My husband of 20 years died suddenly on December 18, 2009. He had spent the last 18 months getting back into shape and was really beginning to enjoy life and looking forward to do more things now that he was healthy. Three years ago he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and went into a severe depression. He was already overweight and drank too much when he had the surgery.

The surgery was awful. He reacted terribly to the anesthesia and had to be hospitalized for over a week to deal with complications. Recovery was slow and slowed even more when he got two staph infections. Finally he recovered and we tried to resume our life.

He didn't have the same spark and joyous nature he'd had when I met and fell in love with him. He wasn't happy and felt he would die.

He's a wonderful athlete and was a scratch golfer in his healthy life. He was brilliant and had a very successful career often having the opportunity to golf at exclusive courses. One of his happiest experiences was being at the Master's when Nicklaus won the Masters in 1986.

Last September we were notified that we had been selected to buy tickets to the Wednesday practice round at the Master's. We were so excited. We still played a lot of golf but he wasn't enjoying it as much since his weight and health had deteriorated.

That was the ticket to better health for him. He'd had the opportunity to be a the Master's twice before and knew that if he didn't lose weight he would not enjoy the great opportunity that we had.

That started his journey to better health. He ate healthy, started walking and cut out hard liquor. He was still drinking wine at the time of his death, but otherwise was doing great.

He had a hernia operation this past September and recovered very quickly. (the hernia was caused by complications from the Prostate surgery).

We joined a Gold's Gym and went every day. He walked on the treadmill about 30 minutes and biked an hour. Then he lifted weights. He was unbelievably strong.

We spent the winter in North Carolina and are fortunate to have Fitness Center here. Our center opens at 6 am. Duane (my husband) would leave our house at between 4:45 and 5am and go to the Fitness Center. He would walk outside for until just after 5:30 and then would wait in his car for the attendant to open.

Friday, December 18 was cold and windy. I was asleep when he left. Friends who also get to the Fitness Center early and wait in their cars saw him walking. Then (I guess he got cold, but I'll never know) he went to his car, cranked the engine and was reading.

I usually don't get to the Fitness Center until 5:55. This morning was different, perhaps because I missed saying good bye to him when he left the house. I got there at 5:35, planning to walk with him or sit with him and wait. I parked next to him and looked into his car. His reading light was on, he was holding his book, but his head was down. I thought he had just dozed off.

I tried to wake him up. He's a big "kidder" (really still a little boy, even at 71). I was waiting for him to start laughing, we've done this before. But not this time. We called 911. The emergency people were here in minutes. We tried the defillibrator, but couldn't bring him back.

It's been 5 days. He wanted to be cremated. We did that on Monday. His daughter came to visit and see him one last time. We had a good visit. Now she's gone back home and I'm alone. I don't have children of my own. My Mom is alive but in New York. My sister is in Florida. I'm trying my best to cope. Just writing this has made me feel a little better. At least I'm not crying.

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Replies to This Discussion

Dottie, I am so sorry for your loss. What a shock! My husband, David, had also started getting healthier before he died. He quit smoking and started losing weight and following all his doctor's orders. It had been 10 years since he had a heart attack, and I expected he would live another 10 or 20 years, but he died suddenly at 54 years of age, just before our 27th anniversary. That was September, and it's still hard to come to grips with the reality and finality of his death. My advice to you is to get rest, drink water, and eat nourishing food. Pain really is easier to bear when we have rest and nourishment, and crying dehydrates us. Crying can be cleansing and healing, but we need to drink more water so we don't feel worse physically. If it's difficult to fix and eat food for yourself (it was for me) get yourself some liquid meal shakes that give you the nourishment of a meal without having to chew. Cups of soup, juices with fruit and vegetables, cups of applesauce or pudding, anything easy to eat or drink that has nutrition. Even when we don't feel like taking care of ourselves, we need to. I also found that writing here makes me feel a little better, too.
The good news is, we made it through the first holiday season, and I understand it will become easier in time. That is what others have said, and I pray they are right. God bless you, Carole, and God bless us all.
Wendela
Wendela said:
Dottie, I am so sorry for your loss. What a shock! My husband, David, had also started getting healthier before he died. He quit smoking and started losing weight and following all his doctor's orders. It had been 10 years since he had a heart attack, and I expected he would live another 10 or 20 years, but he died suddenly at 54 years of age, just before our 27th anniversary. That was September, and it's still hard to come to grips with the reality and finality of his death. My advice to you is to get rest, drink water, and eat nourishing food. Pain really is easier to bear when we have rest and nourishment, and crying dehydrates us. Crying can be cleansing and healing, but we need to drink more water so we don't feel worse physically. If it's difficult to fix and eat food for yourself (it was for me) get yourself some liquid meal shakes that give you the nourishment of a meal without having to chew. Cups of soup, juices with fruit and vegetables, cups of applesauce or pudding, anything easy to eat or drink that has nutrition. Even when we don't feel like taking care of ourselves, we need to. I also found that writing here makes me feel a little better, too.
The good news is, we made it through the first holiday season, and I understand it will become easier in time. That is what others have said, and I pray they are right. God bless you, Carole, and God bless us all.
Wendela
Dottie said:
Wendela said:
Dottie, I am so sorry for your loss. What a shock! My husband, David, had also started getting healthier before he died. He quit smoking and started losing weight and following all his doctor's orders. It had been 10 years since he had a heart attack, and I expected he would live another 10 or 20 years, but he died suddenly at 54 years of age, just before our 27th anniversary. That was September, and it's still hard to come to grips with the reality and finality of his death. My advice to you is to get rest, drink water, and eat nourishing food. Pain really is easier to bear when we have rest and nourishment, and crying dehydrates us. Crying can be cleansing and healing, but we need to drink more water so we don't feel worse physically. If it's difficult to fix and eat food for yourself (it was for me) get yourself some liquid meal shakes that give you the nourishment of a meal without having to chew. Cups of soup, juices with fruit and vegetables, cups of applesauce or pudding, anything easy to eat or drink that has nutrition. Even when we don't feel like taking care of ourselves, we need to. I also found that writing here makes me feel a little better, too.
The good news is, we made it through the first holiday season, and I understand it will become easier in time. That is what others have said, and I pray they are right. God bless you, Carole, and God bless us all.
Wendela
Wendela - thanks for your kind words. I'm really not sure how to use this site, so if I mess up, my apologies. It's been just over 2 weeks since he passed and I'm started to accept the loss. Hearing that others recover from these losses is encouraging. I'm finding that exercise helps tremendously. Also music, my husband had bought me at IPod for Christmas and I've started putting his favorite albums on it. Every time I put on the IPod I feel him encouraging me.

Thanks for helping me. Is there anything I can do to help you.

Dottie
It is very hard coping,my husband passed away on December 28,2009. I cry all the time, i feel so empty, we were married 42 years, we were inseparatable. He's gone now, it,s hard. I have family, but they have their live and I don't want to be a nusiance to them.My husband gave cancer a valiant fight but lost it after 15 months. Everybody says it'll get better, how do they know, everyone is different.
Paulette,
I am so sorry for your loss. Let me tell you that the only way your family can help is if you let them by leaning on them. Believe it or not, they need you as much as you need them right now. You are not a nuisance, but you have to let them know that you are in need. Most people are not able to guess and in our situation they fear guessing wrong. Always communicate, that way you will have the help you need when you need it.

Paulette said:
It is very hard coping,my husband passed away on December 28,2009. I cry all the time, i feel so empty, we were married 42 years, we were inseparatable. He's gone now, it,s hard. I have family, but they have their live and I don't want to be a nusiance to them.My husband gave cancer a valiant fight but lost it after 15 months. Everybody says it'll get better, how do they know, everyone is different.
Dottie,
I lost my husband on October 20, 2009 after only 3 months of batteling cancer....We were together for 40 years...He gave up smoking 5 1/2 years but it didn't make an difference...Lung cancer robbed him of his life....I feel for you in so many ways...It isn't getting any easier for me and it's been almost 3 months...I still miss him and cry all the time...I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers...Here is a poem...I think you might like....
Every tear is a prism through which I see,
A rainbow of emotions and memories,
Though fate has lead you to another place,
True moments hold meaning time can never erase....
Denise
Denise -
Thanks for the poem. I'm sorry to hear that things aren't getting easier. But if you have the compassion to reach out to another person in distress I think you are getting better. I'm telling myself that God (or whoever you believe in) wants those of us left behind to live a happy life, just different from what we had. I miss so much my husband's love and support. I miss telling him things that happened, asking his opinions, enjoying little things together. Every good thing that happens reminds me of him, and then I'm sad that I can't share it with him. So many people are reaching out, but I'm certain this will end as others deal with their own issues. But remembering those kindnesses will make me want to do the same for someone else. By thinking of others, we help the other person and ourself.

I've only been dealing with this loss for 2 1/2 weeks, but I'm finding that exercise and music are helpful. I know I need to make more connections with people. I'm not sure if you and your husband did everything together (we did); now I need work at building a network of friends. I've always known that we were missing something by being everything to each other. I'm paying the price now, and hope I have the strength to build these friendships and begin building a different, but rich life. I don't like self pity. I certainly don't want to spread my sadness to others. So I try to be upbeat when I'm with other people. I'm allowing myself 15 minutes each night to cry as much as I want. That's my "pity fest". And in a way I think it is self pity. I feel sorry for my husband that he is not able to enjoy the joys of living, but I don't think he would want me to spend my days crying and wishing for what might have been.
Dottie:

So many parallels to my loss of Bonnie, Decmeber 17th, 2003. Like you and Duane, we had been married 20 years. While Duane's death was a sudden shock, we had the blessing (yes, really) of knowing that Bonnie was dying for the last 2 1/2 months of her life.

I know that life is turned all upside down for you now, but please believe that there is a path through this for you. And it's your unique path and yours alone to find. It may be useful for you to be with others who are on similar paths, and grief groups are the easiest place to find them. Your local hospice organization or the social workers at your hospital canprobably point you to one.

I described my path in my book, Loving Grief, and many people have found comfort in it.

A woman who lost her husband in September wrote this to me the other day"

I know that I am not done grieving my husband and that I still will have times when I wail and cry and moan and play sad songs and look at pictures and hurt. But, I also know that my focus will not only be on wanting the thing I can no longer have... and for that, I think Loving Grief played a significant role.

I wish you all the best on the path you are following now. It's not one you would have chosen, but I believe it is a sacred path.

Paul Bennett

I also lost my husband Dan suddenly about 2 1/2 weeks ago, on January 19. We had been together for 17 years, and I feel like half of my soul is missing. I never dreamed I'd be a widow this young (I turned 39 a week after my husband's death), and I'm having a hard time dealing with all of the things that we were supposed to do, that we were going to do, that we wanted to do as we grew old together.

I know I can't just curl up in the house with the dogs and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist (no matter how appealing that sounds), so I made arrangements to out to dinner tonight with two of our dear friends, a couple that Dan and I had done many things with. I wasn't sure how I was going to react, being a "solo at the couple's table" and warned them that I might only be good for an hour or so before I had to go. I was completely surprised when I learned that we were at the restaurant for three hours. We were talking about my Dan, how much we all missed him, and shared memories. They listened as I talked about him, and I listened as they talked about him - I hadn't realized that they have been crying for the past two weeks, too, mourning the loss of a dear friend. I think it helped all of us to be able to talk (and cry), and I think because I didn't feel the pressure to "pretend I was doing okay" that I actually felt better after having gone out with them.

I almost cancelled on them tonight. It seemed like so much effort to get dressed and go out, so much easier to just stay on the couch. I was afraid of what they'd say, what they wouldn't say, what I could or couldn't say. And there was a little bit of awkwardness and "elephant in the room" feeling when we first sat down - they were worried about upsetting me, I was worried about bringing them down. But once I started talking about him, and we realized that it was okay to talk about him, it got a lot better. Talking helps me. It always has. One of the things that scares me the most about being alone is that Dan would always be able to tell when something was bothering me, and he'd be able to get me to talk about it, and once I talked about it, I felt better. I'm worried about talking to someone else like that, because I don't want to impose or be a nuisance, but I learned tonight that others miss him, too, and sometimes they need to talk about him just as much as I do in order to heal.

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