“Needed more support as a relative”
Name: Lillemor Kenne
What: Relative, whose husband died from lung cancer.
“When my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2016, everything came crashing down. I felt alone and vulnerable, but still tried to be strong and inspire hope for my husband and children. Our friends said they were there for us, but they did not really know how they should behave. It was like we were living in a bubble and became pretty isolated in the family.
I would have liked to have been offered support for relatives from the beginning of my husband’s illness. An information sheet from the hospital on where to turn would have been enough. Now I had to search online on my own and that’s how I found the lung cancer association, which became an important support.
I had just finished a course when the cancer treatment began and decided to take time off to spend time with my husband. First, he responded well to chemotherapy and radiation and felt completely OK during the spring. At the beginning of the summer, he did carpentry work on a terrace. But in July, he began to feel bad again then it went downhill and he passed away in September.
My doctor said that I could be on sick leave for three weeks after his death, but that wasn’t enough for me. Grieving is an incredibly taxing and tough job and must be allowed to take time. Everything happened so quickly. I can still think that he will be back soon.
For me, it also became tough financially so I sold our place in the country and moved to a different place at home. I am seeing a psychologist and talk about what has happened and take rehab to have the strength to get back to working life again.”
Told to: Maja Lundbäck, first published in Swedish in Medicinsk Vetenskap No 1/2018.
Severe grief can lead to poor health
Deep grief has both mental and physical health consequences for the sufferer that can take decades to heal. People can even die of grief. It is therefore important to try to alleviate the effects of severe grief, something that we in Sweden aren’t particularly good at.