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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

I am a widow.

My husband Phil and I had been married 44 years when he died October 27th,2013 at age 62 . We had known each other since we were 12 years old.

He had been sick for about a year. He wasn't officially diagnosed with lung cancer until February of this year. He started out with a cold and cough that wouldn't go away since October of 2012.He had been on three rounds of antibiotics. He was finally convinced  to see a pulmonary specialist. The doctor ordered x-rays,then a cat-scan, then a PET followed by a bronchoscope biopsy. One week later he was hospitalized because of a lung collapse from the biopsy. We got the biopsy results while he was in the hospital. The doctors told us it was an early stage 3 and that because of the location inoperable. He started radiation treatments the same week.

Chemo started in April, once a week and radiation 5 days a week. He tolerated the chemo well but the radiation eventually wore him down. He was so exhausted he would fall asleep in his recliner every afternoon. He had a total of 36 radiation treatments. I continued to work throughout his illness,primarily because his treatments were on the same campus where I worked. I could drive him and take him home.

The 2nd PET was done in July. The oncologist was cautiously optimistic, meaning that because of the radiation there were still some dark spots that could not be ruled out. The oncologist  wanted to do have another PET in November after all the radiation had cooled down.

We took a vacation in August to our favorite beach destination which was also our favorite fishing place. Never thought it would be our last. We started making plans for my retirement in January 2014. Places we wanted to see,things we wanted to do. We started a list of possible destinations. We were so optimistic.

Charles starting coughing again in September,went to the pulmonologist towards the end of the month and had another x-ray done. It showed some pneumonia in the  lung. He took another round of antibiotics and began additional breathing treatments because he also had COPD and asthma. He never went back to the doctor. When I mentioned that he should see the GP because of the severe cough(sounded like he was coughing up a lung)  he would let me know the doctors had it handled.

He never really thought he would die so soon. Neither did I. Three weeks before he died he bought us a used fifth wheel camper.  He was so excited about it. You could hear it in his voice as he described it to me on voice mail. He brought it home 2 weeks before he died. 

October 26th was a normal day. I was not feeling well so he insisted I see the urgent care. We spent the day together doing nothing. He got me some hot and sour soup and basically nursed me. We added 2 more destinations to our trip list. We went to bed. My regret is that I didn't kiss him good night because I didn't want him to get my cold. I will always regret that.

I woke up Oct 27th alone in bed which was not unusual. He was always an early riser. It was around 7:40. I went into the living room,he wasn't there. I got some coffee from the pot that was still half full and still hot because it had not cut off yet. I sat down in the corner of the sofa, I never said anything to him. I heard video game music from the office from the game he liked to play. I got up and peeked around the corner. He wasn't at his desk but the bathroom door across the hall was closed. I sat back down and drank more coffee assuming he was in the bathroom doing his morning routine.

One of our three dogs pushed the bathroom door open just a little, I could see this from my seat. Phil never said anything. I got up from the sofa and pushed on the door as well. It would not open all the way. I pushed harder realizing as I'm doing this that something is horribly wrong. He is slumped against the bathroom wall. He had coughed himself to death. (Pulmonary embolism my doctor nephew said.) I will never forget the scene.

I called 911,the operator stayed on the line and she had me doing compressions. An officer came into the house and took over,then the paramedics came in and took me into another room. Resuscitation was not possible. I know they tried shocking him because I could hear it. They called his time of death at 8:45 AM.

How can so much happen in such a short amount of time? In a matter of minutes I lost my life companion, my best friend ,my lover, my soul mate. In a matter of minutes I am a widow.

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Comment by lizbeth4 on May 18, 2014 at 2:55pm

Hi Deborah,  I am sorry for your loss.  My Husband died from lung cancer March 12, 2013.  He was 57 years old.  We were married for 30 years.  We had 2 months from his diagnosis to his death.  He was in the hospital half of that time and was reduced to walking with a walker, weak, and staying in bed most of the day.  He went from a robust man to a 90 lb, frail man.  The images to start fading with time but they are images from his illness that I don't think will ever leave me.  I was able to take a early retirement a few years before he got sick.  We were waiting for 3 more years and then he would retired.  We had talked of getting a RV and traveling the U.S.  Now that dream is gone.  I am picking up the pieces but I will never have the old life again.  I am still trying to figure out what the rest of my life is going to be like.  I enjoy my family, especially my Grandson, and friends.  I hope that we all can find peace and happiness again.  Take care.

Comment by BESTBUDS1 [Norman} on February 23, 2014 at 10:47pm

Deborah i am so very sorry for your loss...I lost my soulmate on Dec 27 2013, and it is hard but , i do know it is different for everyone.....I am glad you have good support from family and friends and church....Grief is something we are not taught about, it seems that should be a class in school or college , at least a little groundwork on it....This is all so new to us and , yes it will take one day at a time , but knowing that one day we shall be together again is enough for me right now....All the words , all the voices saying this and saying that, but each of us have to deal with it in our own special way.....Some say it gets easier , some say it never does..I say it will if we will let it..I choose to be happy as i promised my beloved i would be, i just didn't say when i would be , as i still don't know the answer to that..but one day at a time and one memory at a time will get us through til we join hands again..I wish you Peace Love and Joy..By the way i am right down the road from you in Cumming..You take good care ....Norman

Comment by TWJ2013 on December 22, 2013 at 6:34am
Hello I am new to this group as of December 11th 2013. I lost my 37 year old husband. He was sick for a year but really fought hard and we did do some of our bucket list together and with our 3yo. I now don't know which way to turn. My parents are staying with me from australia. My native home. I have amazing friends and family but sometimes I just want to scream everyone leave me alone. Because I am constantly surrounded by people and it is all so raw. I don't feel like I have even said goodbye or had a proper cry.
Comment by Lynne on December 21, 2013 at 10:25pm

Hi there.  I'm hardly ever on here anymore but I saw this blog post and just wanted to drop you a quick note.  I lost my husband in March 2012 and we'd been married almost 41 years and he was 61.  We'd known each other since I was 14, engaged at 16 and married at 19 - so I felt a certain resonance to what you wrote.  My husband died suddenly, from a completely unexpected massive heart attack.  I kissed him good-bye that morning, on my way to my office, and never saw him alive again.  It's such a bizarre thing, isn't it?  All the plans and the future that you simply never envisioned without him - gone in an instant.  I am so very, very sorry for your loss and just wanted to tell you that because I well know what you're experiencing.  Wishing you all the best and much peace and healing when it comes.  Lynne 

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