The love of my love, my first love, and husband, Bob, passed away on Saturday morning. I am at a loss on how to cope. I've never had to experience death or pain like this before. I was searching online for tips on what to do, how to grieve, etc and came across this board.
Our story - we met over 7 years ago when I was newly moved to Maui and attended a party. I didn't know anyone but wanted to get involved in a community of like-minded individuals and met Bob. I was attracted to his warmth, his laugh and easygoing attitude and had no idea he was about 25 years old than me until a few weeks later. We talked a little at the party but that was about it. Over the next few weeks, life and the community kept throwing us together and so I took the chance and met with him one evening where we spent the night talking, laughing and having fun. I was hooked from our first kiss and soon I was spending every night and weekend with him (I would drive 1.15 hours each way every night and drive the same every morning to get back home for work) Our friends in the community and his family were very welcoming and supportive of our relationship but my family (who all lives on the Mainland) rejected the idea and so for the next 7 years, our relationships have been tenuous at best. I wound up moving in with him about 7 months after we met as the job I moved to Maui for came to an end. I didn't want to leave Maui, and him, so he told me to just move in with him and I never looked back. Over the years, we built a life together, a home with two cats and a business. He had been married twice before and had grown children and I was not interested in having children or even getting married so we just enjoyed our life as we made it. We had our rough times and good times, ups and downs, we worked hard and played hard. At some point we decided to get married legally - I already refereed to him as my husband (our age difference made saying "boyfriend" strange) and we were planning on moving to the Mainland and taking our business to the next level - being married made everything easier. Plus, I loved him. He loved me. We were happy and planned on spending the rest of our lives together. We married in August 2013 in Las Vegas - the quickest drive through wedding ever Neither of us wanted a big fancy wedding or tons of people so it suited us perfectly.
We planned on moving to Oregon on December 25th, 2013 and made plans for his mother and youngest son (19) to move with us so we could all work a little less and live a better life with less stress. On December 6th, my love starting feeling bad and went to the Dr's who said he had bronchitis, gave him some meds and said to come back in a few days if he still wasn't feeling well. For 54, Bob was in decent shape - he smoked but didn't drink, was active and the only medical issues were high blood pressure/cholesterol but he was down to one functioning kidney. About 2 years ago, he passed some sort of twig like thing when urinating but by the time we got in to the kidney specialist, any signs/symptoms had disappeared. Scans showed only kidney was functioning and the Dr said “if it (the bad kidney) doesn’t hurt or you don’t have any issues like urinating blood, etc then we will just leave it in” Looking back, I should have pushed for more details on what could happen if we left it in. On December 10th, Bob was complaining of his stomach and side hurting him badly. He is not one to complain too much about pain so when he asked me to take him to the ER, I knew it had to be serious. Turns out his gallbladder was inflamed but it soon became the lesser of the evils as within 45 minutes of the first IV drip, he developed an aneurysm that threw a blood clot to his leg and during scans, the Dr’s found fluid around his heart. He was rushed into emergency surgery to tie off the clot and drain the fluid but came through both fine. The put him in a medical induced coma for a 24 hour period so they could be sure he didn’t move, meds were pumped into him and he began to rest and recover. Seeing him asleep with a breathing tube in him was one of the scariest things I had ever seen but I didn’t realize it then, that he would only be with us another 6.5 weeks.
After the surgery, he was transported to Oahu to recuperate and have additional testing done. He spent two weeks there and finally came home on Xmas day. While he was there, I flew back and forth from Oahu to Maui as we had two businesses to run and so much to do. While in the hospital, cancerous cells were found in the fluid around the heart and CT/MRI scans showed that the cancer had spread to his lungs, lymph nodes and adrenal glands. They saw small suspicious masses in the kidney area but were afraid to do any biopsies in case he threw another blood clot and had another stroke (when he work from the medical coma, he had had 3 or 4 small strokes that damaged his peripheral vision but that seemed to be the only thing they affected) The Drs wanted to treat the cancer as renal cell cancer and continue to try to figure out where exactly the cancer was coming from (we thought the bad kidney but signs showed it could be from somewhere else in the body)
I thought, “Cancer, we can beat cancer. We’re strong, we can do this” Bob came home to recuperate, gain his strength back and get ready for chemo on Feb 1st. From December 25th through Jan. 21st he slowly started going downhill. He had a couple good days and I was eager for him to get back to the Bob we knew and loved. He was lethargic, tired, had very little appetite and was loosing weight each week. Some of this I thought was due to depression but looking back, they were all signs that things weren’t ok. I pushed him to get better and in doing so, we fought a few times, some hurtful things were said and now, I wish to God I could take them back and had just spent those last weeks loving him completely with no harsh words exchanged. He began to have memory loss, lack of concentration and signs of dementia so quickly we all thought it had to do with his medications (he was on 12+) and so we waited to see if the Dr could level them out before we finally made him get admitted to the hospital last Weds. He had lucid moments and I cried when he couldn’t remember his name. Indications pointed to high levels of two meds in system just needing to be flushed out and hopefully things would return to normal. After 24 hours and no signs of his memory coming back full force, the Dr’s said an MRI was in order. He was unable to hold still as he was so fidgety and agitated that after several attempts, Adavan and strapping him down, they would up having to give him a strong sedative and put in a breathing tube just to get the MRI. We were told that he would be able to be taken off the breathing tube once the sedative wore off and they could get some more scans without him fighting the nurses.
On Friday evening, we (myself, his mother, 2 daughters, sister and friend) were waiting in the ICU waiting room for him to come back from the MRI so we could finally figure out what was wrong. At about 8:30pm we heard those dreaded words over the intercom system “Code Blue, Code Blue, ICU” We rushed to the ICU door, looking through the window to see where the staff was rushing to and my heart stopped when they ran to his room. They were able to revive him with CPR and epinephrine. The paddles were brought in but not used and he was fighting the breathing tube. All those were good signs in the grand scheme of things. The Drs didn’t know what caused his heart to stop – the MRI went fine and they were just arranging his lines and getting ready to let us back in to see him when he coded. Over the next several hours his condition became critical – there was a marble sized mass in his brain that was probably cancerous and was pushing against the parts of the brain that affected his memory, personality, etc which explained the past few weeks/days. He coded for a second time and again, was brought back without the paddles but his liver was failing and soon, so would the rest of his body. The nurses made him comfortable, he was in no pain and he had less than 1% chance to turnaround. His blood pressure was so low it was not life sustaining. They maxed him out on all the meds but nothing was working. We begged him to hold on till the last few members of the family showed up so they could say their goodbyes and we decided it would be best to let him go, peacefully. He was so strong, he loved many and many loved him. He is the best person I’ve ever known and our life together is something I will always cherish. He taught me so much and for so many things I am grateful to him.
We had 6.5 weeks together from the time he went into the hospital to the day we let him go. I have so much guilt and remorse from fighting with him and being angry when he could no longer urinate without getting it over the bathroom. I am angry with myself for not doing more, making him go to the Dr’s more, being pre-occupied with work. I laid down last night thinking of killing myself because I didn’t want to be without him. I’m scared of being lonely. I miss his hugs and kisses and him calling me “baby”. I would give anything and do anything to have just one more hour with him. I wish we had gotten him to the hospital sooner. I cry or am on the verge of tears all the time. It’s hard to breath sometimes. I’m scared. And I miss him so much it hurts. Everywhere I look, I see things that remind me of him. I cried on him at the hospital, told him I loved him more than he would ever know and that I wanted him to go without pain. Typing this out helped a little – everyone asks what they can do to help me and the only thing would be if someone could bring him back. What do I do? How do I get through this?