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  • Parish, ny
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On March 5, 2009 my husband and a friend went of Tom's favorite past times. There was nothing unusual about this except the phone call at 5:15 that afternoon. It was Jason saying Tom had somehow flipped his sled and they were airlifting him to the hospital. I really thought they were kidding around trying to play a joke on me.. BAD JOKE!! But, as he talked I realized he wasn't comment to him was "You aren't freaking kidding me are you?" What a comment. Jason kept reassuring me Tom was awake and responsive. Those words were of some comfort...I just needed to get to the hospital to see for myself. Our 13 yr old son and I couldn't get to the hospital fast enough!

When they let me see him in the ER he was awake and alert...but, in so much pain. He had a broken clavical, many broken ribs (no one could ever tell me how many), and a punctured lung. He had xrays and ct scan and had tubes put in his side to drain fluid out of his chest. We were told the tubes would be in there for a few days so we thought we'd stay the weekend and probably be home in 4 or 5 biggie.

Well, that was not to be. He stayed in the hospital for 11 days. I stayed with him day and night. I went home only a few times to shower and then back again. During Tom's stay he was trasferred from the trauma floor where he was originally admitted to a step down cardiac unit where he spent most of his time...he had to have thorascopic surgery on the 8th day to clear out some fluid in his chest and new tubes put in. I remember telling him before he went into surgery that I loved him and to "stay away from the light". He was put in the cardiac ICU on a breathing machine after surgery for that night and the next day but, he came off the machine and was doing well. This whole time in the hospital he was awake, alert, eating and walking a little.The day after coming off the breathing tube he was moved back to the step down unit and walked there by himself...the longest walk yet. He was doing well. There was never any concern that he wouldn't be coming home. We were told he just needed time to heal.

During this time I think he had to be the most popular patient. He had one nurse in particular that would come and visit him even when he wasn't her scheduled patient...they would harass each other about everything. And he had so many visitors...not just family but, all of his friends. He worked for the railroad so there were lots of railroad guys coming and going. That was so nice to have that support.

On day 11 he was in a lot of pain more so than he had been the past few didn't help that the nurse that was on messed up his medication routine. So, before I went home to shower (now, of course I wish I had stayed the whole day just to make sure he was comfortable) I had told her what he should be getting at what time and made sure she gave it to him before I left figuring I'd be back by the time the next dose was due. Of course, I was running behind and missed his med dose by an hour. When I got back to his room he was still in pain and other than taking meds he wouldn't let either nurse (early shift and afternoon shift) touch him. He wanted to wait till I got back to have his bandages changed. At 4:50 that afternoon we sat him up to change his bandages and he started massively bleeding out the side of his chest tubes. Luckily, the thoracic team was right outside his room and they came running in. They called for OR and anesthesia...they called for code once but, never needed it. The whole time all this was going on Tom had his own pulse and blood pressure and was breathing on his own. They would say, "Tom, you still with us" and he'd reply "Yup". He did at one point have a seizure...he grabbed the sheets and arched his back and let out a primal yell and the surgeon told me that was a seizure but, it was quick and he was right back to being him. As scary as it was I wasn't worried...they let me stay in the room the whole time they were working on him. I do remember someone saying to me that he didn't have a DNR and I told her, "that's right and he WILL NOT have are to do everything possible to make him better." They rushed him off to the OR...I followed along. We parted at the OR doors and he still had his own blood pressure, pulse and breathing on his own ...I never said "I Love you" or "stay away from the light" or anything...we did make eye contact at the elevator but, that was the last time I saw him.

During surgery (this time they actually had to open him up) something went terribly wrong. The doctor sent someone to tell me he wasn't doing well and was critical. I just told them to get back in there and do all they could to get him better...don't stop...nothing can happen to him. They went back for awhile and came back again telling us it wasn't looking good. I kept telling them they had to keep trying...our girls were there and his mom was there but, our son wasn't there and he needed to get here. I think I had resigned myself to the fact at that point that he wasn't coming back to us. Finally, they came back and said there was nothing more they could do. What a moment that was. I remember it but, it's like I don't really remember it. It's as if it was happening somewhere else to someone else. From my understanding, (the surgeon explained this to our daughters as I was trying to explain to our 13 yr old son that dad was "gone") they were just finishing up working on Tom, and were about to close him up when he started bleeding out. It turns out his 1st rib ruputured his subclavain artery causing a bleed that couldn't be stopped. Although, they tried to give him many bags of blood there was nothing they could do to stop the bleeding. It was over!

So, on March 16th, 2009 a life that was loved, adored and cherished was no more.

Now, I am trying to pick up the pieces and move forward...I can't imagine ever moving on..that would mean leaving him behind. I'll just move forward with him in my heart. And love him every bit as much as if he were still here. Sometimes it's hard to breathe without him and the heaviness in my chest just doesn't seem to go away. Sleeping isn't a problem it's waking up that is the problem...I wake up every morning with the feeling of dread in my chest just knowing that I have to somehow face the day without Tom by my side.

I will love you Always and Forever, Bunzy
You are my heart, my life, my love!


Tom and I had been married 2 months and 9 days short of 25 years when he was suddenly taken from us. We have actually been together for 27 1/2 years. We started dating in high school. He was a junior, I was a senior and yes, I robbed the cradle by 3 months and 29 days (I would never give him the satisfaction of saying 4 months). He used to tease me all the time that I was a whole year older because my birthday was the year before his. Of course, the early years were a little tough just trying to get our bearings...getting married at 19, living together and starting a family but, we got it all together and when we did nothing could stop us. We are a forever couple. Problem is we thought our forever was going to last a lot longer.

Through the years we had a closeness that just kept growing. I was always so proud of our relationship and even our kids were proud to say that their parents were still married when so many of their friends parents were not.

We have 3 great kids..Autumn, 24...Amanda, 22 and Nicholas, 13. They miss dad so much. Even though the girls are out on their own I still worry about how they are doing and coping. Nicholas, I worry about everyday. He is at an age where dad is so important and there are still so many things that dad had yet to teach him.

I was very spoiled; there wasn't anything that he would not do for me. He just took care of me and us. I am so grateful for the love we shared. He always made me feel special and loved. He was my big security blanket. He would surprise me and say how about going away this weekend. And of course, I would love to go anywhere with him. I was always so proud to be by his side. He worked for the railroad so, he would come and go quite a bit and I always got those butterflies when he would get home...just like in high school.

When it came time for the funeral no one could understand why I didn't have to put anything in the casket with him. I didn't feel the need to write a letter as everyone thought I should. There was nothing ever left unsaid between the two of us so, I had no need to hurry up and finish or complete something that wasn't done between us. There were never any regrets. I did come across our wedding vows and put them in with Tom and of course, pictures of our family. But, other than that we had said and done everything that needed to be said and done. We were complete!

As perfect as our life together was or maybe because our life was so perfect together it hurts soooo much to be apart. Never did we ever expect anything to tear our family apart. His grandfathers lived well into their 90's so we always teased him he had the gene's to make it to 100. I had no doubt he'd do it...he was a determined man who would accomplish whatever he set his mind to. I thought we'd make it to our 75th wedding anniversary so we could be on the Smucker's jar with Willard Scott...ok, maybe no Willard by then but, we'd still make it.

I have a hard time imagining what is to come. Everything we ever dreamed of was us as a couple. He couldn't wait to retire so we could come and go as we pleased and do everything possible. Now there is so much sadness and loneliness. I can't seem to break free from the heaviness in my chest...the dread of waking up every morning to my new reality. I can't imagine never seeing his face again, hearing his voice and those big Bunzy bear hugs are all gone.

I hang on tight to the love we shared and the family we created. I am blessed to have had a once in a lifetime love. I know not everyone gets to live the life I treasured so much. I am grateful to have had my Bunzy, my Love for more than half of my life. And as hard as it is to imagine, my fairytale life has come to an more happily ever after.

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Marlena's Blog

Missing you by my side when so much is happening!

Posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:30pm 2 Comments

I don't even know where to much has changed since I last wrote here.  The hardest part is that My Bunzy isn't here to be a part of or share in the changes with us.

Well, one of the things I've accomplished is an Associate's Degree as a Medical Administrative Assistant.  I would have never gone to college if it weren't for losing Tom.  We were married right out of high school and Tom always took care of me.  I had been a stay at home mom and small daycare provider since we…


Another Valentine's Day

Posted on February 14, 2011 at 3:29pm 1 Comment

Hey Babe,

Happy Valentine's Day! It's such a lonely day here without you. Well, everyday is lonely here without you.

Last year at this time, I was so desperate to be at the cottage in Old Forge just to feel you and remember our last Valentine's day there. This year, I feel different. It's like I'm numb to all this Valentine's day hoopla. I haven't paid attention to the ads or commercials. I've ignored any special sales. It all seem so insignificant without you here. As… Continue

Birthday Hugs to the Heavens above, My Bunzy!!!

Posted on January 12, 2011 at 6:30am 1 Comment

Here we go again...another birthday down.  I cannot believe we have made our way through a second birthday day without you here.  The emptiness and loneliness do not seem to go away.  If I had one birthday wish for you it would be to have our wonderful life back so that we can finish living out our fairlytale and finally have our true forever.

I will love you ~Always and Forever~

Lilyanna Tommi and her Grandpa

Posted on January 8, 2011 at 1:25pm 1 Comment


It is always such a relief when the holidays are over.  I really would love to ignore the holidays and skip the tree and the presents, but my kids would not appreciate that and it would not be fair to them so we have decided to have a tree that honors their dad.  We have basic lights and balls and the only real ornament is a remembrance ornament of Tom.  The…


Happy Anniversary???

Posted on May 25, 2010 at 9:48am 2 Comments

Well, today would have been 26 years for us..Amazing!! I can't believe that I have been without Tom for over a year. Life just keeps moving forward and I am just along for the ride. I am not sure I can keep up. I am just existing in this life. And as horrible as it sounds I am waiting for the time when we can be together again. Everyday is a countdown. I know that sounds so pathetic. I have our kids, and a new granddaughter, Lilyanna Tommi, to keep me going, but GOD how I miss my love!!!

I… Continue

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At 3:02pm on October 13, 2013, David, BERNIE's dad said…

My heart goes out to you. I don't know if husbands are missed more or less than kind, live-at-home sons, but my only 'close' family now, a daughter, is 3,000 miles away. I know what you mean about lonely days.

Best wishes, Marlena. Thank God and Tami for this site!

At 2:43pm on September 30, 2013, Christy said…

Dear Marlena,
So nice to see that unlike me, you have not visited here in a long, long while. This is excellent news I believe this means your life is full. I imagine your son may be a senior this year? And perhaps you have a new career now? Perhaps new relationships or grandchildren? Regardless, I wish you all the best.
I am fine, but do have moments & on occasion still come here for solace. Do not post on the wall but relieve pent up feelings in the Blog spot on our page.
Please share a word with me & catch me up to date on how it is going with you- I'd love to know. You & others here are special to me. You all helped me through the most painful event of my existence & I am forever thankful.
Best Wishes Always,

At 7:59am on December 13, 2012, Frank Andrews said…


 I remember reading that your niece was getting married on 12-12-12 and I hope everything was perfect for her. Happy events put the heartbreak on the back burner for a while. I try to read as many of the blogs and comments that I can when I am unable to sleep or the panicky feeling and heaviness in my chest get to be too much to take.  I find some relief in reading here and knowing others feel exactly what I am feeling though they are so much more articulate in expressing their feelings.

  From reading, you and Christy have accomplished much and are able to function much better since losing your beloved spouses. I can only hope that time will let me get on with any kind of life for I am still at the point where I want   to be with her again. There just does not seem to be any purpose or future in life without her by my side.

  I hope all who have been here for a long time continue to come back on once in a while to share their grief and the ways they are healing because it does give those who have recent losses some insight and relief.  God bless you and your family during these trying times.

At 8:46am on October 22, 2012, Christy said…

Hello Marlena!

I suppose you are busy with your daughters wedding; I know it is supposed to be in Oct. but don't know the exact date. I hope it is all she dreamed of & more!

Life for me is as busy as yours sounds. I am taking just 1 class now & hoping the other will be given next semester so I can graduate. My regular job is the same & the npo is consuming every moment I can spare! We did purchase meal plans for the 2 students I mentioned before. On the anniversary of Larry's death the Atlanta news interviewed me about the charity in his memory which lead to newspaper stories & a business partner from a snack company in Manhattan, N.Y.! Then this past friday, I gave a presentation to rec've a grant from General Mills (Cereal). It was frightening but a huge opportunity/ blessing. In addition to these things, I also keep my 2 yr old granddaughter after work while my daughter works. They live with me & this child is my joy!

As you know, better than most, I still miss my husband with every breathe. I still (after 2 yrs) feel as if he's just away- like gone to war or something, & that he'll be home soon. Crazy, but that's really how I feel.

I hope you are moving forward in a positive direction in all aspects of life & I sure hope love finds you (again) in some miraculous way when you are ready to receive it.

Prayers & best wishes for you & yours~ Hugs


At 9:27am on May 17, 2012, Christy said…


Hi Marlena,

 I don't know if you will ever get this messg. and a part of me hopes you won't- that will mean you have moved beyond this place. I come back every few months it looks like, although to me it feels as if I have been away longer. I think of you & others here often though & say a prayer for you & your families. I was curious as to if you were using your degree or not? I should be finishing mine now, but my school is not offering the 2 courses I need to graduate until Spring semester 2013! I have done all I can to get help with this, but as of this a.m. have accepted it for what is - out of my hands. Meanwhile, the NPO I started in Larry's name is growing. We received our Federal tax exception status in Feb. & were given the names of 2 deserving students in need of our services this wk. Both recently lost their mothers & attending college in the Fall- one at Gordon-a small college nearby, and the other is a football player going to Morehouse in Atlanta! I am praying we will find the resources to help them both.

I wish you & yours the best~

Hugs, Christy

At 7:40am on August 31, 2011, Christy said…

Hello Marlena,

It is so nice to hear from you. Yes, it has been hard, especially leading up to this past weekend but I'm o.k. I took the coward's way out friday & stayed home, stayed in bed as long as I could & never looked at a clock all weekend. I did not want to be aware of that time at all. I was constantly fighting thinking about the events of that day last year. It was too horrible then and it is too horrible to repeat ever again in my mind. Instead my son who is 25 yrs. went w/ me to the Farmers Mrkt in Atlanta & we did some other side stops to eat & bought him some badly needed shoes. It was a beautiful day & it was nice to be with him- it kept me distracted. So you & Nick just got back from Canada? Is that something you have done before? I think it would be awesome to take a train trip through some part of Canada & see the snow/wilderness. I am glad to hear you are enjoying getting out some now. Our lives really can become quite different than what we are used to.

The foundation could be a full time job! Please check us out on Facebook (if you go there)by typing in the entire thing, or copy paste from here: Larry D. Bradley Foundation "Food for Thought" and "LIKE" if you agree with what we are about. We just made this pg & we need to attract some attention through people liking it. Also, you can visit our website at

I try to keep in touch w/ my stepson but it's not easy. He has only been to visit once all summer - only maybe three or four tops in the past year, but each time we have such a good time. He always says he wants to live with us. He has his 1st middle-school football game today so my son Zach & I are going to rush after work & try to catch some of it.

It really is great to hear from you.


At 10:30am on August 16, 2011, Christy said…

Hello Marlena,

It's been awhile & I just wanted to say "hello" & that I have been thinking of you & yours. I hope life is being good to you. Hugs~ Christy

At 9:52am on May 13, 2011, Alanna Bellflower said…

Unfortuneatly; in  my daughters sudden loss she is lashing out at a few people. Possibly those she may have shared some of the not so good times in her marriage with.

None of those times matter now.But I can't tell her this. I can't say anything to her. She riles and assumes I'm going to say ,"I know how you feel" I think.

That is the last thing I would say to her, as NO ONE knows how we are taking the widowhood experience. The only common denominator is pain as I see it. Rising in us as a mutltitude of feelings.

At 9:52am on May 13, 2011, Alanna Bellflower said…

Unfortuneatly; in  my daughters sudden loss she is lashing out at a few people. Possibly those she may have shared some of the not so good times in her marriage with.

None of those times matter now.But I can't tell her this. I can't say anything to her. She riles and assumes I'm going to say ,"I know how you feel" I think.

That is the last thing I would say to her, as NO ONE knows how we are taking the widowhood experience. The only common denominator is pain as I see it. Rising in us as a mutltitude of feelings.

At 8:00am on March 29, 2011, Debbie Treadway said…
Marlena, thanks for the birthday wishes. I did have a good day with my daughter and sil. I did think about my wonderful Waymon and all the good birthdays we had spent together, shed some tears but also had some very happy memories. Hope you have a good day and hugs to you.

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