Hi, Lindi...what a shock that must have been. I understand what it is like to lost a husband when neither of you is easy to live with. We were kind of the same way. Numbness is a kindness that nature does to us in the beginning. It helps us take care of logistics that need taking care of. I am nearly 4 years into this journey, and it has gone by like a flash. It does get better. It never goes away, but it gets better. And pets help.
My name is Sally. First of all, I’m so sorry to know that each of you reading this is also widowed. I, too, have suffered a great loss. Hopefully we can provide some sort of support for each other as we struggle through our grief and try to find our way out of this despair. I wanted to start by telling you a little bit about myself.
I am 53 years old. My husband, Mike (who was 56), passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on April 2. He had a massive cardiac arrest at home. I called 911 and performed CPR while waiting on the paramedics. It was an awful scary experience that I am struggling to cope with. I question if I reacted quickly enough and performed CPR correctly. But I know I did the best I could and tried my hardest. Even though the paramedics worked on him at my house, in transit and at the hospital, in my mind, he actually passed away at home with me. It’s just a feeling I had and I just knew he was gone. He was my best friend. He and I did everything together and we were just venturing into the empty nester's stage in life when he passed away. Our boys are 22, 23 and 24. Actually our youngest was living with us at the time Mike passed away, but he had plans to move out in August. Since his passing, my 2 oldest have moved back home with me. So the 4 of us are living together again for a period of time. This has been a tremendous help to me and all of us really. We are supporting each other through our grief. While I know it's temporary (as they are ready to venture out and live independently), I am soaking up all that I can for now.
I have gone through several stages of grief. Denial, bargaining, anger and unfortunately have recently settled into depression. I struggle to remember what I used to do with my time. He was always a part of each day. Now I feel lost. I have been having anxiety attacks. And I think they are mainly due to the fear of living alone for the rest of my life. I don't know how to get out of it some days. Other days, I seem to cope better. And I try to recall what made this or that day better than the others. What I determined is that fresh air and walking outside seems to bring me some relief. I used to regularly go to the gym and workout/jog before Mike passed. For some reason, I can't get the energy to get back into my old gym routine. So for now, I will forego the gym and just try to walk a little bit each day.
While the loneliness can be overwhelming at times, I try to get outside myself and help others cope. My circle of influence right now is my kids. So, I try to be strong for them and make plans with them often - especially on the weekends. We have gone on hikes, top golf, bowling and out to movies and dinners. I usually let them pick the movie or the place to eat. Even though I might not feel like going, I look at it as taking charge and helping them cope. (and it actually helps me too). This upcoming weekend all my boys will be out of town, so I was really nervous to be alone. So I took a chance and reached out to an old friend I haven't connected with since high school. It turns out she lives only 3 hours away, so I plan to drive over to spend with weekend with her. These are "firsts" for me to venture out on my own and take charge. It's scary for me to leave home really. But I’m going to try it. Life is scary right now. I know I'm going to have to push myself out of my comfort zone and put myself out there to meet people or reconnect with old friends. My kids are a source of strength for me and if I had it my way, they would never leave home. But that is not reality. So I have to push myself to discover my new life on my own. I've also thought about looking into volunteering somewhere. I haven't figured that out yet....
Again, I wanted to reach out and share my story. I do appreciate this site and those of you who are further along in your journey have given me strength by reading your posts. I think we just have to be strong and take it one day at time.
"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have." - Bob Marley
Hugs and love,
I feel I have to reply to you.
My husband of 69 also died suddenly & unexpectedly from a cardiac arrest at home 3 weeks ago today. He suddenly woke up unable to breathe and I also rang 999 (UK emergency service) and tried CPR on him screaming down the phone telling them to hurry up, but he never took another breath or regained consciousness. The paramedics worked on him for ages in our house where he collapsed and they said his pulse never returned
Like you, I feel numb and lost. We had just moved to our new house to be near our children and grandchildren- the carpets were due to be laid the morning Brian passed..On a positive, at least we chose the new furnishings together and he love being in this house near to the family.
The positive thing is our 29 year old son has become very close to me and visits for long periods over the weekend. We also talk much more deeply and have forged a new connection. The children (2 of our own and one step son) are helping and supporting each other through this. Another blessing is that Brian & I have a Springer Spaniel Daisy, who is a presence and something I have to walk 3 times a day. Without her, I don't know how I would have coped these last 3 weeks.
I think the answer is to keep busy and not let negative thoughts take over. I used to be very involved in politics and we are having a General Election here this Thursday. So I am keeping busy delivering literature and helping the party I support. I have grandchildren I look forward to seeing - our grandchildren- and I need to be there to help look after them and support our children. I cry on my own, but want to be strong for the family.
Like you, it's very early days and I think it takes longer to process the death because it was so unexpected! Just take it a day at a time. Try to not let negative thoughts take over. I believe our DHs are still around us and want us to live the rest of our lives to the full.
Coincidentally, two of my DH's friends passed away recently, so I share my feelings with the widows. The only difference is their husbands were ill beforehand and I have to cope with the sudden death shock.
Be thankful you have your children around you and please don't try to think about the future too much. A day at a time and be kind to yourself.
Big ((hugs)) to you Sally..
Thank you Linda! I appreciate your reply. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. You sound very similar to me. We know we have to be strong, focus on the positives (the silver linings - like closer relationships with your children) and take it one day at time. You sound like a very strong person. I'm glad you have children, grandchildren and friends nearby (even recent widows in similar situations). Stay strong and positive. Good luck on your involvement with politics. Definitely keeping busy is a good thing. Hugs!
Unfortunately it seems as if our situations were similar :(
I was 49 and my husband, Mike, was 54 (He would have been 55 in less than 2 weeks) when he had a massive heart attack and died suddenly on a Sunday morning in August 2013. While we didn't have kids together, we did have children around the same ages.
I know the 'lost' feeling well, my husband and I did everything together and even though we met and married later in life, he was part of my every day too. Grocery shopping was incredibly hard for the first year.
I'm so sorry for your loss and that you have to be here.
Hugs to you
Thank you, Kathie! I appreciate your response and support. Our situations are similar. I also struggle going to the grocery store without him. Sounds so silly, but some of those little things can really be lonely and scary. I too am sorry for your loss. Hugs. - Sally
I agree. I had a bit of a cry when I went shopping and realised I was only shopping for one. Also because there was no need to buy Brian's favourite foods. As you say, it's the little things that affect us
I have that Bob Marley quote hanging in my kitchen and read it everyday. It gives me strength. Blessings to you.
It is powerful, isn't it? Hugs and Blessings to you as well.
I went through the same stages and seem to be stuck in the depression mode, I think mostly because we also did everything together, worked, played etc. I am 49 and my husband did not die suddenly, I knew it was coming as did he. HE welcomed it, he was just waiting on Jesus. Anyhow, with that being said, exercise is my saving grace. I work out a lot and if I don't,the depression consumes me, I also see a Grief counselor as does my 14 year old. My kids are a huge distraction, but the only thing that helps me cope with my emotions is the gym and running. Keep that up, get a great "sweat" on, it really helps. You are just a month in and it does get better, lighter, easier to cope with although I can't seem to get over my loneliness. I am sure that we will all find a comfortable, new normal, eventually. It is nice to know that there are women hear who are of a similar age.