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Hello All:

My husband of 19 years at the age of 46 died suddenly on August 2nd of this year.  I have so many unanswered questions as to why this happened to him.  He was a good man, in relatively good health.  I am still angry with myself for not pushing him to go to the doctor since I knew he wasn't feeling totally wonderful.  We never think it will be the last time we see them, or we talk to them.  All I have been told so far is that it was not a heart attack.  I'm not sure how this process works, does someone call me when they have a cause of death or do I just get a notice in the mail?  My husband did not die at home, he was on his yearly golf trip with friends and they found him the next morning in his hotel room.  It makes me wonder, was he in pain?  Did he know he was going to die? Did it happen fast? Did he feel bad and just couldn't reach out to someone? I don't know if I will ever get the answers to some of these questions. I try not to obsess about them but my mind wanders especially when I'm alone, which is a lot now.  

I also have a ton of questions about other things with my new life now, How will I survive with two children on one salary? Should I force my kids to get into therapy? My worries are endless. Any pieces of advice anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

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Dear Teresa,

i am so sorry that you are going through this.

My husband also died during the night, his heart just stopped.And as you, I kick myself for not making the connection between his breathlessness, dizziness, lack of energy , with his heart. His death was 100 preventable, yet we did not prevent it, and this is killing me.

All I can say is that the probability that your husband did not suffer at all is very high. My husband died in his sleep, he did not know a thing. If his friends found him in bed, I can almost guarantee he did not suffer.And these tings do happen very fast, matter of seconds, so please dont torture yourself asking if he suffered. Either way, he does not suffer anymore and it doesnt help anyone you  tormenting yourself over this. And no, I dont think they knew they are gonna die, otherwise they would have reached out.

Be patient with yourself, your brain will slowly process this tragedy, so take your time and feel whatever stage you are in. As painful as it is, we do t have a choice.Hugs and love to you.

Me again.... I don’t know about New York but in Canada if you have a student in college under the age of 25 they will get money every month from Canada Pension (social security in Canada).  It’s possible your college child will have some benefits due to them until age 25.

Hello again TeresaNY, all fantastic replies, and a few more things for you. Yes, any children under 18 will get SS. If any are under 16 you will get some SS. You will need his death certificate, a certified copy of your children's birth certificates as well as a certified copy of your marriage license. Anything from a church they will not accept. If confusing, just use the website for the county where you were married, and the children born and you can find the info to request these for a fee.

Any credit cards where your husband is primary, once you notify them or they are notified, the cards are immediately closed. I live in AZ and the funeral director legally has to call SS about the death. I did on the day he died, not knowing this. 

I too found online a check list containing everything to do after the death of a spouse. My advice, do this, and then still write everything down. I still have at time widow brain, and totally forget something. I was amazed at the agencies that needed the death certificate (copy) to remove his name: car, house insurance, HOA, his American frequent flyer account, all joint bank accounts. I needed an original for the county recorders office to remove his name off the house title. I was told to keep that original with the paperwork I was given that day. I was told just incase it got lost in  their records, whenever I sold I would need this documentation. When you do your taxes this year copies of his death certificate are needed.

If he had life insurance, and any institutions where he had retirement accounts need to be notified, however they need a death certificate. So, I just got everything ready, checked off the items on the list and waited until the death certificates arrived.

I have also run across accounts that will not let me change to my name and remove his. I hope you have his passwords, as this just makes thing very difficult.

I hope all this helps



Dear TeresaNY,

My sympathies for your loss. I've been there! This thread already gave great advice on several of your questions so I'll just add two things:

1) There's a great checklist here:
Scroll down to the bottom of the page, enter your email address, and they'll send you the checklist. They haven't spammed me, and the list is really thorough.

2) I had a similar freak-out about the money, since my husband was the primary breadwinner and I have two kids with six years of college tuition payments ahead of me. I tried to turn my cost-cutting efforts into a positive, like I was proud of myself every time I could find a way to reduce expenses. I cancelled almost all our recurring subscriptions and services, slashed my cable and phone plans, rarely eat out now, and even traded in our two gas guzzlers for a little hybrid sedan which saves me $100/month just on gas and hundreds more on insurance. I think of it as a game - how much can I lower my electricity bill this month? Just think how much I'm saving on gym memberships by mowing my own lawn! That way it's not as depressing :)

Our Soaring Spirits web site offers help to the newly widowed. Here's a link to that page:

And here's a checklist that might be helpful:  Some Things to Consider

I participated in the Grief Diaries book "How to Help the Newly Bereaved" and these graphics can be helpful to pass along to friends and family.

Dianne in Nevada

I replied yesterday but one other thing I thought of was the frequent flyer points that he may potentially have.  They can be valuable so don’t tell the airlines etc that he has died.  If you have the passwords you can usually use them.  That’s what I did.   I found out the hard way about being a secondary person on the credit card and informing them and then the card being cancelled.  Luckily I had another card.  Then the gal at the bank did some financial footwork and got me a new one in my name only.  Because my husband was the primary breadwinner and the card got cancelled the bank initially told me I couldn’t get another card because I didn’t make enough money...We owned our home though so the bank got me a card based on that.


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