Bereaved Spouses

A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.

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This might be a rough time for many of you. Do what you feel you need to do to get through it. Remember, someone is here almost all the time to talk to you.


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Bad day

Started by David Heggi. Last reply by David Heggi yesterday. 2 Replies

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Started by denise. Last reply by Marsha H Oct 25. 4 Replies

Need Advice:Grief and Chronic Fatigue

Started by Kaela Roster Federle. Last reply by Kaela Roster Federle Sep 25. 27 Replies

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Comment by Marsha H on July 7, 2017 at 4:58am

Dear Mary.Jane ...  I had tears in my eyes just knowing you had kept this sad vision of Bob's death hidden in your heart.  I am so glad you just finally came out with it.  I have been with 3 different people (one of course being Ernie) waiting for death and then being there after death and I've learned from experience and asking doctors that each death can be different as far as facial expressions and whether they want to die alone or with family surrounding them.  Some people who suffer a heart attack can have eyes wide open and mouth open as if in shock, but it's the sudden instant of the heart stopping.

Medically put, when a loved one passes away they can either look peaceful (never saw a smile yet on the deaths I've experienced, just a look of peace and one with a grimace on their face.)  What happens when final death comes is the eyelids and then the jaw dropping.  Some loved ones who pass away may have their eyes closed; half open (Ernie did) or wide-eyed as if they've seen something frightening, but it isn't true!  Once the heart stops pumping the muscles begin to contract and thus, facial muscles become slack leaving some loved ones looking like they died in agony.  Believe me Bob was not in pain and oh yes, his brother Warren was there to guide him HOME!  Ernie saw two people; his grandmother and his mother 2 weeks before he passed away.  Ernie also was afraid of death.   I also want to tell you that while our loved ones are dying that they can hear!  That is the last of the 5 senses to go.  Also, studies have proven from data taken in some hospitals and hospices that often the person who is in a dream-like state just before death is well aware of who is around them.  Many dying patients actually wait for their loved one to leave the room while others want to have loved ones around them.  Death is a private journey just as our grief is.  Bob chose to pass away while you were gone and it's more common than you think.  Ernie did the same thing to me by not wanting me to stay at Hospice that night and he was gone by 6:30 AM the next morning.  I felt shock, cheated I wasn't there and as I held him his forehead was cold, his eyes half closed and life gone from his eyes.  His jaw had dropped as well.  He just didn't look like my precious Ernie.

Medically, I could go on and on to prove to you that your Bob passed away peacefully and it's just the heart stops, the flow of blood stops and muscles become constricted slowly throughout the body, but, it's too depressing for others as is.  It is very normal in your grief to reflect back on how things were before and after Bob passed away.  It's part of healing although you may not think so.  Death isn't something to fear and I believe when we die 'We go home!'  Also, there are loved ones to guide us to where we are to go.  So my dear friend take pleasure in the fact that Bob went peacefully, he was guided 'home.'  He no longer suffers or is any pain.  I do believe also you'll see him again. 

It is also common in raw grief to come to Legacy and express yourself to members, but then find it can make you feel worse reading other's posts at times, but once rested and through that part of grief most come back until they feel stronger and then they fly away to renew their new lives.  Some still come back such as myself, just to help others, while others continue on in their new journey.  You have my email so please, anytime you need to talk just hit the keyboard and send me an email.

Love & Hugs



Comment by Mary. Jane on July 6, 2017 at 10:31pm
I haven,t posted for a few days, as I realized that in my state of mind, coming here only makes it worse..but I really need an answer. I wasn,t looking for a place like this when I found this site. After Bob died, I looked all over for a place like this, but couldn,t find one..until one day, I was searching Google for something completely different and Legacy came up.
What I was searching for, was the expression on the face of someone who has just died.
So, this guestion is for those of you who were with your loved one at the time they died.
I always thought when a person died, they would have a look of peace on their in Steve Jobs..who is reported to say "Oh wow!" Just before he died. So I thought when Bob died, the look on his face would be calm and serene. It wasn,t like that AT ALL!. I had left the room for a minute, taking the baby moniker with me, and when I realized I couldn,t hear his labored breathing anymore, I ran into the room he was in, and he had died. But the look on his face was ANYTHING but peaceful. I am not going to elaborate on it, but it was NOT what I always expected a person who has just died at home would look like. I actually took a picture, after I gave him mouth to mouth, held a mirror to his mouth, then kissed him, and closed his eyes. I cannot get that look out of my mind...even after all this time. I know the look could have been one of fear, as he was always afraid of dying and everything..but it wasn,t one of peace or acceptance. Maybe it was one of NOT "going gentle into that goodnight" but I just wondered if anyone else experienced anything like this.
I don,t believe in Heaven or Hell...I think THIS is hell, and we keep returning until we get it right..and then go to heaven..I am an advocate of Edgar Cayce..and believe in reincarnation..but I can,t get over his expression the moment he died. It has taken me MONTHS to write this..and the only reason I took pictures was while he was in hospice, I had to learn to do medical things in less than an hour, like threading the feeding tube through the machine, emptying the waste bags, crushing his meds so they would go through the feeding tube without clogging them, so I taped the instructions so I would do it correctly. He wasn,t expected to die so soon..there was enough liquid food for one month and hospice kept me well supplied with medications...but I think he'd just had enough, so he chose to die early rather than experience another month of this.
Also, his brother had died in 2004 and I asked Bob if Warren was here..and he said yes. I had been feelin his brother Warren for months before BOb died..but never felt him there was like he was sent to escort Bob through his next journey. Ok that is has taken me all this time to ask this..I just want his death to have been one of ease and joy, once he passed over, but the look on his face when he died is something I cannot let go of..I hope someone here can help me.
Thank you.
Comment by Charles E. Nelson on July 3, 2017 at 8:33am

Hello Family,

I haven't been posting for awhile, but I have been keeping up with everyone's posts and Steve has shared with me his replies to you all. This past week I signed with a realtor who will be listing and showing the house, and so now begins the task of following through with much discussed plans to finalize the sorting, packing, and selling or donating of all the contents. This task could easily bring me to my knees both physically and emotionally if it were not for Steve's calm and patient presence whenever I begin to display signs of freaking out - in other words, every other hour it would seem. 

Yesterday marked two milestones in my life that, under other circumstances, I would have posted about sharing my many thoughts and emotions. Eight years ago I was informed that my brother Bill had passed away in the night. Larry saw me through the whirlwind of activity and emotions that that call unleashed, all the while watching me closely for signs of cracking under the pressure. There was much backstory and drama to all this, which perhaps someday I may be able to share here. 

Also, one year ago on July 2nd Steve stepped off a plane in Allentown airport and we met face-to-face for the first time. We have decided to consider that date as our "official" anniversary, if one is needed at all. The ways our lives have merged continue to make me pause shaking my head while asking how this all happened without either of us ever seeking such a thing in our lives.

These days I have little time for "navel-gazing" and contemplating the mysteries of the universe - not when there are boxes to load, closets to empty, and reams of paperwork to deal with. Live long enough in one location and you become blind to the creeping of collected and saved possessions into every imaginable corner of your domicile...and some corners hitherto completely forgotten! Lord give me strength. And caffeine - lots and lots of caffeine. 

I send my wishes to my very dear  Legacy family for a peaceful and pleasant Fourth Of July, and fervently hope you know that while I may appear to be absent in the days and weeks ahead, with every obstacle I face and challenge with which I grapple, I am asking for you all to send strength and encouragement, and many prayers for our poor Steve who does double-duty as my cheerleader/therapist and my guide/tutor through this entire process.

My love and prayers to you all -


Comment by Marsha H on June 30, 2017 at 2:39pm

Dear Michael ...

I know these long weekends and special occasions during the year are difficult for all of us and remind us so much of the memories we had with our spouses.  It's Canada Day (150 years old) on Saturday and there are fireworks just up at the park from me and my husband and I use to go see them.  He's been gone for over 6 years and I haven't gone to the fireworks since.  Just doesn't seem the same without him.

You and your son are in my prayers.  I hope that your visit with your son goes well and there is a possibility that when you can sit down and discuss what decisions you made regarding your wife's health that he will understand.  It appears that your son couldn't face the face his mother was going to pass away and that he never took time off o college to come and see her and as Mary.Jane said your son probably feels guilty for not doing so.  It is important for him to know it's OK that he didn't come to see his mother because some people want to remember the person as they use to be or that he just didn't believe his mother would pass away.  We can reflect on our own parents if one or both of them have passed away and I know as far as myself that although there for my father (who passed first) and then my mother 30 years later that they would never pass away and always be there for me.  Your son is grieving too and like all of us who have lost a loved one to death we always think we could have done something different to have saved them, but the reality is, we don't have control over death.  Let your son know that you worked with the doctors and don't hold back on anything that was said or done during the time your wife was ill.  No one wants to see a loved one suffer.

May I suggest that when you go to see your son you do NOT stay in closed quarters, but ask him to go for a walk with you; go to a park, a beach and discuss the problems you and your son will have.  It's more peaceful and may well stop any arguments between you and your son.  As much as it hurts as to what your son may say try to remember it's his way of grieving and he may be in shock.  Just tell him you love him and will always be there for him.  Grief as you already know takes time and I am sure your son will come to grips with his mother's passing.

Big hug (to send you on your journey)


Comment by Mary. Jane on June 30, 2017 at 10:59am
MIcheal, I wish you a wonderful weekend with your son. It is very easy for those who DIDN,t have to MAKE the decisions to disagree with us who DID have to make them. I think he might be secretly beating himself up for not being there..and it is easier to blame someone else..he might be thinking if he had been there, maybe she wouldn,t have died. Guilt is a powerful emotion and all of us feel guilty about something concerning the loss of our loved one. We beat ourselves up with "If onlies, and what ifs" when there was really nothing anyone could have done. It was their time to leave this earth.. If it wasn,t, they wouldn,t have died. Your son is very young, and probably angry at the universe for taking his he is taking it out on you. I hope he doesn,t want to argue with you..but if he does, understand humans seem to have to blame someone or something for everything.. try not to might be years before he understands that there may not have been enough TIME to mull over major did what you thought was best..and tell him you love him very much, and always will.
Comment by Michael Smith on June 30, 2017 at 8:13am

I pray that everyone on here has a great weekend. Melanie loved to watch fire works and I think of her when I hear them start.  I will be driving to our oldest's home to visit him and his wife. We don't talk as often as we should. We need to mend some fences. He was away at college while his mother was sick and he didn't agree with some of my decisions. 

Comment by Marsha H on June 27, 2017 at 4:20am

Hi Diane C ...  As always my dear friend you pop up out of nowhere when I post a problem and I love ya for it.

Thanks for understanding why I feel it isn't a good idea to go to this wedding.  As I said to Sara if it were friends getting married I wouldn't hesitate no matter how sad I would be being at the same place where Ernie and I redid our 25th wedding anniversary vows.  It made me angry they asked me so late as if I were an afterthought.  July 1st is like your July 4th so lots of things I could do to celebrate.  Of course I'm happy for the couple and will certainly send a card and gift.

Love ya back girl


Comment by Marsha H on June 27, 2017 at 4:16am

Hi Sara ...  You are always here for me when I need some direction in my life and I really appreciate it as I know you have some rough days of your own.

Your advice was very good.  I am still torn as whether to go or not.  Of all times to have a wedding, July 1st and holiday for us like your July 4th.  I am angry that this couple invited me at the last minute (made me feel like an afterthought) and put me in this position in the first place.  Of course I will send a nice Wedding greeting card and a gift, but I don't know for sure what I'm going to do.  Part of me wants to face the reality of going, but the other part of me knows the fond memory Ernie and I had saying our vows again after 25 years of marriage and I think I'd be too sad.  As I said, if it was friends getting married I'd go without hesitation, but not when someone never calls or drops by to see how I'm doing. I don't feel at all that I should invite him or his new wife for dinner because we aren't close at all.  I am happy for them, but will admit I wish sometimes things would work out for me and I try not to be envious.  Happiness for some of us seems just a hair away. 

Thanks again Sara for your input and understanding my dilemma.

Comment by Diane C on June 26, 2017 at 11:34am

Hi Marsha,

I vote for the "no-go" decision. After reading your comments I think this is in your best interest. I would send a card congratulating them. I would feel the same way you do if I were in your shoes. Find something fun to do that evening and call it a day!!

Love ya, Diane

Comment by Sara Murphy on June 25, 2017 at 3:01pm

Marsha....In reading the comments surrounding your dilemma over this upcoming wedding, I sense you don't want to go and wanted to know if that's okay.  It absolutely is.  I liked Steve's thought that maybe this is something orchestrated by the heavens but given that it's causing you grief just thinking about it, I'm not sure that's the case.   If you had maintained contact with this person, then I would say go for a bit and cut out early however since this seems to be the first time he's contacted you since Ernie's passing, you don't owe him any time now.  You need to do what's best and easiest for you and hope he understands.  You can always suggest getting together with him and his new wife for dinner at some point after the wedding and see if he accepts. 


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