I lost my husband of 25 years at the end of March. We were packed and ready to head to the airport for a trip to Las Vegas with some friends. My husband had not been feeling very well the last few days and we thought it was opiod constipation. (He had sle type lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and had a flare up and was taking some vicodin to control it.) The stomach pain continued to get worse so instead of heading to the airport we decided to go to the emergency room, still thinking that maybe we could fly out the next day. In the ER they determined he had a small bowel blockage. Well after a week in the hospital with the pain getting worse and the fentanyl was not helping the Dr finally decided to do exploratory surgery. They discovered he had ischemic bowel and almost everything inside was gangrene. They did surgery and after it he had a "temporary" ileostomy bag & was on a ventilator in ICU. He improved enough after 2 weeks that they took him off the ventilator and we were finally able to talk to each other. I thought he was finally starting to get better so went home for the night & the nurse called at 5am to tell me they had to put him back on the ventilator. I rushed back to the hospital only to find out that he had had a massive heart attack. They attempted to bring him back but were not able to and he passed.
This is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with it my life. I had breast cancer a couple years ago and thought that was horrible but now I look back and think it was nothing. It was fixable and this is not. He was not only my husband but also my best friend. We did everything together and tried to enjoy life to the fullest.
I keep telling myself I just have to take it one day at a time. But how do I go on? I don't even seem to have a purpose in life anymore.
Hello Marty, and all of my dear friends,
I am sorry for your loss that brought you here, and truly know that support, comfort, and understanding are here for you, as they were for me when I first came here last November. I lost my Larry on April 22, 2015 after 32 years together - we were finally able to get a civil Union in 2007.
As everyone shares their reactions to "How are you?", I must recount something from Wednesday - Larry sold antiques and collectibles, and left a huge inventory which takes up space in most of our garage, out building, and basement, plus several closets. This weekend our town has a town-wide yardsale that Larry always participated in - as much a social event as a selling opportunity. I have some health issues that prevent any strenuous lifting or bending, so cannot easily move these things around. Neighbors, who have been close friends for all the years we've lived here, asked to come get some large tables to use for their sale, and if I could clear them of Larry's things before they came. When they arrived, they found me standing in the garge, several tables cleared, just staring at the remains of what was once such a joy and pleasure for Larry . They asked the question, and I could only look at them in wonderment thinking how alien they seemed - how alien everything and everyone seemed - while I felt like I was invisible or behind some impenetrable barrier separating me from the world.
I know I am not alone in these feelings because of this family of accepting caring friends, and hope you will also draw from the well of compassionate sharing the kind of strength I have found here as I took my first faltering steps toward an ucertain unknowable future without my husband.
Peace to you Marty, and to everyone today and through the weekend - as always you are all in my thoughts and prayers, and have my eternal gratitude for helping me through the darkest days I have ever known with your kindness.
You have been especially on my mind recently. I think I now no why you are consistently in my thoughts. The description of your recent days brings tears to my eyes. The occasion of a town-wide yard sale, one where you and Larry were active participants, has to bring up so many emotions. Please know that I am sending you a giant hug and a shoulder to lean on as you get through this weekend.
Thank you Chuck for sharing with us. I am so sorry for your loss too. I truly believe hearing others going thru the same things that I am will help me cope. As for the relatives (and/or friends) that were close to your spouse...I have a stepson that was very close to his Dad and I have only seen him once since the funeral. My husband and his brother John were also very close. I have seen John twice and both times I felt very out of place. I know he is grieving (as well as my stepson) and I think when they see me it just brings up a reminder that Gene is not with us.
I will keep you and everyone else in this group in my prayers and pray that we will be able to help each other thru the dark days.
I also have some people who I thought would be more available to me as I navigated the first year without Larry, one of those being his younger sister. She came with Larry to see me in the hospital just shortly before he passed, and confided that he had pleaded with her to stay the night, but she declined - her last memory was seeing Larry standing in the driveway waving goodbye with tears in his eyes - she has always regretted leaving that day.
She spoke at his interrment ceremony, and accepted the special bag I had gathered of very personal family items - jewelry, watches, diaries, etc. - that Larry had from their parents and grandparents with the comment "Thanks for the "goody bag" of trinkets." That was June 23 last year - I have only seen her once since then at a family gathering, although she travels to NJ frequently to visit her children and grandchildren.
I though of her when Danny discussed spending time with Kim's brother sharing memories and visits to their favorite places. Oh, what I would give to be able to do that with his sister, hearing stories of his childhood only she would know, and telling poignant stories about the man he grew into that only I know. Larry and I always recognized that we were not going to be viewed as a legitimate couple by some, but I didn't expect to be so easily erased from their lives upon his passing. I try not to be bitter, but I can't help being very hurt.
I don't mean to complain, but it helps to hear how there are others here like yourself who are experiencing the same dismissal as it were - so I turn to you and openly invite you to do the same, and here we can share our stories and memories with friends who care enough to listen patiently and with understanding instead of judgement.
Have a good weekend, my dear friend -
Chuck, Thank you for your always sweet and thoughtful reply. I haven't seen my husband's sister since Bob's passing. I reached her once by telephone, offering to travel to her or meet her half-way for lunch. She replied that she would call me back. I haven't heard from her but for a message that she will attend his inurnment at Arlington. Perhaps others need time too. On a day that I am strong, I will call her again and see how she is doing.
I've also been struggling with how to announce Bob's Arlington ceremony to friends and colleagues. I spoke to a military representative who suggested social media. I do not post on social media so this idea isn't sitting well with me. This morning I considered sending out announcements to his closest friends and colleagues. This would save me the awkwardness and emotion of a personal phone call and the impersonality of a Facebook post. The ceremony is July 25 and I am mindful that summer schedules fill quickly. I planned to phone friends and colleagues this past week and could not bring myself to do so. A few folks are aware of the event, others would have only heard through the grapevine, if at all.
Does anyone here have any insight concerning announcing an inurnment one year post death? I do not want people to feel obligated to attend. I also do not want to miss notifying someone who wants to be there to honor him. Thanks in advance for any ideas.
Joann, I struggle with that question, "(w)hat is my purpose?" all of the time. I am 59 and my family's history suggests longevity. My father passed away at 93, my mom at 94, my aunt survives at 96, a great uncle died at 103 in 1964, etc. It is difficult for me to fathom another 35 years when I can't even determine how I will spend this morning, much less today.
I hope and pray that each of us will begin to glimpse our future in a positive light. I haven't worked outside the home for a long time. Might I go back? Maybe, but that isn't a decision for today. For today, I will concentrate on the next small segment of time. The big questions remain until I am ready to face them.
Hugs and prayers are ongoing.
Marty, There are not enough words to express my sorry to you over the loss of your husband. I have just hit my 5 year mark of loosing my husband to lung cancer and to be honest, I hate every day of being here, alone. It is a difficult challenage but somehow I made it this far. The first year is lived in a laundry list of firsts, the second year is disbelieve and the third year and then on is lived in reality as we move into survival mode. Living with the loss of a spouse is not something we get over we find ways to get through it. Take time for yourself and learn to breath. It truly is a baby step process and instead of looking forward into tomorrow live for today and take each day as a new beginning. You soon will be sorting through friendships because few will understand the pain we are going through since they have moved on with their lives. Unless they have gone through such heart wrenching grief will they truly understand our grief. Keep coming to this site because we truly understand your pain, we offer advice through our own experiences and we try to forward many cyber hugs as possible. Hugs, Jane P.
Marty, You have been blessed to have found this site, it truly saved my life. So many angels on here and you will find we are all in different stages of grief but grieving nonetheless. It does get easier with much time but those first few months are and will be horrific. My best advice is try not to make any life altering decisions within the first year of grief, you truly are not thinking straight. Keep a chart of bills coming in and going out, you will be surprised how many will go unnoticed. I had charts for everything, once I realized I was not paying bills nor doing banking as I once did. Grieving, such as ours is a roller coaster ride and a true baby step process, so take your time. My husband was 59 when he passed and I was 56 in the prime of our lives like you were so I can relate. I no longer post much any more, unless something shows up in my in box as your post did. I just feel God is tapping me on my shoulder and is telling me someone needs help. Hugs, Jane P.