Monday 19 August 2019

"Nobody will come close to loving me the way he did": Woman fulfils 'bucket list' for dying husband's final days

Stock photo
Stock photo
Bride and groom showing their silver wedding rings, no face
a married couple running on a meadow holding hands, no face

Clare Cullen

Redditors from around the world helped the woman build the list of things to do with her husband before he died after he was given less than a month to live.

Reddit user Anukriti Mehta posted on the site, asking for suggestions on how to "live, not survive" her husband's final days on earth.

Mehta's husband Theo (name changed by request) was her childhood sweetheart, the love of her life.

At 28, Theo's cancer spread to multiple organs and he was given less than a month to live. Mehta, (26), recently updated the community to reveal that Theo did, in fact, pass away recently, but that the list compiled of suggestions from fellow redditors helped them both.

"In the end, we may not have been completely without regrets, but we managed to make our list of ‘I wish I hads’ a lot shorter".

Mehta's final 'to-do' list with her love was as follows.


1. Taking photos

While Mehta describes herself as formerly "anti-pictures", during her husband's final months she took "lots" of pictures. She snapped Theo in the most ordinary of activities to remember him as best she could. "Since I couldn't freeze time, this was the closest I could manage".

"I have loads of data of him doing his daily chores to just snoring away next to me. And I still don't think it's enough".


2. Taking video

Theo recorded a number of videos before his death, cataloguing video messages for his wife on her milestone birthdays. She revealed that she encountered her first birthday since his death and watching the video "was the only thing that made me feel alive".


3. Getting organised

Mehta explained that she was always the "dreamer with no sense of practicality" in the relationship. Theo made sure she would be organised after he left her, by organising all the financial information, sorting wills and showing her how to log into his bank accounts. He even wrote her a detailed instruction guide on how to access their insurance money once it came through.

4. Discussed the tough issues

The couple had the talk - what if Mehta found love again? She told Reddit publication that this conversation was "one of the hardest things we did".

"But I needed to be realistic rather than make emotional claims and deal with guilt later in life".

Theo supported Mehta in being happy - even if it was without him. He even wrote a letter to her "next spouse" to let him know all the "things he felt were wonderful and important to know".

"I finally managed to read the letter and I’m more confident than ever that nobody will come close to understanding and loving me the way he did".


4. Scrapbooking

Photos, screenshots and conversation transcripts, interspersed with lists collating the best and worst moments of their relationship now make up the ultimate scrapbook of their time together.


5. Cooking

"I cooked his favorite meals for him. He was my happy helper. He'd wash the tomatoes and I'd make the lasagna. He called me the food conjurer".


6. Spending time together

Mehta took an 'indefinite' amount of time off work so that she could spend every last minute with her husband. They had a romantic picnic on the balcony with some whiskey and some music, gazing at the stars.

"I spent every waking moment in his arms and sleeping moment in his tightly wrapped arms".


7. Celebrating

The couple celebrated all of the holidays Theo would miss. "Christmas, Diwali (an Indian festival), Halloween, and Valentine’s Day all came early this year".


8. Preparing

"I made him wear his favorite shirts for several days so that they’ll smell like him for some time. They say smell is the most powerful of all senses".


9. Throwing a 'Last Life Party'

Mehta threw a party for Theo and invited all of his friends and family. "Nobody was allowed to cry. I told them I was spending a lot on the funeral and he was stealing my thunder by being a tear-hogger".

"It was emotional, no doubt, and almost felt unbearable at times, but it let us be free of regrets - everyone got a chance to tell him how loved he was and always will be".

Mehta explained to Upvoted that following the party, "the reality sunk in that the end of his life was near".

"I could see the fear in his eyes... we held each other and cried".


10. Getting angry

Mehta said that the last month wasn't always calm. Theo and his wife "got angry together" over the hand life had dealt him.

"Nothing makes it easier. The only solace is that nothing makes it harder, either".


11. Naming a star.

"I know this is slightly silly but now I can look at him whenever I want".


Mehta added that she told Theo she loved him "constantly" during his final weeks.

"I’m one of the luckiest girls because he said it back every time".

"I feel like I've lived a lifetime in the last month. The quote about living each day like your last got realized. I made a lot of memories I'll never forget.".

"My husband and I didn't have it perfect, we had our rough patches and forgave each other for mistakes if the other truly showed repentance for them. I'm so glad I was wise enough to look past his tiny flaws and fill my life with moments of the absolutely wonderful loving man he is (was)".

She wrote that comments from the community saying that her story inspired them to say 'I love you' or give their significant other a hug "made me happier than anything else".

"That our story could inspire some bond somewhere to get stronger was the greatest compliment".

"Living your life like each day is your last is impractical. But living your relationship like each day is your last is the easiest and most comforting thing in the world. Hug them, hold them, tell them you love them".

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