Gift Ideas for My Ailing Ex-Husband

My ex-husband has been diagnosed with lymphoid brain cancer. He fell ill October 2nd this year and we have been told that he has 6 to 12 months to live. He will have to go to assisted living and will never return to his home. Could anyone please help with ideas on Christmas gifts for him? He is only 57, and when he was well, he loved gardening, reading, watching TV and walking. Now he cannot read at all, as he has very little memory and finds it very difficult to concentrate.

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Our younger daughter has started giving him "lessons" by making him repeat the days of the week, the months of the year and our children's names. She has also started him on reading children's books. We would like to make the most of the little time he still has to make him comfortable and happy and create happy memories for the children. The children are 28, 27 and 21.

Initially, he said that he does not want to see me. However, he has now told the children that he wants to talk to me to make arrangements so that I can take the cats to see him, as he is missing them so much. I plan to make arrangements for him to visit my home to see the cats, as they will probably run for dear life if I take them to the care facility.

Thank you! Kind regards

Willem from South Africa

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October 30, 20060 found this helpful

Ask him and he will probably tell you that the greatest gift you can give him will also be gifting yourself.... TIME... spend all the time that you can with him.

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October 30, 20060 found this helpful

Also find out what he likes to read or interests and read to him. Be sure to contact his minister if not already. Looking through photo albums, listening to old music.

Bless you for thinking of him

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October 31, 20060 found this helpful

Since he has little need for material items at this time in his life, perhaps writing him a letter and making amends (if amends are needed) and then reminiscing about all the good times you had with him and the kids. Let him know how meaningful he was in his kids lives and yours as well. Maybe you could include a small photo album to go along with the letter with pictures of special times.

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October 31, 20060 found this helpful

How about an MP3 player so he can listen to music or books on tape? He can listen to them while he takes walks, too.

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October 31, 20060 found this helpful

perhaps some music source- a radio or cd player w/ some cd's

some people like to reminisce. so photo albums of family might be nice. if you or children can spend time w/ him, you can label the photos together w/ names, dates, places

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October 31, 20060 found this helpful

Dear Willem,

Bless you for your caring heart How about spending time doing gentle foot or body massages, pedicures facials, anything that incorporates touch.

Hugs to you Kelly

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November 1, 20060 found this helpful

Have a memory quilt. With family photos printed on fabric and put together for a quilt. God bless him and your family. Doreen from Indiana

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November 1, 20060 found this helpful

If he's living in assisted care, Willem (in addition to the other great suggestions already provided), I can't imagine the food is wonderful. Is it permitted to bring food to him? His favourite meals? Treats he can snack on, things you or your children might bake for him?

I love your generosity of spirit.

Cheers,

Rose Anne

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November 1, 20060 found this helpful

I work in a Skilled Nursing facility and I work with dying residents as well. If he misses the cats so much - I would give him a gift "coupon" that "gurantees" your and your daughters' support re. comfort and care until his last days. FOr example, reasure him that you will make it possible whenever to let him see the cats (or bring one to the facility to visit in a carrier) and other wishes.

Keep a close eye on him in his last weeks/days. Some residents are too fatigued to turn in bed or to eat by themselves while the few busy staff is trying to help everyone. Invest into seeing him whenever you can in the facility. The worst would be to lay very sick in bed and nobody responds to your call button.

I am sorry that this is happening to your ex-husband.

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November 1, 20060 found this helpful

Thank you! for all the great suggestions. Unfortunately, I have to report that the minister was of little help. He visited once, then said that he thought it not worthwhile to visit HJ as the latter was so confused and disorientated at the time---

I do believe that no matter how confused a person may be, the Word of God and prayer is stronger than any confusion and WILL get through to him.

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November 6, 20060 found this helpful

CD player with radio with different kinds of music he liked. Wide range that includes soft and holiday, keeps the headaches down.

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November 6, 20060 found this helpful

There must be some sort of chaplain associated with the assisted living home - &/or someone who deals with the terminally ill - they could be of great comfort to you & your husband. Shame on the minister!

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November 7, 20060 found this helpful

How about a video mix, of your family's old videos and pictures of when your husband was better, this will help all of you to remember who he was and how important he is to all of you. Also an article of clothing from each of you in the family, say a sweater or towel, that will have your scent and that have a texture. as this can become a source of great comfort for him. Best of luck

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November 8, 20060 found this helpful

Dear Willem,

My heart goes out to you and your family. I lost my father a few years back. When I read this I just felt your desperation to make his life a little easier and more comfortable. All of the suggestions above are wonderful. The best you can all do is be there for him and grant his every wish if possible. Postive energy and reminiscing over the times you have all shared together will help him to stay in good spirits. Best of Luck with everything! Carrie - New Jersey

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November 14, 20060 found this helpful

You are a wonderful person to assist him in his journey home. Perhaps cards and pictures, small snack jar plastic filled with favortie sweet treat if his diet permits, socks with rubber tread on bottom, Dvd's of favorite movies, time...love...and care. I am sure friends and family will help with prayer and offer you comfort ask for their help. Lisa

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November 16, 20060 found this helpful

Two years ago our Dad became a victim of Alzhemiers. He is older than your husband{ex} but has memory and sight problems.

My two sisters and myself got together and penned all our favorite times with dad from our earlest memories to present. Each of us had our own section with a few pictures included. Once done I printed it in very large print, put the booklet into a binder and we gave it to Dad. He keeps it close, sometimes remembering, sometimes not but either way enjoys the funny and happy "stories" that he reads. It was a great experince for us girls..to take a walk back in time and something Dad can enjoy every day with no strings attached. Best of luck to all and may the end bring you and yours some peace in knowing the pain and struggle is over for some one you care about....my husband is also fighting cancer....and our children all grown have started their own "booklet" for their dad. It will help them as well....later when it is needed. Good luck

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November 28, 20060 found this helpful

When my sister was passing away at Christmas time and it was also her Birthday...we had a Birthday CARD (just cards...cute ones) for her for Christmas

AND her birthday. I gave her an OVER the top

Birthday party at the hospital and invited ALL of her friends and family to bring a CARD to the "Birthday

card/Christmas "card" party! We really did have a good time and we had mechanical ANIMAL (animals that are battery operated) RACES for little 'gifts'. Anyone of the guests who participated in the mechanical ANIMAL races got a prize.! WE PUT a LIGHT weight piece of Foam core on the hospital

bed frame....she could look on to the races and see the racers RIGHT at her Bedside! We had ice cream and balloons and popcorn and it was DELIGHTful in

an awful situation. A CARD party is affordable to all the guests and they brought FUNNY cards and read them to her themselves! It was love! Made a really BAD situation for everyone bearable and maybe some fun! A good memory! Try it!

sincerely, pinkavoo

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November 28, 20060 found this helpful

When I was bedridden, I really enjoyed books on tape....well now CD's are the thing.( Head sets are best) But I found myself laughing through the pain at "News from Lake Wobegone" and "More News from Lake Wobegone". "Tomato Butt had me laughing out loud as well as the "Ant" story. Many more funny things. Laughter is the best medicine... Hugs & Prayers for all of you. GG Vi

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October 29, 20090 found this helpful

Herman died on Thursday, 9 July 2009 in a Hospice of Brain Cancer. Before he died, we made peace and he also made peace with God.

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