“Terrified of Living Without Him” Mum Dies of Broken Heart Days Before Husband’s Cancer Death

 “Terrified of Living Without Him” Mum Dies of Broken Heart Days Before Husband’s Cancer Death

Credit: Kennedy Newsand Media

A mum who was “terrified” of living without her terminally ill husband died of a “broken heart” just three days before he passed away from cancer. Sharon and Wayne Dann had been married for almost 10 years and referred to each other as their “soul mate”.

In October 2023, Wayne, who had previously undergone radiotherapy for cancer in his groin, discovered it had spread to his lungs and required surgery. Doctors, sadly, couldn’t remove it, and in February, the 57-year-old was diagnosed with sarcoma—a rare type of tumor that develops in bone and connective tissue.

The landscape gardener was due to start chemotherapy, but in March, Wayne’s condition deteriorated and he was rushed to the hospital. Sharon, 54, refused to leave his bedside for six days.

Her daughter Ellie Steward said her mum struggled to eat or sleep as she was so scared of living in a world without her husband. The 29-year-old described their relationship as one based on mutual adoration and lots of laughter as they were simply “each other’s person”.

Just three days before Wayne died, Ellie received a life-changing phone call from her mum, who was struggling to breathe. She rushed to Warwick Hospital, where she was told Sharon had suffered a heart attack caused by broken heart syndrome—also known as stress cardiomyopathy or takotsubo syndrome. The rare condition occurs when a person experiences sudden severe stress that can rapidly weaken the heart muscle and be life-threatening, told The Sun.

Sharon was placed into a medically induced coma but sadly passed away on April 4. Wayne died three days later on April 7. Ellie, from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, said, “My mum had a really hard time. She was really stressed and worried about it all. I tried to be there for her as much as I could as I didn’t want her to be on her own.”

“When Wayne was rushed to hospital, we were told he wasn’t going to make it to have the chemotherapy. The hospital rang us the next day and said, ‘We think he’s going to die today.'”

Wayne pulled through, but the emotional toll became too much for Sharon. “The extent of the heartbreak for my mum was huge,” Ellie said. “She was non-stop in the hospital room with him; she only went home twice to change her clothes. She wasn’t eating, she wasn’t sleeping, and I kept trying to get her out of the room.”

On Easter Sunday, Sharon phoned her daughter to say she was struggling to breathe. She was taken to the hospital, where Ellie raced to join her “as quickly as she could”. “The nurses told me that my mum had had a heart attack,” she said. “I got there and they put her in a coma. Then she died. The doctor said that it was a form of broken heart syndrome.”

Devastated, Ellie described her mum as an incredibly loving and caring woman. Her stepdad was a wonderfully funny man who always knew how to make others smile. The retail worker hopes that sharing her story, it will encourage others who are grieving to look after themselves more.

Ellie, who got a tattoo in memory of her mum, said, “They were soul mates, that’s how they described each other. They’d finish each other’s sentences; they were each other’s person. My mum was a carer, so by nature, she was really caring and loving. My stepdad was really funny; he had a great sense of humor. Right until the last day I saw him, he was making me and my mum laugh.”

She added, “Quite a lot of older people die from broken heart syndrome, so I think it’s quite rare for someone of her age and something the doctors don’t really see. I wasn’t surprised when they said that’s what they believed had happened, as I knew how much my mum was scared of being lonely. Since it happened, it just gets worse and worse if I’m honest. I’m on a waiting list for some counseling.”

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