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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My love is gone...

Started by Chris Sky. Last reply by Mary. Jane on Sunday. 15 Replies

I used to love long week ends.

Started by Sandfly. Last reply by Marsha H Jun 6. 2 Replies

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Comment by Mary. Jane on July 8, 2017 at 5:40pm
Thank you all for your kind words. The night before Bob died, he took my hand, and said very kindly "Thank you"? I was stunned. I asked him for what? I don,t remember his answer..I think he said for everything. The next morning, after the hospice nurse had gone, he was very adjetated, so I put a cool wet cloth on his forehead. The nurse had to Catheterize him that morning...he HATED being catherarized...more than anything. His breathing was very seemed he was struggling to breathe..maybe I mistook the expression on his face, maybe he was trying to breath and it was too much. He wouldn,t use the oxygen machine..he,d just rip it off. That is why it was so easy to hear his loud breathing through the baby monitor, and when it stopped it was very noticeable.
I rushed into the living room and he was gone...with that horrific expression on his face. I made a sort of hood with his blanket, leaving his nose and mouth uncovered, in case this wasn,t real, so he could breathe...and called hospice. I remember the hospice nurse telling me over and over if he died to NOT call 911... I DIDN,t understand why Untill I heard Steves story about the police coming and grilling him when his loved one died, and only then did I understand why hospice said to call them.
And, that was it. My beloved Bob was dead. The funeral home came, and wheeled him out, and that was the last time I ever saw him again. I gave the funeral people some other clothes to dress him in, as I wanted the shirt he died in. It was his favorite shirt, and I have it stored in a plastic had just been laundered, .he had just put on on that morning, after his bath, and sometimes I open it as I can still smell his scent on it. I keep it in the small carryall I take to the tornado shelter, as, besides my cat, it is the only thing I wouldn,t want to loose.
And just like that the man I had shared my life with for nearly 49 years was gone.
Comment by Marsha H on July 8, 2017 at 3:13pm

Sara ...  It was wonderful to see your post and I missed you!



Comment by Marsha H on July 8, 2017 at 3:11pm

Dear Big brother Steve ...  Thank you for the compliment and I do my best.  For some, seeing their loved one that doesn't look peaceful after they pass away it's a shock and leads them to believe their loved one passed away fearful and in pain.  I blame the medical staff because nurses see death all the time and should explain to the living spouse why this is so that they will have some peace. 

Even in comas the loved one can hear and that's why they suggest to the spouse, family and friends to talk as if that person were awake.  I had a male friend who was in a coma for 8 months and all of us just talked to him normally, played some of his favorite music and eventually when he came out of the coma he told us he heard everything.  Of course Mark heard you very clearly.  I did give Ernie permission to pass on and as you know it's the hardest thing we had to do.  You want them to stay, but don't want to be selfish so 'when you love someone set them free.'

I am so sorry about your sister's passing, but, the death process starts days before they actually pass and they seem to accept it with peace.  I am so glad you both could say how much you loved each other.  It's true and I do believe that when our spouses passed that someone close to them comes to them softly and when it's time 'guides them home.'  I know when Ernie was close to death we said our goodbyes and I told him not to be afraid.  He looked peaceful after that and seemed to drift into a world of his own (preparation of passing away.)  Their business is finished here on earth and they can pass on to have another life without pain, I do believe deep in my heart they stay around us in spirit to give us strength through the grieving process and once we have strength to move on the visits become less and we are left with memories.  I still talk to Ernie, say goodnight to him and I sure wish he was here most of the time.

Your post to Mary.Jane was with love and caring and the truth of this journey of grief we all must go through.  It was encouraging and peaceful.  We just didn't drop on earth and were created and we are born, live and pass away.  It's the circle of life.  It may not be fair and there are always so many questions we may never get answers too, but like you I've learned to take many wise things Ernie said to me and go forward with love to help others.  Each one of us whether new to grief or awhile into grief carry that torch and we help each other get through it.

Lots of love my dear brother

Your sis


Comment by Steve on July 7, 2017 at 10:54am

Marsha, you have such a calming way of putting things into perspective, as I watched Mark pass on his expression was one of someone asleep, his eyes were closed and the noise of his breathing just stopped.  I found great comfort this morning reading about how hearing is the last sensory our beloved has when moving on.  That means that he heard me asking him to stay and not leave me alone and possibly heard me when I gave in to his passing admitting out loud to myself that he was no longer suffering and in pain. 

Your post also brought me back to my sister’s passing, she was under in-home hospice care and a few days before she passed while I was sitting by her side, I looked at her and with tears streaming down my cheeks I said to her “I don’t know what to say”, she reached over and grabbed my hand and said, “I know, I love you too”.  Silence filled the room again as I sat there and cried, she then shared with me; “I will be fine and so will you, I saw our mother last night standing at the foot of my bed smiling down at me, she looked exactly as I remembered her, and now I am not afraid of dying, I am ready, I know everyone I love will be just fine, then she fell back to sleep.  I sat there for a time and as I sat there I became calm and a peace came over me that is hard to put into mere words.  I have that memory, one that I visit often, especially those days I feel down and wishing Mark was still here.

Mary Jane, I believe that there are more things in this life and the hereafter that we have no clue about than there are points of light in the evening night.  I embrace the thought that energy is not something that goes away or dies out, it is however, for lack of a better description, recycled/renewed into something more wondrous far beyond our understanding.  Just as in grief, we move forward at our own pace and we gain understanding and purpose that is tailored for each of us.  I have studied various religions and the one thread they all share is “Love” and a request that we treat others with the same love we enjoy with those around us.  Coming to Legacy for me is my way of sharing my love with all of you, and in doing so I am finding out that I can have compassion and love for strangers that I find along the way down my path.  When I found Legacy, it too was by accident (or was it), I too felt worse sometimes when I would read and respond to posts.  For me, I found my grief was drilling down into my soul and letting me grieve for all those in my family I was close too.  As a young man, I had chosen not to allow myself to grieve; eventually, all those feelings surfaced and I began to address them and still do even today.  So, my dear friend your feelings are normal, having doubts, feeling bad reading posts, second guessing, all normal.  I for one, find your posts most uplifting and think of you as an awesome person and good friend.  Sending you many hugs today, just because I can and because you need a few…:>)  

Comment by Michael Smith on July 7, 2017 at 8:30am

Mary Jane, I to can feel really sad when reading the stories of other people on here. But it is the encouraging replies that keep me coming back and raise my spirits.  

Melanie started having seizures the 23rd of October and was unable to communicate after that. We could tell the end was near so family was gathered at our house. at roughly 10:30 PM the 27th she yelled out 'let's have a party' We looked at each other and didn't know what to think. two hours later she spoke her last words 'Happy birthday' it was the 28th and our middle son's 18th birthday. Needless to say we were all in shock when we realized what time it was.She had spent 5 days without communicating with us but came back enough to wish her son happy birthday.

When her heart stopped her expression didn't change. I know she was watching us those last days. 

On another note my son and I had a good time and we both can't wait until we can see each other again.



Comment by Sara Murphy on July 7, 2017 at 7:57am

Hello again my Legacy family.  I've been going through withdrawals.  Something happened with my hard drive and I haven't been able to access any websites in a week.  I especially missed Legacy as my family here are the only people who understand so I'm glad to be back.  I haven't had a chance to read and catch up but I will soon.  Just know I've been thinking about all of you.



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)



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