Coping With Cancer: The Long Goodbye

November 2, 2009

Papa’s body has slowly been shutting down over the past 24 hours. We’re all here, each spending time sitting with him, holding his hands, kissing his cheeks and telling him how much we love him and appreciate all he’s done for us. By the tears that keep coming I think it’s obvious that each of our hearts are breaking over temporarily losing our Papa.

I’m writing to you this morning in place of my mom because she’s sitting at Papa’s side. For the past 24 hours she’s held her position there letting him know right where she is by talking to him, reciting verses, singing hymns, showering him with kisses and holding his hand.

The nurse who’s been here all night said that in her 19 years of working in hospice care, she’s never seen a patient in the end stages of pancreatic cancer hold on this long, or seem as peaceful as he does. We’ve all been praying for a peaceful passing, knowing that where he’s about to go will blow this entire world out of the water. I think God’s answering those prayers.

My mom plans on giving a detailed update later. As of now, Papa’s still holding on with a faint heartbeat and shallow breaths, and she’s still by his side.

With love,


Louisa is the daughter of guest contributor Margaret Nyman, who is chronicling the 42 days after her husband Nate, a patient at Rush University Medical Center, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Read more posts by visiting the Coping With Cancer section or subscribing to the RSS feed. Her personal blog is at

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