Would you take care of a dying ex?

Posted by Ria, 08 Jun 11

caring for dying exThey had a very bitter divorce that left her bitter and wounded for more than two decades. “It was very traumatic for me and I was angry for two full decades. But when I came back and saw him, it was hard to stay angry”, said DeMeo, 63. And there she was after 25 years of being divorced…moving back in with him... something she had never deemed possible. Not because the chemistry that they once had came flooding back; but it was because her ex husband had neuro-endocrine cancer that had left him blind and helpless. According to DeMeo, this was “one of the most profound and wisest things” she had ever done.

Apparently, this woman is not the only one. According to reports by health care providers and hospice workers, there is an increasing number of divorced women who are setting aside their bitterness to come help their ailing or dying exes.

The thing is most divorce women do it for a number of varied motivating factors. One woman said she didn’t want to live with the guilt of knowing she could have helped but didn’t. Others do it because they are just selfless. Most of them do it to protect their kids - either because the kids reached out to them for help or because if they don’t step in, the kids will have to do the job. And then of course, there are those who do it simply because no else would.

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These women really need to be applauded because stepping in to be a caregiver to someone you’ve been so bitter about for years isn’t easy. Plus the job itself drains someone – taking him to hospital, doing research about the illness on his behalf, being the shoulder to lean and depend on…

See, these women aren’t obliged to step in. No one expects them to. However, these women somehow felt it was their moral responsibility… being a good role model for their kids on what a spouse should do in such cases.

Can divorced men put the years of drama and heartache to take care of dying ex wives? Would you play caregiver to this person who may have hurt you most?

18 responses to "Would you take care of a dying ex?"

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  1.   Onyx_King says:
    Posted: 02 Aug 11

    I would at least visit my ex...before she dies...if I learned she was dying before she dies. There is no communication between us.

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  2.   onetreehill says:
    Posted: 20 Jun 11

    If I was not in another relationship and I had maintained a healthy relationship with my ex-mate, I would help take care of him if he was dying; specifically if there was no one else to do it. Now if he had cheated on me or treated my awful before he became my ex, I would really have to send up a big prayer and ask for help because forgiveness would not be on my mind and helping him would be a remote thought.

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  3.   bassman1970 says:
    Posted: 19 Jun 11

    after reading this post , its weird my mom and dad have been divorced for over 30 years and resently he was diagnosed with termenal cancer. those to are stilll the best of friends and she has been there 4 him. and i respect and understand that. but as for me and and my ex. even though we do have children. i would have to say that i would be there for our children but as for her , cold hearted as this sounds but i would have to show up after her passing just to make sure that shes dead . and just continue to move on with my life .

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    • SugahRush says:
      Posted: 19 Jun 11

      Bassman, I, for one, really do appreciate your candor. Upclose and personal--it's rare but it's also a treasure so thank you for sharing your heart. It's so easy to preach forgiveness, deferrence but frankly, it's a journey--a very personal journey. I believe that all hurts can be healed but it takes alot longer to recover from open heart surgery than from a splinter in the finger, ya know? Again, its a journey and your schedule is your own. I'm pullin' for peace! Just remember,though, your kids will be WATCHING you...and emulating you. Hope for hope....help for help...hurt for hurt. Here's to healing, Hon.

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      • bassman1970 says:
        Posted: 21 Jun 11

        yes [ onetreehill], not only has hurt me but she has let our children get hurt as well, and 1 day when they get older there going to resent her for all the hurt and pain that she has caused and brought upon them and me [ there dad]. guess thats why ive been single on my end 4 so long.oh well

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    • onetreehill says:
      Posted: 20 Jun 11

      Wow!!! She must have really hurt you. WOW!!!

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  4.   deean says:
    Posted: 19 Jun 11

    Hmmm, the men are very quite. That says alot.

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    • Onyx_King says:
      Posted: 02 Aug 11

      ..."i (you) would have to show up after her passing just to make sure that she's dead"... Wow BassMan! Coldly, honest...Bravo You!

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  5.   deean says:
    Posted: 18 Jun 11

    Thing is he knows it.

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  6.   deean says:
    Posted: 18 Jun 11

    I would take care of my ex. LOL. Don't tell him but, despite everything he put me through,I still have love for him.

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  7.   SugahRush says:
    Posted: 15 Jun 11

    First, WarmHeart, thank you for your acknowledgement. Second, your question is very appropriate and insightful. When one or both decide to part ways love doesn't "just go away".Rather it takes on a different intensity. Like ash after a fire, there will always be memories, remnants of "what was" . We may "hate" the other party and for a chicken dinner and $20 we may want to pay someone to beat their heart-breakin' asses. Lol...but is it REALLY about the our hurts, sadness and painful memories? Life teaches that there will always be only one FIRST. That includes kisses, cars, partners, spouses, etc. All things being equal, there would be no second spouses if we had worked it out with the first one. That said, we still have a bond...or remnants of a bond--especially if there are children involved. I would hope that a second partner recognizes that there was a bond which preceded him/her helped to mold this loved one into the person he/she now loves. When we take on a new relationship, we take on that history. Hopefully, we have worked out our personal peace and know that there is nothing of which we should be jealous, fearful, or suspicious. Care of an ailing spouse shouldn't be the cause for the demise of a family or a couple. The caregiver should be judicious to avoid this at all cost. It's a balancing act, for sure. However, the new partner should appreciate the compassion, character, and strength of his/her partner. We all want confirmation that "we married the right one". We all want one who "has our back". WHAT TEST COULD BE GREATER than that of facing a terminal illness and nursing an ex in need? If children are involved, how can you look them in the eye and say, in effect, "I gave you a parent and I now REFUSE to forgive them for hurting me/us, and I dont give a damn if you lose him/her to disease, pain, and death"...how do ya do that?? All the kids would know is 'THIS PERSON IS A PART OF ME!" We have a debt to our children, partner, ex and ourselves to set a selfless example of supernatural strength, grace, courage and compassion and humanity. Again, even the most mundane, miniscule love requires EXTRAORDINARY effort of ordinary folks. Sugah

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  8. Posted: 15 Jun 11

    If you marry a person surely you loved them at one point in your life, sometimes we part for different reasons. Deep inside of us we may hold a grudge, but I know if my ex spouse needed me to care for him I would not hesitate. If you have a heart you have to show compassion that's the right thing to do, as a female growing up we're taught be good little nurses and moms with our dolls and you never forget.

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  9.   WarmHeart11 says:
    Posted: 14 Jun 11

    I so much agree with what @SugahRush wrote. I think however these instances is where the other party had not move on(assuming). Just a question, do you all think that if even after a bitter and horrific marriage. The wife moves on and finds solace with someone else. Is it fair now to her new partner an family to go back and dedicate so much time and effort while leaving her family undone? Just curious as to the responses i may get

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  10.   lealust says:
    Posted: 12 Jun 11

    wow

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  11.   SugahRush says:
    Posted: 09 Jun 11

    Oh, and...unequivocally YES! I'd drop everything 'droppable' to care fo my Ex in a time of need. I believe that "LOVE requires EXTRAORDINARY effort from ORDINARY people." Therefore, if he, a partner in writing my history, needed my strength, then I am strong enough to give that. After all, if he couldn't deplete it in 25 yrs of "health and hell", he'd be no threat now. ;-)

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  12.   SugahRush says:
    Posted: 08 Jun 11

    Several months ago I met my love here and shortly afterward he was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer. His cancer ravaged him aggressively and quickly and soon it was a hazard for him to be alone. I urged him to make peace within himself and her and to move into her home. It was hard but they made it work. Though their children were adults, they pitched in and provided round the clock care for him. My Jimmy & I still spoke daily until the cancer all but silenced him. Plans fell through several times as the cancer progressed but finally we did meet--at her home. After a few hours of "egg shell walking and avoidance", I finally introduced myself to her and explained that I'd come to work not to "date"! To the surprise of their sons & daughter in law, she not only relaxed but invited me to stay there. I was with Jimmy around the clock for several days. It was exhausting and I could only imagine what she'd experienced for 2 months. While happy to bless him, I was honored to be able to give needed relief to the family. She was grateful to have uninterrupted sleep for a day or 2,then to have coverage when a caregiver failed to show up on a work day! She and I had intimate conversations about their marriage, break up and the current state of affairs. She shared resentments and sadness. She seemed grateful to JUST VENT!!! We talked as though we were BFF's . His Ex also asked lots of questions of "Our Story". Jimmy and I spent his last birthday together and my last day there, his hospice room came available. The family honored me with the job of telling him. He & I almost left together. He passed a few days later. He saved his last conversation and last smile for me--his "Hurricane" as he referred to me to his loved ones. Nothing was more poignant, though, than the care given to him by her. Jimmy's ex wife rose to the occasion and proved that Hope and Healing are much,much greater than Hate and Hurts.

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    • deean says:
      Posted: 18 Jun 11

      BRAVO!!! SugahRush. Your Jimmy and his extended family was very fortunate you happened into their life, you are a beautiful human being. Any guy would be so honor to have you in his life. This is what I am talking about when certain people try to disparge AA women. Tyler Perry should make your and Jimmy's story a movie. I have known of many AA women who give unselfishly. My ex and I are going through a similar situation, he is a kidney dialysis patient. He is still well enough to take care of himself. Praise God.

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      • SugahRush says:
        Posted: 19 Jun 11

        Thank you so much Deean! I miss my Jimmy terribly but life is for the living...eternal life is for the Loving. You're right that Tyler would do us all a huge favor if he'd steer a little to the left of the typecasting of Black talent and stereotyping of African American family's, folk, food and such! Seems like there's a new day everywhere EXCEPT in "what passes".... God's deepest blessings to you and your ex. It's never easy. but then "the work doesn't have to be easy, the work has to get done!" Be the Blessing you're called to be, Lady!!

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