Trying to cope - don't know where to start

My husband of 20 years died suddenly on December 18, 2009. He had spent the last 18 months getting back into shape and was really beginning to enjoy life and looking forward to do more things now that he was healthy. Three years ago he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and went into a severe depression. He was already overweight and drank too much when he had the surgery.

The surgery was awful. He reacted terribly to the anesthesia and had to be hospitalized for over a week to deal with complications. Recovery was slow and slowed even more when he got two staph infections. Finally he recovered and we tried to resume our life.

He didn't have the same spark and joyous nature he'd had when I met and fell in love with him. He wasn't happy and felt he would die.

He's a wonderful athlete and was a scratch golfer in his healthy life. He was brilliant and had a very successful career often having the opportunity to golf at exclusive courses. One of his happiest experiences was being at the Master's when Nicklaus won the Masters in 1986.

Last September we were notified that we had been selected to buy tickets to the Wednesday practice round at the Master's. We were so excited. We still played a lot of golf but he wasn't enjoying it as much since his weight and health had deteriorated.

That was the ticket to better health for him. He'd had the opportunity to be a the Master's twice before and knew that if he didn't lose weight he would not enjoy the great opportunity that we had.

That started his journey to better health. He ate healthy, started walking and cut out hard liquor. He was still drinking wine at the time of his death, but otherwise was doing great.

He had a hernia operation this past September and recovered very quickly. (the hernia was caused by complications from the Prostate surgery).

We joined a Gold's Gym and went every day. He walked on the treadmill about 30 minutes and biked an hour. Then he lifted weights. He was unbelievably strong.

We spent the winter in North Carolina and are fortunate to have Fitness Center here. Our center opens at 6 am. Duane (my husband) would leave our house at between 4:45 and 5am and go to the Fitness Center. He would walk outside for until just after 5:30 and then would wait in his car for the attendant to open.

Friday, December 18 was cold and windy. I was asleep when he left. Friends who also get to the Fitness Center early and wait in their cars saw him walking. Then (I guess he got cold, but I'll never know) he went to his car, cranked the engine and was reading.

I usually don't get to the Fitness Center until 5:55. This morning was different, perhaps because I missed saying good bye to him when he left the house. I got there at 5:35, planning to walk with him or sit with him and wait. I parked next to him and looked into his car. His reading light was on, he was holding his book, but his head was down. I thought he had just dozed off.

I tried to wake him up. He's a big "kidder" (really still a little boy, even at 71). I was waiting for him to start laughing, we've done this before. But not this time. We called 911. The emergency people were here in minutes. We tried the defillibrator, but couldn't bring him back.

It's been 5 days. He wanted to be cremated. We did that on Monday. His daughter came to visit and see him one last time. We had a good visit. Now she's gone back home and I'm alone. I don't have children of my own. My Mom is alive but in New York. My sister is in Florida. I'm trying my best to cope. Just writing this has made me feel a little better. At least I'm not crying.

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Comment by Brigitte on July 3, 2010 at 8:17pm
What a small world! Douglas and I lived in Bellingham for 15 years. I graduated from WWU and he from Fairhaven -- we went back to school in our 40's. Douglas was a beautiful spirit and I am gratful that he is no longer in pain. The pain I felt after he died was nothing, I am sure, of what he endured. He is my hero. I miss him everyday and will carry him in my heart forever. Most of the time when I think of Douglas, it is with a smile, not a tear, becayse he left me a blessed legacy of beautiful and happy memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Please, let's keep in touch!



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