How Can We Help a Dying Spouse?

There are so many ways to help a dying spouse. When my wife, Theresa, was in the hospital, one incident made me realize that little things can make a difference.

One day, a masseuse came to Theresa’s hospital room and offered to give her a massage. She accepted the offer, even though she wasn’t inclined towards massages. She really enjoyed it and felt much better.

The next day the masseuse came in and made the same offer. My wife was not feeling up to it. The masseuse then turned to me and offered me a massage.

I decided to accept the offer. And as the masseuse gave me the massage, I glanced up to see my wife looking at me with tears of gratitude in her eyes.

Wife Knows I Will Care for Myself

She was so grateful that I had accepted the offer, and for how my act of accepting the help indicated that I would take care of myself. And of course, it once again served as a very real reminder of how much she loved me and was worried about how I was going to handle all of this. These kinds of moments were so powerful and will stay with me forever.

I learned to take the time to talk to my wife as much as possible before she passed. We talked about the kids, grandkids, family, her friends, and anything else that I knew was important  to her.

I gave her the opportunity to share her thoughts with me while she could, including steps she wanted me to take after  she passed such as funeral arrangements, disposal of her ashes, returning things she borrowed, distribution of her things, final goodbyes, and so on.

Talk About Everything

This experience taught me that the more you can resolve while she can voice her thoughts, the more you will rest easy after her passing, even if the things she tells you would not be your first choice in terms of importance or what action to take.

© Copyright 2021 Fred Colby All rights reserved

This is an excerpt from Widower to Widower: Surviving the End of Your Most Important Relationship: Colby, Fred: 9781732115910: Books
To read Fred Colby’s article on helping a widower after his loss, click here.
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Fred Colby

Fred Colby has served as a director, board member and consultant for nonprofit organizations in California and Colorado. After his wife, Theresa, died in 2015 Fred shifted his focus to writing and leadership roles to help his fellow widowers heal and re-engage with life. He co-founded the Pathways Hospice Men’s Grief Group and an online grief group. He resides in Ft. Collins, Colorado. For more information go to:

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