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My husband died on April 7th.  He'd had kidney failure and heart problems, but things were going okay.  Then out of the blue his blood pressure started dropping.  After a couple of weeks he let me take him to the doctor. That was March 27th.  They admitted him and on April 4th they said there was nothing more they could do for him, his heart was just not pumping strong enough.  I took him home Wednesday afternoon, both of us thinking he just needed a little extra time for his heart to get a little stronger with the new meds - that's how it always worked.  But not this time.  The last words he said to me were "its an emergency, I need help" and me holding his hand telling him I loved him and I was helping him, but not doing one darn thing cause their was nothing anyone could do to help.  My last words to him were a lie...

I was with him for 34 years, since I was 19 years old.  We did dialysis at home, I was by his side through kidney failure, a transplant, transplant failure and back on dialysis, when he was in coma for a month after he first had heart problems 4 years ago.  I was with him, working side by side to get him strong again after every set back, but at the end I feel like I failed him, even though my logic tells me I didn't - my heart can't hear my head.  I keep seeing him lying in bed, not breathing, waiting for me to make it better while I just stood there stupidly...

I think I was actually handling it better a week after he died vs. now, almost a full month later. I've read some of the posts and that seems kind of normal for some people.  Not sure that helps though - I still feel like I'm the only one going through it. Selfish I know, we have children also hurting.  They are grown, and I've leaned heavily on them for the last 3 weeks.  But they had to go back to their lives and families and now its just me, where it used to be we.  Need to get some perspective.  If anyone has any words of wisdom that do NOT include you did everything you could, or it was just his time, please do share.

oh my goodness, Leeky. I am so sorry for all you've gone through and the pain you are in now. 

I believe we are almost the same age.  I married at 19 and was married 34 years. My  husband died rather suddenly on June 2, perilously close to a year ago already. (on my birthday)

Yes, I do think we mainly seem to do better early on, while the numbness is more pervasive, and it FEELS like we're doing ok when we're just doing.  Then everything starts to sink in, and we have time to dwell on the myriad questions that pop up regarding what we did, what we're going to do, how did this HAPPEN, etc. Then it gets really rough.  I'm sorry to say that in my experience and from what I've read, the worsening happens in waves for a while before it starts to feel more doable.

I think guilt is almost (ALMOST. there are exceptions to everything) universal. We all can find a reason to know we did not do what we could have/should have, etc.  It serves the purpose of giving us a focal point of blame, but it's misdirected. We wish we could change the end result, of course, but we can't. And even if we could go back and redo, we really don't have that much power to make the universe do what we want.

Your final moments with your husband let him think he had a chance. That was a mercy.  You acted in love. He knows now, more than ever, and completely understands and forgives anything there is to forgive (I don't see anything to forgive in those moments you describe, for what it's worth!).  You must now forgive yourself and that is the very hardest act we face, really. Forgiving ourselves for our humanity.

I wish you peace, comfort and strength!


I am so sorry.  I do not have words of wisdom. Never had any. I did the same thing with my husband. I did my best to let him think that things will all work out. When he failed his stem cell transplant, I did not raise alarm in the doctor's office and he did not react to the fact that the procedure did not work. I wished silently for a miracle while understanding that there may be none. He became so dependent on me for hope that I just had to keep a strong presence. I believe that we would do anything for those we love, even if we are a little deceiving at times, to spare them pain.  I do not believe there is any way that I could have looked at him and tell him that there was no hope.  I lied too... . Life can be hard,   it can be good, along with being great. We trudge along.

So so sorry for your loss.  From my own personal experience (my husband died 08/08/2016), I found that I was absolutely NUMB for about 3 months. I started to come out of it.  I was attending a secular grief group, which helped a little.  However, after 3-4 months, it began to lose its effectiveness.  I didn't want to do a church group because I did not want to get into a denominational thing.  It has been a complete emotional roller coaster.  Sex managed to insert its ugly face into this quagmire & I was taken totally advantage took me a couple of months to figure out that all I was really looking for was COMFORT.  Is that so tough?  No, it's not, but so many people are incapable of giving that.  Oh well.  I'm finding that it's a process Letty, like everything else in my life.  We're all different.  I was with my husband when he took his last breath & I kept seeing him gulp that last one out.  It was terrible.  About the only positive thing I can say about that experience (which I do still relive) is that I lost my fear of death.........yes, I'm a person of faith so I do believe he & I will be reunited spiritually.  Anyhoo - you hang in there.  It will get better.  I don't think I'll ever get over it, but I don't the pain will be as intense.  Best to you dear one.

Hi Leaky,

So Sorry you are here, but believe me, this is the right place, it has saved me (so far). My girlfriend of over 30 years, Arlene, had kidney failure also and was a dialysis patient for her last 30 months, also with heart problems. She suffered her first heart attack, while on dialysis on Christmas Eve day 20112. We couldn't do home dialysis because we had become displaced because of issues from Hurricane Sandy and she didn't sleep in our house for her last 23 months. I know how stressful it can be being a caregiver to a dialysis patient with heart issues. On June 2nd 2015 she was in a nursing/rehab facility and had a heart attack that triggered a stroke, I just missed seeing it by 10 minutes. She was in a coma for 8 days, and then on June 10th, 2015, she went into cardiac arrest, was brought back and then went into cardiac arrest again and after the medical staff in ICU worked on her for almost an hour, was pronounced dead at 3:55 PM. 

Arlene passed a month after turning 62, 7 days before were would have known each other for 35 years and a month before we would have been "US" for 32. Sunday is her birthday, the 5th anniversary of the last birthday she spent outside of a nursing/rehab or her grave, which I visit 6 days a week (She was  Jewish and the cemetery she is in is not open on Saturdays). 

I wish I had some words of wisdom, but coming up on 23 months, I fear I do not, I have at least one meltdown a day and hate waking up in the morning and going home at night. I always feel likeI have an anvil on my chest. What I can tell you is that I will not follow my father's example and crawl into a bottle as my father did after my mother died or just hide in a hole. 

I don't have anything major to add to what Nance just said.  

My words of wisdom are this:  THIS IS ALL NORMAL.  When it first happens, you are numb.  The numbness can last a week, a month, even six months.  The problem is when it wears off, the pain starts, and it is often after all your friends have decided you are OK and they can go about their business.

Those of us who have dealt with these medical issues at the end DO "woulda shoulda coulda" a lot.  I am not going to bore you with my story, but you can go to my profile and poke around...or you can read our story here, where it started out funny and turned tragic:

In my case I have second-guessed myself for 3-1/2 years...and I do it until my brain wins out over my heart.  As time passes, that happens more and  you gain a certain amount of peace with it.  I'm not sure you're ever 100% at peace with it, but it gets easier.  That is really the words of wisdom that I can pass along is that it does get better.  It is never the same but it gets better.  

I remember my husband's last two weeks in ICU more than I remember 30 years of marriage.  That makes me sad.  But it is a manageable sad.

Leeky, I'm so sorry for your loss.

You and your husband have been through a lot. My husband of 25 1/2 years passed just over 9 months ago after suffering from early onset Alzheimer's for about 5 years. Comfort for me comes from knowing that he's healthy and whole again. No more physical suffering for him is what gets me through. When I'm having those moments or days when missing him is unbearable, I pull out the memories of his worst day and very quickly... I'm able to be grateful that he's at peace.

When you need to cry... let it out, don't hold it back, don't ignore it by keeping busy. The more you let it out, the sooner that the gut wrenching despair phase will pass.

I started individual grief counseling for about 5 months before Rick passed and joined the hospice groups for about 5 months after. Being with others who are going through the same during those first months was so helpful.

Hello Leeky I'm so very sorry too. My husband died suddenly on march 6th. We were together 32 years. I understand what you say about handling it better some weeks than others. I'm afraid I don't have any words of wisdom I just wanted to say hello and send you a hug. I still go from disbelief that he doesn't come home from work to feeling numb, to howling like an animal then I have a calm day then a day where I'm even too sad to cry. I still feel a sense of waiting but for what I don't know. For the first 4 weeks I saw my son and his partner most evenings but the last few weeks I've been able to somehow be on my own with my dogs for company they keep me going. I love them dearly and so did Steve. Sometimes I feel more alone if I'm with people.
I feel I've muddled through each day somehow through the grief,pain, guilt and sadness and unbearable loneliness, and people's insensitive commmets. it's like a kind of torture but somehow we get through each day and some days are kinder than others. I still have an image of him going to work that Monday morning and him saying he would see me later but it wasn't him that I saw that late afternoon it was two police officers and I've been reliving that I think it's our brains way of processing the shock and sadness we keep going over every little detail.
Take care
Warm hug xxx
Hi Leeky, I am sorry for your loss. I'm sorry that we are all here, but reading others stories and their struggles has helped me to understand that my feelings are ok. I too was by my husbands side as he took his last breath. There are no words to express that absolute feeling of helplessness. We were married for 34 yrs and it wasn't long enough, it wasn't supposed to be this way. I lost him on 1/25. We too kept expecting this relapse to be like the others - a different kind of chemo treatment and back into remission. He'd survived a stem cell transplant 3 yrs earlier, so this shouldn't be as difficult as that - now I know how wrong we were. Each round of treatment takes its toll, bouncing back took a bit longer and was harder. He was having something done or recovering from a treatment all last year. Not once did he ever say, this is enough, I can't take anymore. He never gave up and I was there with him all the way. We did everything together in sickness and pardon the cliche, and in health.

Like all here, the we is now me. Well meaning friends and family want to help, but help what? They can't make us whole again. It still doesn't feel real and this can't be happening. But it is real and yes, it did happen. I think it hurts more now because in trying to return to a 'normal' life, the one you shared it with for so long is missing. Everything you do is altered. EVERYTHING. Everything requires a decision and the 'me' has to do it alone now. Yes, there is help out there, but they can't fill the void. Sometimes it's the simplest things, hanging up bathroom towels, tooth paste tube squished in the middle, things you did for each other, shared with each other, it's those silly, goofy, sweet, precious moments that are gone forever. This is my theory in why it seems to hurt more now. Maybe it's just a different type of hurt or maybe a hurt minus the numbness. I know they say time heals all wounds, so this time around, time will be our friend instead of our enemy and I look forward to the time when the memories will bring smiles instead of tears. I'm not sure if my reply offered any help but as others before us have mentioned, we will get thru this. One of the things I used to always say to my husband during the rough times - this too shall pass, this too shall pass.

Your comments about how you feel at losing your husband mirror my feelings exactly. I appreciate so much the offers of help but I keep saying "thank you there is nothing anyone can do at this point". There is no way to fix what is broken-to bring back what is lost and that is all I want. Finding the new "normal" is exhausting. I too am finding the pain to be different and more consistent now that the numbness is wearing off. I lost Steve March 2nd and I miss him more with each passing day. All those little things you mentioned can cause a fresh wave of grief to wash over me. Thank you for articulating so well how I and I suspect many others here, feel.

I'm Debbie.  I lost my husband, Jerry, last June.  We were married 27 years.  I've been with him since I was 18. We were going through the process to get a new liver but didn't get our happy ending.  I hope you are all organ donors.  We have 2 grown children.  I did not do any support groups or counseling; however, for the first time in my life I'm on medication.  I can't believe I'm here in this group.  I hate the W word.  I hope to connect with people who get it and don't say the dumb things people say while trying to comfort you. 

Dear debbiejerry1, like you, I lost my spouse (Tam) after having been together since we were young. It was sudden, unexpected and awful. After more than a year and half, I still cry and get pretty down. Reading the stories from others who have been through similar experiences though helps. I hope you feel free to contribute when you can and that you read as often as you wish. I've felt very supported by people here. My first experience of the W word was at my medical office that has automated kiosks. I put my card in and up came that word for apparent confirmation. I about collapsed. Try to find a place in your heart to forgive the idiot things people will say to you. They have no clue what it is like to loose a spouse and they also have no clue what it is to grieve. You are coming up on a year. This was hard for a lot of us. Please take care of yourself and feel welcome here. 


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