HELP: My wife is refusing to acknowledge or discuss the fact that my time is limited?
This situation is more common than you think; one person in a couple wishes to discuss the anticipated death and the other person needs to avoid the topic. Sometimes the roles are reversed, it’s the person receiving palliative care that doesn’t wish to discuss their illness and the supportive spouse who feels the need to plan and make decisions for the future. This can also vary on any given day.
The key is to meet your own needs, if not through your partner, engage in a professional who is comfortable discussing death and able to support you in preparing yourself mentally and emotionally. An end-of-life doula can help you: review your life, define your legacy (or remembrance project), plan your final days, and experience your final breath.
An experienced doula and life coach can also support you in exploring your need to have your wife acknowledge your impending death. Some men will busy themselves documenting everything they take care of around the home (e.g., location of water shut-off; furnace filters). This stems from the need to take care of your wife when you’re no longer able to do so. You have a need to know that she will be ok without you. Exploring these feelings, with an expert, to define their source can bring about much peace.
An end-of-life doula is trained to meet families wherever they are in the process. While engaging in deep conversations with you, a doula will meet your wife and offer her some much-needed respite. Your wife will benefit from the doula’s calm and conform with the situation. The doula can support your wife in exploring her attitudes towards your illness which typically stem from her past experiences with death.
There are clear reasons for people’s various comfort level with death. By forming a deep rapport with the dying and loved ones, the doula supports everyone with their emotions and normalizes the process.