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Lost My Boyfriend to Cancer


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Hello All. I just found this forum while googling on how to cope with loss. I just lost my boyfriend, Ben, on July 4th. He was just 26 years old, battled with rare and aggressive cancer for 6 months when he finally departed in the ICU with me standing beside him. He was unconscious for the whole day, when the vital signs are deteriorating, I was beside him praying and told him to come back. Suddenly he opened his eyes, despite being unconscious for the whole day, and looked at me, I could see a teardrop on his eyes. He didn't say any word, but I instantly felt he was saying "Don't worry, I'll be okay" as I heard it in my head (He was using ventilator so he couldn't talk nor say any word). Just a few minutes after that, he passed away. The nurses were immediately performing CPR but they couldn't save him. I swear I was feeling very calm after he looked at me and after realizing he's gone, I don't understand how I could stay that calm that time. 

I thought I would be okay. But days are passing by, some days I could feel happy and everything's just okay, but the other days I just curl in my bed, don't want to do anything but crying and missing him. The fact that he's gone for real is really really depressing and saddening. There are so many plans that we made together. A month ago, we just got our tourist visa to USA, we were planning to go to Boston because he went to a college there, he wanted to show me around as I had never been to USA. On the visa interview, he said to the guy, that he was going to propose to me when we're there. 

I just don't know how I could move on with my life. Although the death is not unexpected, we were still hopeful that somehow he'd get healed, but it didn't happen. Friends and family are comforting me, telling me that I'm still young, I'd move on easily. But how? By far, he was the best man I've ever known. The most loving boyfriend I ever had. He had always loved his life, even when the cancer was eating away his body, he had always been so positive and grateful for everything. I miss him so much. 



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I'm so sorry...the phrase I've come to hate the worst is when people tell us to move on.  You don't move on from this, not ever.  It becomes a part of you.  We do, however, learn to continue with our lives.  It takes time to learn to do that...as one person puts it, "one foot in front of the other".  The single most helpful thing I've learned is to take one day at a time.  In the beginning, when my husband died, I didn't see how I could do the whole rest of my life without him, I had a good forty years to go yet.  To think about the rest of my life is too much, overwhelming, and invites anxiety, something I don't need more of.  I've learned to take one day at a time, sometimes having to break it down to an hour or minute, whatever I feel I can handle.  Then I get up and do it all over again the next day.

It's been 13 years now, I wrote this article on what I've learned that has helped me over the years, I hope something in it will help you.  I'd have to say the second most important thing I've learned is to look for good, to acknowledge and embrace it, it changed my life.  I started on day 11 so I know it can be done, I've done it.  I've learned not to compare with what was, that sets us up for defeat.  Take the good that is, today, no matter how small, it's never insignificant.


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.


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