Hi Rob, I went through the very sudden loss of my partner, Jim. It was 2 weeks before our 11th anniversary. I awoke one morning (June 18th, 2012) to find him slumped in his office chair; he had been dead a few hours. I still tried CPR until the medics arrived, but it was no use. They called it "sudden cardiac death". We had lived in PA near King of Prussia, and two months later I moved to Harrisburg to be closer to Jim's son (my stepson) who had lived with us summers and holidays when he wasn't at Milton Hershey.
I stayed there until he graduated and then last Halloween I moved to Denver, Colorado, where I am now. I can totally relate to your feelings of loss...not just around Mark, but the kids as well. Jim's family now doesn't want anything to do with me, and his son doesn't speak to me anymore since I flew home to try to talk some sense into him as he was flunking out of college. There is much more HELL that they put me through, but that is for another discussion.
I still wear some of Jim's clothes occasionally, and I only recently stopped wearing the ring he gave me (we were never able to marry, since PA had just legalized it this year). Believe me, this sucks, and you are an amazing man for having made it through this first, most difficult month. The thing that kept me going at that point was a mantra that I developed. I don't know where it came from, but I kept telling myself "I will not let this destroy me." The other thing that helped was just going easy on myself, and taking it "one-day-at-a-time." I only worried about the 12 to 16 hours in front of me before I went to bed that night, and did what I could to make those hours tolerable for myself. I also forced myself to go out and be in the world, and I avoided getting drunk and high.
Please feel free to contact me if you ever need to chat or talk to somebody who understands what you are going through. I would be more than happy to listen and try to help if I can. And funny thing...we are the exact same age! I hope to hear from you soon, Rob.
Rob, I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your husband, Mark. The first days and weeks after a partner dies can be extremely hard. When I loss Todd, I was on autopilot most of the time just not knowing or caring what came next. My strong faith, my church, and his family were amazing; without them I don't think I would have lived through it. From my experience, things will change and this burden will get lighter after a while, but the brokenness and the longing continues.