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Hi everyone, I am new to the group.  My husband Tom died of sudden cardiac arrest on November 23rd of this year.   He slumped over in his recliner while watching TV.  I called 911 and did CPR, but it did no good.  He was brain dead.  He was an organ donor and saved 4 people with his gift of life. 

We were married 20 years and together for 24.  He was young, only 46 years old, and I am 43.  We have 3 daughters, ages 19, 16 and 13.  I am still in a state of shock.  I cry all the time, the smallest things will set me off.  He had no signs of illnesses or signs that something was wrong with his heart. 

He was my love and my best friend, and now he is just gone.  Here one minute, gone the next.  I never got to say goodbye. I don't know what to do.  I work full time, and thank goodness my employer had been wonderful and supportive through my grieving process.  I just don't know what to do, I feel so lost without him.  I am lonely.  I want to hear his voice, give him a hug, tell him I love him, and I can't. 

My girls have been a great support for me, as have my friends.  His family has been great too,  I don't have any family except 1 sister who lives out of state (my parents are both deceased, my dad in 2004 and my mom in 2015, both to cancer). I can't figure out how to go on, how to look forward to the future.  I am not suicidal, but I just don't want to exist without him.  I am staying here for my girls, but it is hard.  I am seeing a counselor, so I am hoping it helps.  I just feel like my life has completely fallen apart. Thanks for listening.

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Im sorry never is enough to say. There are no words except all my love to you. My husband Joe was 41 and had a heart attack and it was Good Friday, april 2017. I understand because in some way i died,along with him. The fact that you reached out to tell your story, that is huge. I couldnt do it so quick. I just recently began with my 4th counselor, i keep trying and so will you. Take the support, step back when you need to, listen to you and what you need. My mood and feelings spiral up and down as the day goes, i am lonely and lost and still dont understand but we keep trying. There is no real sense to any of it but people here do listen. 

Hi Kmelli,

I'm so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Tom.  My husband, Matthew, died suddenly two and a half years ago at the age of 48, so I know exactly how you're feeling and what you're going through. You've been through a traumatizing event and are in shock.  I spent months and months having flashbacks of when I saw him lying on the bathroom floor (he wasn't home when he passed away ) and I still experience them sometimes. Is that happening to you? Both my parents are gone as well, and I really wouldn't have survived without my two sisters.  Although I went back to work two weeks after he died, I felt almost comatose.  and I'd have to go into the ladies room at least two times a day to cry. But I must say that I"m thankful I had work to keep me busy - if I hadn't, I would still be unable to get out of bed in the morning.

While my friends and colleagues were supportive, they really couldn't comprehend the pain I was experiencing.  I was a relatively young widow -- nobody I knew had lost their husband so young. Nobody. It made me feel extremely isolated, alone and almost like an outcast or a "freak." And nobody knew what to say to me. I know people aren't comfortable dealing with death and grief, but I so wanted them to ask me about Matthew - who he was, what he meant to me,  but it was like they felt (and still feel) like if they mention him or ask me how I'm doing I might remember that he died.  It's very strange.

After he died, I read book after book about spousal loss and immediately found a grief counselor. After about 6 months,I decided to join a grief support group. While all of the women in the group were older than I and had been married for 30 years or more (I was a virtual newlywed and married only 3 1/2 years) it was extremely consoling and comforting to be around supportive women who were grieving and who understood my loss.  If you can find a support group in your area, I highly recommend attending a session - you may find it very helpful. 

I'm sure the holiday season only compounds your pain. If you need to talk or want any recommendations for books or other resources, please feel free to contact me.  

All my best, Kim

Dear Kmelli3,

Firstly, please accept my most genuine and  sincere condolences for your great loss.  Sadly, I know all too well what it is like to lose your husband unexpectedly and, to a cardiac arrest.  My husband had just turned 51 a couple of weeks before his heart attack at work.  I received a call at 10 minutes after 10pm and thought he was calling me, as usual, to tell me he was on his way home so that I could heat something up for him. Unfortunately, it was a paramedic asking me if I was his Mrs. and explaining what was happening.  I asked if he was alive and if he was breathing and the response was that they were working on him.  They did not know what hospital they were taking him to so, I put the receiver down but did not hang up.  I told them that I was getting dressed and packing a few things so that I could meet him when they knew what hospital they were taking him to.  After nearly 10 minutes, they gave me the name of the hospital and I ran downstairs to get a taxi.

Thankfully, I got a car right away but, it was the longest ride ever.  I kept telling the driver to please get me there as soon as possible because my husband had just had a heart attack and was I the hospital.  As soon as I saw the hospital from the car, I told the driver to stop and simply ran into the emergency room.  I told them who I was and asked where my husband was.  They brought me to a room and I saw two of his colleagues on my way in.  A doctor a nurse and a few others were in the room with me and the doctor started to explain things.  I stopped her and looked at everyone and asked, if there was anyone in that room that could tell me if my husband was alive and if he was breathing.  One nurse had a tear stream down her eyes as she shook her head know.  It will be five years on February 12th, since my darling husband passed and I still get emotional thinking about it and even typing the words on this post.

I woke up next to my husband that very morning and the next time I saw him he was on a gurney in a hospital and gone.  I sat behind a curtain while he lay on a gurney until they brought a priest in to read him his last rites.  Security and nurses came by to say that they had to put his body in the morgue and I told them that I was not leaving my husband's side until a priest read him his last rites. Thankfully, the officer understood and realized I was not kidding.  It took a few hours but sometime after 3 in the morning, one of his colleagues finally brought a priest in.  The hospital attendants had already wrapped his body and covered his face and, when I saw the priest was about to bless him over the material, I undressed his face and told him to bless him properly. 

It seemed incredible to me that just one day earlier, my husband and I were discussing what to do on Valentine's Day weekend.  We were also planning to go to the Finger Lakes for the Easter Holiday but, I ended up visiting my parents instead.  I couldn't do enough fast enough and felt utterly lost for a very long time.  It's been nearly five years and it is not an easy journey.  It is unique to the individual and only you can travel it.  Moreover, there is no map.  It is a road with many twists and turns and, just as you may feel you are getting more settled and making headway, something will trigger a memory that may bring you back to day one.

You may have already experienced this but, don't be surprised if people say inappropriate things that get you upset.  It's difficult for people to communicate when it comes to death and sometimes, instead of simply listening, they may say the wrong things.  Even my own mother did not know what to say to me.  She simply wanted to fix things and this was/is not fixable.  Grief is not something that you simply "get over."  With time and distractions, you simply learn to put the pain a little further within yourself so that you can function.  There is no right or wrong and you must be gentle with yourself and take the time to grieve.  

As for a couple of my own examples, I walked to and from work each day when I went back after taking a break.  I live nearly 2 hours by foot each way to and from work and would walk over a bridge that separates Queens, NY from Manhattan, NY.  It's been nearly five years now and, while I am better able to function, not a day goes by that I don't miss him dearly.  I still wear my wedding rings and his and have no plans or intentions of removing them.  We were married for more than 22 years and together for nearly 30.  It is my prayer and wish that I will see him again, along with other loved ones, when the end of my own journey arrives.

I do not intend to push my beliefs onto anyone but, a friend and a priest once expressed to me that, "There is no way out, only a way through."  It is only a matter of time and we each have our own journey.

Please feel free to friend me, if you choose, and I will gladly accept.  Also feel free to send me messages, ask me what you like or, simply type away and let it out.

Nieta thank you. Your story made me think of me, and ok i am still grieving so terribly and its so true. I am just now understanding that taking the time to grieve, being gentle with myself, its so necessary to survive.

Beautiful i am still new here and within the past week or so the strength i have already received is amazing.kmeli3 just keep reading and reaching out.

I’m so sorry to read your story.  It’s so sad.  May God comfort you and those around you.  If you need anything I’m here.  

I'm so sorry, Kmelli3. If it helps at all, everything you're feeling is normal. My husband died suddenly as well, and it's so shocking and unbelievable. We were getting ready to go on a vacation. How could he die when we had plane tickets? 

I was actually thinking like that. He can't be dead because he has a dentist appointment and a suit at the cleaner.  I didn't know what to do, I didn't know what to think, I didn't know how to be without him.

You will get through this, and as hard as it is to believe now, it does get easier. Be sure to take care of yourself; try to rest as much as you can, eat well. We tend to forget those things when it's all we can do to keep breathing.

Please keep in touch. There are wonderful people here who understand how you feel. We are all here for you.

Sending you my heartfelt condolences.

Kmelli3, I am so very sorry for your sudden loss. A loss like this is so difficult, with no warning and no prior preparation, emotionally or otherwise. I'm so glad his family has been a support to you. Most importantly, your daughters and you always have each other to cling to for support.

Please accept my deepest sympathies. This is a new journey none of us chose, but we ended up here.

I wish you and everyone here a peaceful holiday. I think that is the most we can hope for.

Kmelli3 -

So proud of you for going to counseling!  It does help....I feel the same way as you.  I know how hard it is but I don't want to give up hope!

Kmelli3, I'm so very sorry for your loss. My husband, Tom, also experienced this at home 4 months ago. I was also not able to save him.  We were married 38 years with no kids. I sought grief counseling within days of his passing, as I did not have the skills to cope. I had great advice from a friend, who lost her daughter at age 19 in a car accident.. When I told her I was looking at the different "grief" counselors listed here online, she said she could not do a group setting. She did go but could not talk. Her suggestion was try individual, and IF THEY ARE NOT THE RIGHT FIT MOVE ON TO ANOTHER. I was so fortunate that the woman I found and am still going to is a a compassionate bereavement care certified provider for traumatic grief/loss. Yep, all she does is grief counseling, nothing else. I asked her last week how difficult I thought her vocation was. Marie agreed, but after the death of her son, and other family members she felt the calling to help with grief/loss. I have real work she makes me do. It is all so hard, this great loss. Different everyday, but also the same, they are gone forever. 

May I suggest reading  Its Ok You're Not Ok by Megan Devine It totally deals with the first year of loss.

May I suggest reading  The Wilderness of Grief Finding Your Way  by Alan D. Wolfelt, PH.D.

May I suggest watching TED Talks on grief, death of a spouse      They do help, first everything you experience we all do, and no you are not crazy.

I have 3 pen pals from widow village. We are all on this horrible journey. 1 I hear from the most on the east coast, as I'm in Az. Just this week she sent me some info 

on David Kessler and Pesi, Inc. He does grief sessions online, I was able to watch his free video on navigating the difficult terrain of grief and  the holidays.

I've watched it 3 times now. 

But my biggest help is from another widow from widow village. First I responded to her blogs, we progressed to finally exchanging phone numbers.  We live almost on different coasts, but We experienced the exact same things with the loss of our husbands, only hers was in July and mine in August. Both married 38 years, her kids grown and gone. We talk on the phone almost every night. We laugh, and cry together. Telling our stories about our lives, which you so need to do. Our husbands were so much alike its scary. Hers was 56, mine 71 and yes both still to young.  I'm not disturbing her life nor her mine as we get what each other is going through. I have someone to talk to, now that  the person who I always talked to is gone. My counselor had me initially "start" a village. 

8 friends, 4 whom I felt closest, 4 as backup that I had to talk to everyday about Tom. So difficult to say the least. You do feel like you are intruding in their life. 

Since my east coast  friend and I started talking every night, I have not had to contact as much my village. I still have friends who text everyday and inquire how my day was. This week for me has been hard, I guess getting to close to Christmas. I received a letter in the mail Monday night telling  my friend and CPA in Ca had died Dec. 11. I had an appointment Feb 2019 to fly to Ca and get our taxes done, caring all the paperwork and the death certificates with me. He was our friend for 37 years, and when Tom died he wrote me the most compassionate, heartfelt letter. It was read at his funeral. I talked to him in early November. So, at my grief counseling on Tuesday, as I could not stop crying, Marie said I had gone back into complex grief. One grief on top of another. Another death to close to Tom.

So, yes this grief journey is complex and ever changing as you navigate it.

Cry, as you need to release the built up sadness. New word, grief burst when it just happens out of nowhere. 

Talk to him as I know he is there with you and you children. 

Find and start your "village" as you need the emotional support. 

Its said its the first's since they pass, first Christmas, etc. I say everyday is a first, and until I reach 38 years without him, then everyday will be a first.

My counselor told me something that really made my heart happy. Our anniversary is in October. Marie said we will always have our anniversaries going forward, its just he is in one realm, and I'm in another. 

To honor him I've had trees planted in the forests, and plan to write a message on balloons to release on specific dates. 

Hugs to you and your kids, everyone says it gets easier, so far I'm not there. Marie says the crying and pain never stop they just lesson. I'm also not there yet.

jlsrdh 

Kmeli3, all of you who have replied and offered advice and bools, i have watched ted talks on grief and loss as well, they are truly a help. Thank you all so much for sharing during this difficult time. It seems impossible but then another day passes i believe we all need to hang on to, towards hope. Jlsrdh, what you said about every day being a first until you reach 38 years without your Tom, thats beautiful and so true. I never looked at it like that but its really true. 

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