My wife of 25 years passed away this year, Jan 14, 2016 in hospital. She went in healthy and happy for a simple gall bladder removal. In the past she had much more complicated surgeries, so we weren't too worried about this one. During surgery, the surgeon accidentally cut part of her small intestine. Without knowing it, he closed and sent her to observation. Instead of getting better, she got worse. 24 hours later, they took her back to surgery and found the problem. They repaired it as best they could, but she went into septic shock. She survived in ICU for 30 hours before she died.

Everything was a complete blur for me. This couldn't happen to my precious Kim. We were retired and things were going so well. Her 64 birthday and our anniversary were
Both less than a month away. It couldn't be real. it was so sudden and unexpected.

Now it's May, and I feel so lost, confused, and so unhappy. Everything reminds me of her. I still can't get through the day without crying and wailing several times. Nothing seems to make me happy. I'm only 62. I don't think I am suicidal, but its hard to imagine living the rest of my life without her. I love and miss her so much. I still talk to her as if she is still around. It's the only way I can get through the day. I've practically turned our whole house into a memorial alter, with her pictures and possessions everywhere. I'm lost.

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And thank you dear Deb! You are awesome! Love to all of our brothers & sisters in grief!

Sending faith, hope, love and hugs to you all!

Todd

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Todd, I feel the same way about you.  Debbie

Thank you my dear brother Chuck! Love you man!

Todd

Everyone is very understanding, having gone or going through the same thing.  Does anyone have trouble sleeping at night?  I don't sleep, until I am so exhausted that my head drops. I sleep 4 to 6 hours on work days, but usually that doesn't happen until the wee hours of the morning, therefore I can't work in the mornings.  I am working only in the afternoon.  Weekends, I can sleep longer but only when there is movement in the house or outside.  I have tried sleep aids (natural and not) but they require 8 hours of sleep, and I don't sleep that long even when taking those.  So then I not only am tired, but I also feel drugged.  I would rather just be tired.  Is anyone else experiencing this, and have you found anything that helps?  I have also tried listening to sleep meditation videos while going to sleep and this does help a little, but I don't stay asleep.

I hope everyone's day today was a little easier than the last.

I mentioned that my friend pulled me from the brink in January.  I wrote her a poem I would like to share:

Darkest Hour


My husband is gone, I am so alone. I feel like giving up.

Knee deep in mire,  losing my footing. Nothing left in my cup.

Give in to the pain, sink farther down. My head will soon be under.

Join him there, leaving this hurt. Whose pain would that be, I wonder?

I can't be the cause, of yet more sorrow. Not when it is wielded like a knife.

Although my future seems bleak, without my love, I cling to what is my life.

Setting my feet, I try to rise. It's much harder than I planned.

Can't do it alone, not strong enough. I desperately throw up my hand.

Without hesitation, I feel your touch there. So strong that it amazes me.

My surprise is complete, when my head clears, that it is you who I do see.

But you don't stop there, so close to the edge. From whence you pull me up.

You stay beside me, as does your family, and put a glimmer back in my cup.

Hello Dear Stacey,

Oh, what a beautiful and truthful poem you have shared with us - thank you for offering it here. I know I will be saving it, and reading it many times, because you describe so elegantly the way I, and everyone here, feel in our grieving. Your friend is a gift to you from God, and your gratitude given to her with your lovely words must be something she greatly treasures. 

What a beautiful gift, to be able to help each other as we do here, and as you have done just now. I too experienced during the first year many many sleepless nights, and the exhaustion I felt was the same as yours - some who visited, even nurses(I was recovering from a severe illness when I lost Larry) thought I was taking my meds incorrectly, or had "something" stashed somewhere - I seemed that out of it.

I personally can't abide the silence - I feel I'm losing my mind listening to nothing but my own breathing, so I have music or TV on always, and when the nights are hard, as they still can occasionally be,  a quiet classical station in the background can help  soothe my nerves and body. Here's my own personal bit of "therapy", both physical and emotional - I dance. Sometimes without warning I feel nervous and panicky, so I crank up the disco music and dance like I was a teenager again - it seems, for me, to drive away the demons, and releases the tension in a way that is not destructive.

I will cop to having thrown the random tantrum and smashed a few things, but after facing the mess I left myself to clean up later, I decided dancing was easier on the dishes - and less humiliating (well, a man my age doing the "Hustle" can be pretty embarrassing at that, but who's to see?)

Anyway, I have faith that you will get through these awful nights, and all I ask is that you do just what you did - come here and reach out...I, and everyone else here, are listening and have your back...you're never alone in this family.

Wishing you, and everyone, a calm and peaceful day today -

Love,

Chuck

It seems that I am definitely not alone in my night owl life!  I can find enough to keep me non-stop busy during the day, and with summer coming on here in Alaska, I will feel like staying busy even later, although those people actually sleeping normal cycles would not appreciate me at all. That is the deal. When it is considerate to get quiet, and I don't have any paperwork to do, or mindless games to play and my exhaustion leaves me vulnerable, my whole situation comes crashing in.  By now, in the 5th month most of us have probably solved what is solvable, are working on the issues we can make "acceptable" (paperwork, financial stuff....etc), so that leaves us to face alone at night those parts of our loss that there is absolutely nothing we can do (no matter how organized we normally are, or how determined) to even make the situation even remotely "tolerable" again.  It is a nightmare while awake. I replay the night he died, wondering what I could have done different that would bring about a different ending. I replay our last words to each other. I experience guilt, for different things like thinking I am too young to be alone forever, or that he got the easy road leaving me in an uphill battle....and all the way back to the tears because I truly love him and my heart aches without him.  One of the ways I try to express how I feel is by saying that I can't remember what is like to be just "me" because I have been an "us" for so long.  I realize that for most of us it was quite some time ago, but maybe we could each try to look back at our younger selves and describe what we see, and if it still pertains to the you of today.  Maybe I will try that tomorrow.  Thank you everyone for your kind words about my poem.  I was a little scared to share it, but now I am glad that I did.  And Debbie, I don't have a doctor. We didn't have insurance, so my husband's hospital bill is one of my "challenges".  May all of you have a pleasant Sunday.

Stacey

Dear Stacey,

I indeed can relate to the long overnight hours when our thoughts turn to doubts, regrets, and guilt. I think that was, and sometimes still is, the thing that makes me feel most helpless and terrible. We all have our personal reasons for feeling guilt about our loved one's loss, and maybe for some of us, those are about  things we wish we could take back, or do over. That can gnaw our insides raw if we allow it to...let us all try to get through those feelings with the awareness that much of our reasoning is compromised by our grief, so we tend to sink our teeth into some thought that our loved one would tell us is not true if they were here. A dear soul here once described the night time wandering and pacing as "the Midnight Tango" - boy, did that say it all!

I empathize with you in your present situation concerning bills and insurance - why, when we are so vulnerable and lost, must we also face agencies and offices who are not concerned with our loss, only their payment? It seems so unfair and cruel, so try to not let them goad you into saying things you may regret - unfortunately I have already done that once, and am in the position of trying to put out a fire I started myself. Please learn from my mistake, and take  the advice of those here who have suggested we simply say "I'll get back to you about that." I wish I had done just that - hindsight is 20/20.

Have a peaceful Sunday my friend, and my thoughts and prayers as always go out to all our family here - you all keep me centered and give me strength, even when I goof-up! No, especially when I goof up!

Love,

Chuck 

Stacey, I can share with you what my doctor advised when we discussed my lack of sleep.  It was pretty much the standard counsel of going to bed at the same time every night, reducing caffeine consumption, and increasing exercise.  She also told me to stop napping.  Melatonin and sleep aids are options too.  Perhaps, if I actually began to follow these instructions, I might find my sleep issues disappear.

I commiserate with all of the thoughts you share in your post. Each of us grieve at a different pace. My husband passed away at @ 3:30 a.m. ten months ago. At some point after finding this group, I quit replaying every possible scenario and came to terms with my feelings of guilt.  I will always miss him, he remains the love of my life, I realize now that various circumstances contributed to his death (including his age and preexisting health issues), and it is what it is.  I can do nothing to change the result, no matter how much I wish that I could do so.

I am sorry to read that you are also dealing with his hospital bills. Do you have anyone available to assist you in negotiating with his providers?  Debbie

Stacey

I did the what could I have done different to change everything game also. Diane was sedated and on a ventilator for two and a half weeks, she was on a ventilator until she died. There wasn't much I could do for her but to be there, I felt so useless and wanted to do something to fix things. I never got to hear her say anything from December 23 to January 29th when she passed. I wished we could have had closer and have her tell me she loved me, when I would tell her I Love You she would always say I love you more. I had to make the decision to turn off the ventilator, I struggled with that. I guess what I tell myself when I have self doubt is  I'm not perfect I did everything I could possibly do and made the best decisions I could nobody can ask more of me than that. Also you have to make and do the right things when you are scared and worried about your spouse. I and probably most people on this site have lashed out in anger, I told Diane I'm glad your all nice and happy in heaven I'm left here in hell. I have struggled with the idea of being single again, I'm old 64 and never was good at being single. I loved your poem it really expressed so much of what I feel too. Don't ever worry about what you post on this site there is no judgment here  just people trying to get through and help other get through the pain and grief we deal with. I hope you find better days in the near future.   

Stacy,

Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem.  Your words resonate with me. There were many moments when my loss was so all-encompassing that I wondered whether or not I would have the strength to continue living life. Like you, my husband helped me to become stronger and move forward.

I haven't slept well since my husband died but my sleeping patterns are improving. I've always had unusual sleep habits.  It is not unusual for me to forego sleep for a long time and focus on what needs to be done. This predisposition led to a lack of substantive sleep for days leading into weeks. I'd sleep when I was exhausted, catch a couple to a few hours, and return to getting stuff done. My pattern remains irregular but I am now able to enjoy blocks of sleep.  Fortunately, I am able to sleep like a rock whenever I visit my daughter. This helps recharge my batteries. 

My doctor suggested melatonin or stronger sleep aides.  I haven't tried them yet. I might consider trying them soon as my lack of sleep results in nap attacks and a general lack of energy.  Have you discussed this with your doctor?  

Debbie

Stacey ...  It is very normal to have problem sleeping or sleeping too much when going through the grief process.  Here is a couple of little tips you might try:  If you choose to still sleep in bed then pack two pillows behind your back and legs as it makes you feel as if your spouse is still there (a comfort) or, I slept on the couch and had the TV turned low and drifted off to sleep very quickly.  Hope this helps.

Hugs

Marsha

Stacey ...  I loved your poem and you are so very talented.  Thanks for sharing.

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