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Thanks, Monica.  I appreciate your encouragement to stay the course with exercise and the fact that it does get better, easier to cope with.  Hugs and blessing to you. 

My name is Jacqueline, I lost my husband on April 30. He died suddenly. My children and I found him in a pond on our property. He was trapped under a beaver dam cage. I am struggling greatly. I am trying to be strong for my children... I think the first weeks were shock, as it's mostly a blur to me and Im really uncertain how I made it through. My mornings and evenings are the worst. I hate waking everyday to know this is my new reality. It still all feels so unreal. I can hardly sleep at night I wake constantly with nightmares of not being able to get him out of the water. The cage still sits in the water the way it was when we found him. When ever we leave the house I have to see it and it gives to flashes of that day. My husband was 43.. I feel so angry that he's gone. We were on the brink of so many dreams ahead of us. Everything seems so stale and alone. I don't allow myself to show these emotions to the children... but the ache is so deep, it's ripping me apart inside and Im trying to cope, I just don't know how to move in this. I am happy to find a group of others who might understand my feelings in this pain. I pray you all find hope and peace in the midst of your sorrow and loss.

Hello, my name is Kelly. My husband of 30 years died 4 months ago (February 2) a week after being hit by a distracted driver as my husband was walking our dog in our neighborhood. It knocked him out of his shoes and he flew 20 feet. He suffered four broken ribs, and we thought he would heal after taking it easy for a while. Unfortunately, pneumonia set in a few days later, which led to ARDS (airway distress syndrome) and sepsis. I found him a week later on the floor of the bathroom. He woke up and was having a hard time breathing. The paramedics came, gave him oxygen, and loaded him in the ambulance. My husband was coherent until the ambulance doors closed. He went into cardiac arrest (apparently from the oxygen - shock to his system). They worked on him all the way to the ER and then some, about 30 -45 minutes. They finally got a heartbeat back, but the prognosis was dire. It was evident that he was brain dead because his brain was deprived of oxygen for so long, and I knew in my heart his quality of life was gone. He would not have wanted to live hooked up to machines longer than necessary. We took him off life support 36 hours later after our two girls and other family arrived. He died peacefully very quickly. He was only 51. I am 50. The ARDS and sepsis overtook him very quickly, and it was sudden. He hadn't even been coughing that much. We did everything we thought we should be doing to manage his injury, but the ARDS and sepsis snuck up on him. After researching, this is often the case. But.....I occasionally regret taking him off life support so soon. What if....What if he was the .05% that proved everyone wrong and eventually woke up and was his same old self? We were childhood sweethearts and we did everything together. He was the extrovert and I am the introvert, so we complemented each other nicely. I miss him everyday, but I am trying to move forward as I know he would want me to carry on. We have 2 adult daughters, ages 25 and 27, and I am trying to stay strong for them. I sold our house and moved to San Francisco to be closer to my oldest daughter and this has helped both of us. My youngest daughter lives in NYC and we visit one another as often as possible (there are many upcoming trips planned). My oldest daughter is getting married in August, and that is going to be hard (right up there with Father's Day, our anniversary, and his birthday - all still yet to come). I think he would be shocked to know how quickly he died and very sad that he left us to fend for ourselves. I did secure a teaching job for the fall, and it is helpful to have something to look forward to. However, I often find myself wanting to accomplish so many things in any given day, but managing to maybe get one actually completed. I have a vision for how I want my life to be, but I don't know how to get there. At times I feel like "yes, I can do this" but then at other times, I am scared, break out in tears, and doubt myself. I am hopeful for the future and I am looking forward to the time when I will have more "yes" days than "no" days. I am sad, but I am really facing his death head on. I think this is helpful. I am feeling the grief and working through it. There is no easy way around it. I did join a few widow Facebook pages, but found many of the posts depressing. I  feel so much for these women, but I can't live my life buried in sadness and grief 24/7. My husband would not want that for me. I want to honor his memory and continue his positive enthusiasm for life. 

Hi, Kelly...I am so sorry you have to be here and in such a devastating way.

Here is what I will tell you about removal from life support:  You will ALWAYS second guess yourself.  You will always wonder, "what if..."  I had to do this after my husband could not be withdrawn from anti-seizure meds (and he was on four of them) following a stroke that went into constant seizures.  He was not brain dead, but there was no sign of cognition.  He was on the vent for two weeks.  This is about as long as they will keep them on a vent without doing a tracheostomy and gastric feeding tube because otherwise infection sets in.  My husband at least had an advance directive, but I have always wondered because it is normal to do so.  Every time I read of a celebrity on a vent -- Bobbi Kristina Brown, Carrie Fisher -- to name a few -- I find myself hoping they will die because for them to recover means I may have made the wrong decision.  It is a horrible thing.  I play it over and over in my head and have done so for nearly four years.  I am more or less at peace with it, or as much at peace as I ever will be, but I just have to cope with the wondering.

I love your attitude and recognition that there is no shortcut through grief but that you do not want to be stuck in grief.  The bottom line is that this is the hand we've been dealt, and we can either stay stuck in a past and endlessly mourn the future that was taken from us, or we can use that blank slate to create something that's different but still wonderful in its own way.  Let the tears come, though.  They have to.  I have done these one or two minute crying jags for 4 years and then I take a short nap and go on with my day.  It works.

Don't be surprised if sometime this summer you hit a wall.  For me it happened at 9 months in.   For some it's earlier, but my informal tracking of this shows that the "hit" comes between six and 9 months after the loss.  Don't be surprised also if the second year is worse than the first.  Year three is when you really get back on your feet.  

You are doing well.  You are striking a good balance of grief and continued life.  You will get through this.

Thank you for your kind words. I think I actually already hit a wall somewhat. It was a few weeks ago when I was signing my next year's teaching contract at my new school in my new town with my new principal. It just hit me - all of the changes I had made in my life in recent months and how sad it all is because I would give anything to go back to the way things were. I felt a different level of sadness, regret, sorrow. Even though I am accomplishing the goals I made for myself after my husband died, I have felt different from that day forward. It has hurt more deeply (if that is possible) but I am able to face the raw emotions more fully. I want to grow from it and emerge a stronger person.

Kelly,

I am an hour from S.F., one of my favorite places to spend time in! Would love to get together, meet for coffee...etc. I am 49, will be 50 next month, it would be nice to meet someone my age that knows and understands.

Blessings,

Monica

Hi Monica,

I live in Foster City on the peninsula. It is north of San Jose and south of San Francisco. Where about are you in relation to me?

I live in Rio Vista, but I am from the Bay Area.  I am actually in San Mateo a few times a month as my siblings and parents still live there and the surrounding area. I know Foster City very well.

Great! Let me know the next time you are in town and we can meet for coffee. I am currently not working, so I am flexible on days and times.

Thank you for sharing your story Kelly... it pains me the heartache in our loved ones absence. I too have been trying to face his death head on. Somehow though I think I was stronger in the first weeks. Perhaps it was because so many people were around. Neighbours bless their hearts, but some were strangers and it was hard to be emotional around people we didn't know so well. People are fading now and we're left alone... to that I embrace solitude. However solitude is much different now without my husband around. My strength comes from knowing I have to do this for the children.. I hate they have to go through this. They are still so young.. ages 14, 10, 8. Seeing them break down is the hardest for me ... those moments I want to take all their pain away and fix it.. but I can't. I can only love them and try and guide them... but I feel blind in this. They need their Dad. Some days I manage better then others. I am trying to keep to routine, but there is still so much to do in the initial stages. Somedays I manage to hold my tears in and make the movement I need to and have to. Lately though my brain feels like a fog... I can't remember things, and movement is hard. I too want to get things in order, so I can just grieve with the children and take them away on a trip. We've never been to Disney land... and I thought we'd venture into a summer where I can show them that they can have fun still.. I know my husband wants us to be ok and to live life.  In this I am trying to honour him and be strong. Im trying.. it's so difficult. 

Hi Soul,

I am so sorry. Seeing and feeling your children's pain must be so much worse than your own.  this is devastating for young children.  I am very grateful (if one can be grateful for anything in this situation) that my children were grown. Still I saw the devastating effects on them especially my daughter. It has been almost six years and she has never visited the cemetery.  We were supposed to go to the grave on the morning of my son's wedding two years ago. She agreed to go but it rained so much that we could not. Maybe it was a good thing. I hope that you and your children have a great time at Disneyworld and that you find some peace.

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