the spot.Our heart felt thoughts go to you and your husband during what has been a real rollercoaster for everyone involved.Sending you lots of strength and some peace in the knowledge that they are still as together and madly in love as they have been through their marriage.x

  18. A true love story to the end. My heart goes out to you and your husband, I hope he finds the strength to get through this, and I'm sure he will having you at his side. Like many of the other comments read..they were lucky to have you on their side and getting them together for the end was just brilliant. Take care. Joanne x

  19. 5 years ago i lost my grandad (my mums dad) which was hard for my nan as she had been with him for nearly 60 years. It was nearly a year to the day after he died that myself and my mum became worried when we culdnt get hold of nan. when the police when round they found that she had passed away holding a whisky glass in one hand and grandads photo in the other. She died of a broken heart and had wasted away (they lived in scunthorpe we in surrey) Your MIL and FIL were so in love that kind of love carries on into what ever is waiting for usi know how you must be feeling with hubby being heartbroken as i was ther to pick up my hubby when he lost his mum to cancer 10 years ago, keep smiling and we are all here for youxxx

  20. That is really sad news & I hope that both yourself & your Husband are okay you must both feel exhausted from it all. It is as you say bitter sweet but one would not have wanted to be without the other & they are together again now. sending big hugs lots of loveGillXXXX

  21. So sorry for your family's loss. It's bitter sweet that they couldn't live without each other, but at least you know they're together and one doesn't have to suffer the loss of the other.You've been an amazing source of strength to your husband and daughter, and on Twitter and on here we're all thinking of you.

  22. My heart goes out to you and your husband, and very moving story, I hope your husband can take some comfort and be very proud that his parents had a love for each other so strong. May they rest in peace side by side and the love they had for each other carry you and your husband through this very tough time xx

  23. You sound like you are as strong as his mum and dad from what I've seen! They would be proud that you and he have such a bond! Well done you and hubby on getting through this difficult time! Hugs to you both. xxxx

  24. Not very good with this sort of thing…but have had a very emotional 2 days with all of this…..Peter sends his love to you both, his Father dies very suddenly with no chance to say goodbye. Jamie asked me what the matter was this morning when I came off the phone to Chrissie in tears and he was very upset also. I'm glad they are both together, it seems obvious that is what they both wanted.

  25. please accept my condolences, take comfort that they are now together for eternity.I will raise my glass to them, and to both of you tonight. x

  26. I'm so sorry to hear of your families' very sad loss. It must be even more difficult for your husband as an only child to lose his parents all in one go.I have heard of couples dying very close together, I guess they want to remain together in the afterlife as they were when they were alive. Thinking of you all at this difficult time x x

  27. Words seem empty at this time..but it may help a little to know your sadness will ease, by holding close to the many special memories you will always have… Hugs

  28. I think you've summed it up – she has died of a broken heart. So, so tragic for your husband to lose both parents of course, but I hope in time, once the first wound has healed, that he will come to see that at least this way they are both at peace together. Much love to you and your family. x

  29. Very sad news to read, but it would seem that they were both at peace (yes I have also been following to goings-ons via Twitter). Maybe now you can all take time to think about all of this, not too deeply, and come to terms with what has happened.

    Things obviously won't be the same again, but lets hope that they only get better. We're all here, should we be needed, whether to share a shoulder or offer distraction.

  30. It must be so so tough for you all now. But when the initial grieving is done and time passes, I hope in a way that it will help you all to know that neither of them had to deal with coping without their partner.

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope they both rest in peace. Together, which is what they surely would have wanted.

  31. Many condolences on their passing but I hope that you both can take great comfort in the knowledge they spent their last days as they would have wished – together. I know that you have both done so much to help and support your MIL and FIL in recent weeks and it's been tough.

    Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again

  32. Gosh that's so sad. Been following your Twitter feed about all the goings on and you absolutely did the right thing when you kidnapped the MIL and moved her hospitals. Thinking of you and hubby xx

  33. My condolences to you both and all the family. This must be a very difficult time for you all. Thank you for sharing something which must be very difficult.

  34. My darling, upliftingly sad – if that makes sense? Warm feelings to you, your OH and yours x

  35. I'm so impressed that you 'stole' her away to be with her love for the last days. And yes, very bitter sweet that they died together. So sad for your poor husband. But you should all be proud that you enabled them to have this time together. Hugs to you all at this sad time.

  36. That's so sad – I'm sorry for your loss and especially for your husband loosing both his parents so close together

    I hope in time he can realise that it was obviously what they both wanted and perhaps better for them to do it this way than for either to be alone? My maternal Grandmother never forgave my Grandfather for dying – it was horrid to see her going through that

  37. What to say? It was the best way in the end… sad and sweet at the same time. Sooo glad they were together.

  38. It ook me a while to piece together your story when I got back from Kimberley (no internet connection at my sister's house) so I only just figured out what happened. I hope you both (and the little one) have chance to relax at your mum's and let her take care of you for a while.

  39. This is so sad but also very true. My Grandpa died when I was 12 years old and 3 weeks later my Grandma also died. She had been a very spritely and well woman but the Docs believe she died of a broken heart as she just gave up and couldn’t bear to be without her love. They had spent their whole lives together. I feel for your Hubby but hopefully he will have some solace in the fact they are still together which is I’m sure what they would have wanted xx

  40. This is so sad but also very true. My Grandpa died when I was 12 years old and 3 weeks later my Grandma also died. She had been a very spritely and well woman but the Docs believe she died of a broken heart as she just gave up and couldn't bear to be without her love. They had spent their whole lives together. I feel for your Hubby but hopefully he will have some solace in the fact they are still together which is I'm sure what they would have wanted xx

  41. This is so sad but also very true. My Grandpa died when I was 12 years old and 3 weeks later my Grandma also died. She had been a very spritely and well woman but the Docs believe she died of a broken heart as she just gave up and couldn't bear to be without her love. They had spent their whole lives together. I feel for your Hubby but hopefully he will have some solace in the fact they are still together which is I'm sure what they would have wanted xx

  42. Many years ago, my mother’s father died of heart failure (as did most of his family, and so did my mother many years later). My mother’s mother died of cancer six months later – but really, I think she died of a broken heart.

    My own mother died 7 years ago, and my father currently suffers from a form of survivor’s guilt because he believes that he “should” also have died quite soon, to show how much he loved her. It is very sad to watch.

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  45. So so sad but strangely lovely at the same time. So glad for them and for your husband that they were together at the end.

    My Great Aunt broke her hip. She could have recovered and got home with support but sat in her hospital bed she told me she’d had enough and she wanted to be with Alec her late husband. The next day she passed away. I really do believe that Broken Heart Syndrome exists.

  46. Oh heck, tears! A beautiful post, really beautiful. This must have been such a hard time for you both.

    I think you’re right, he waited for her to go first so she didn’t have to deal with the pain. What a love story.

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