Don't grieve alone; 13,500 members and growing
My husband died last month; 26 days ago and it feels like yesterday. He had been steadily been getting sicker the last 2 years. Every doctor said the same thing, his lungs were getting worse. He had microscopic holes which made it so he did not make/retain as much oxygen as his body needed. Which meant his entire body was slowly dying of oxygen deprivation. We tried everything. He was on pure oxygen 24/7 and a host of other machines and medicines. In May he had surgery on his heart, the doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of actually coming out of it but they were not on the hopeful side of 50. But he pulled through. And oh my goodness the change it made. Apparently, the downhill slide he had been on was not only because of his lungs but was because of his heart as well. With his heart fixed it was like a new man came home from the hospital. The man he was before he started to get sick. He was happy and vibrant again. He was able to do things with the family again. The morning he died, just shy of 2 months after his surgery, we were getting ready to go on a picnic to the river. It was going to be a day outing. We were running an hour behind because it had been raining. Once the rain stopped he went to change so we could leave and I was to pack up the food and drinks in the cooler. I received a phone call from a friend who was going with us. I went and relayed the message to my husband and found he couldn't decide what to wear. We talked for a moment and I said I was going to go pack. I walked back out to the kitchen and for some reason felt the need to turn around. I went looking for him again. He was in the bathroom said he was ok and that as soon as he was done he would get changed and we could go. I went back to the kitchen and packed up our stuff. It took me maybe 3-5 minutes since we had gotten everything ready the night before. I noticed he was not out yet and went to find him. I found fully dressed and it looked like he was looking for something under the bed. I said “Honey what in the world are you looking for?” I could not think of anything that would have ended up under there. He did not respond and I knew. I didn't know exactly what I knew but I knew it was horrible. I lifted his head and he was unconscious and his lips were so blue. I got him flat on the floor and checked for a pulse. There wasn't one. I started cpr. Color came back into his lips and face almost immediately and stayed that way as I continued but still no pulse. I called 911. It felt like forever waiting on the paramedics. I remember the exact moment cpr was no longer working. I remember the exact moment he died. I can still feel his breast bone breaking under my weight, I can still hear the rattle of his last breath. It took the paramedics only 5 minutes to arrive, and in that 5 minutes I lived and died a thousand times. I remember so clearly the dull thud of the defibrillator, the questions, the sorrow on their faces even as they worked on him. I remember taking the kids to my mother's and the drive to the hospital. I remember the doctor telling me that even if they got him back that he may be brain dead anyway. And finally, I remember them telling me there was nothing more they could do. It was a blood clot, resulting from the surgery. A blood clot! It still doesn't make sense to me. I mean I know blood clots can happen from surgery but 2 months later? And no way to prevent it? No symptoms? Nothing, just happiness one second and pain and agony the next. No one else knows the extent of this. They all know I found him and called 911 but at the time I couldn't find the words to say it and now I just can't talk to anyone about it. The pity and un-comfortableness they already show is sometimes to much.
We were married 12 and a half wonderful years and have 2 beautiful children; 9 and 10 years old. I don't know what was harder, hearing he was gone or telling our children that he wasn't coming home. I really don't know what to do with myself. We were a team in every sense of the word. My weaknesses were his strengths and mine his. We shared everything. Family was paramount to both of us as we both grew up in broken homes. I can think of only 3 actual arguments that meant anything during our 12 years together. A lot of people don't know what they have until its gone. Not me. I knew what I had while I had it and it makes it that much more unbearable knowing I'll never get it back. I keep thinking of all the things he is going to miss. All the things he was so looking forward to. The plans we made and were making.
I am also having issues with my “support” system which is why I took to the internet eventually finding this website. I looked around for a few days and found people going through the same things I am and needed to reach out. My mom has medical issues and is not equipped to be anyone's support even though she tries. My dad and I do not have a close relationship and he is just very practical. My siblings are all younger than me and just don't seem to grasp my situation. I can tell they feel sorry for me but I also make them uncomfortable. My husband's parents are both dead. His Aunt became like a second mom to him and has been helpful, as well as his cousins, but I don't have a close relationship with them so its hard to reach out. His siblings are the source of anger and more pain.
We moved near his family after he got out of the military. We have been here for 9 years, my mom and siblings moved closer after the first few years of us being here. Anyway, the first couple months were great, I was hopeful to be integrated into his family since mine at the time were states away. But it wasn't long before the first of may issues arose. One by one they turned against us for imagined slights. We were staying with one of his sisters while looking for a house. They had kept our truck for us while we settled things with the military and moved our house hold goods. When we moved in with them they took the key off their key ring and left it on their foyer table so we could use it if and when we needed to. We found a house after 2 months of living with his sister. We took all our stuff and moved in while they were at work, just worked out that way. Just in case we did not make it back before they got home we left a thank you card and $300 to help with bills. We seen them that night, everyone was happy and they tried to give us the money back. But the next week we heard she told everyone else we had just taken off with the truck didn't ask to use it, took all our stuff and left them with nothing. She did not speak to us again unless she absolutely had to. Then after a while his other sister kept calling every week needing money. He gave it; for 6 months every week we were giving her anywhere between $100 and $200. Finally it became a hardship on us and he told her he couldn't help any more. She and the last of his sisters turned against us for it. Blaming us for sister #2's electric being shut off and for sister #3 having to pay for it to be turned back on and that sister #2 now asked #3 for money all the time. Then all 3 brought up things from years and years ago that they apparently had been holding on to. Some of which my husband didn't even know about but they blamed him because he wasn't there to fix it or help or whatever. Um hello he was in the military it wasn't like he could just pick up and leave whenever he wanted to. This is about when his Aunt stepped up and folded us into her family. Which surprise caused his sisters to accuse us of abandoning them for “that side of the family”.
Anyway we had not seen or heard from them for the last 7 years. It hurt my husband and I seen how much he agonized over it sometimes. He would reach out now and again just to get slapped down. But after his surgery they started coming around and wanted to pretend nothing ever happened. I was not ok with this but because I seen how happy it made my husband I held my tongue. Well, now they think I need them around all the time, need their help and their stories about my husband. Their stories are 8-10 years old and older. They did not know who he was anymore and they keep trying to act like they do. Keep trying to tell me what he liked and didn't like, what he would have wanted done. I understand its guilt and their grief that is causing this but it just makes me angry. I am trying to deal with my emotions and my children's grief I don't need to help them with their guilt.
Also everyone's platitudes of he is in a better place and pain free. He wasn't in pain those last 2 months and it should have stayed that way for years, his prognosis was a thousand times better than before. Our last actual conversation was the night before he died. He said his life was perfect and he didn't know what he did to be so blessed and he wished it never ends. They also keep telling me I'm to young to be a widow and not to worry I will find someone else. I really think they have never loved someone like my husband and I loved each other. I knew the moment I met my husband that he was the one and only for me. I know it still, deep in my bones. He was my harbor, my happy place, everything that right and good in my world. Aside from our children. But the love for children is not the same as the love of a spouse. We were supposed to live through years, see our children grow, graduate, start their own lives, start the next chapter in ours and finally grow old together. I don't see myself wanting that with anyone else. The older people in my family say its because of the grief I feel now and that it will pass and I will feel different. That they understand because they too have lost a spouse or two, or three. Does no one understand when I say I KNOW that's not how it will be for me. I feel shattered and broken and know with every fiber of my being I will never be put back together. I will always feel this loss. This gaping hole that has been left in my heart and soul that no one can ever fill.
The future looks bleak and colorless. Our children are the only thing holding me here, making me get up and go through the day, trying not to break down every time he crosses my mind. I am afraid to go to sleep because I wake up thinking, just for a moment, he is there. I see him in our children, in our home. I can't call up happy memories as the day he died keeps blocking everything else out. The sounds, the smells, the faces. If I'm not numb I am drowning in tears wishing for a way to go back. I am thankful I do not have regrets or guilt. I am thankful the children did not find him or that he didn't die while driving us to the river, or while we were at the river. But this never ending ache diminishes those feelings of thankfulness and drags me further into the depths of agony.
So here I am pouring whats left of my heart out to the internet hoping someone out there understands and can relate. Thank you so much for letting me vent and share the worst day of my life.