2/2/17

when sudden death strikes


Whenever we hear of the recent, unexpected death of a celebrity it reminds us of the fragility of life and highlights the special challenges facing surviving spouses, family and friends.

If you’ve lost your spouse/partner to a sudden death or know someone who has, understanding the following tips from our book may help you cope:

1.) When death comes unexpectedly, it seems unreal, like a bad dream that will be over once you wake up. Expect this sense of unreality to persist for awhile.

2.) With any sudden death, there is almost always unfinished business: unresolved conflicts, words either spoken in anger or not at all, plans left unclear or incomplete. You’re cheated of the opportunity to put things in order before the finality of death.

3.) You may feel rage over the unfairness of what has happened.

4.) You have to struggle with a sense of helplessness as events following the death move you along with them. There is often a need to place blame somewhere.


With any sudden death, expect the mourning process to take somewhat longer than usual, as the shock of the loss is generally greater than with a death that was anticipated. Be gentle with yourself and take the time you need to grieve. Learn more in this excellent article by Barbara Paul, Ph.D., Reactions to Sudden or Traumatic Loss.

Please send us your thoughts and/or reactions.

64 comments:

paula said...

I lost my beautiful husband 8 weeks ago i dont know how i am coping it is like an outer body experience iget up try to keep so organized gettting things done that need doing i feel it is not normal how im functioning i think im doing it for my kids my husband died in his sleep sudden i dont know what to do with out him he made us feel so safe and secure Ilove and miss him so much.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Paula,

Thank you for sharing your experiences, which really express the reactions so many in similar situations go through.

When we're in such shock from what's happened, we do go on "automatic" just to make it through each day, especially when we have the responsibility of children.

As we often say, for now, not normal is normal.

We hope you have support from family and friends. If we can be of any further help, please let us know.

In any case, please keep in touch.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband yesterday. We had gone to dinner, came home and he sat down on the couch and died. Within one minute he was gone. We have 2 beautiful daughters, 10 and 12 years old and were only 2 weeks away from our 14th anniversary. I don't understand and honestly have not even really cried yet. How do we cope?

Laurie and Ruth said...

With a sudden unexpected death such as you're experiencing, you're probably in shock and disbelief right now.

Try to gather as much support from family, friends,neighbors, etc. as possible to get you through the immediate challenges.

Read our previous posts about helping children cope.

There are also online support groups(check out griefnet.com)that provide support for the younger widowed.

Please stay in touch.

We care.

mrs E said...

I lost my husband a month ago. took him into hospital on saturady at half 4 an he died at 11.45pm sunday all his organs failed on him. It all happened so quickly from 12 oclock sun. It feels like it will never hit me fully ever. I have good and bad days now were one day i want to talk about things and days i dont. i love an miss him so much we had only just celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary. We went through so much together i am 23 and my husband was 44 still settling into married life feels like i will never be whole again.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear mrs E,

As we say in our post, an unexpected death is in many ways harder to grieve than an expected loss.

Being very young when your spouse dies can also feel very isolating, since friends your own age probably have trouble relating to what you’re going through.

Check out support groups locally and/or online (such as GriefNet.org and YoungWidow.org).

Take care of yourself and please keep us posted. We care.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend/life partner died yesterday. He was 24, I am 22. We had been together almost 7 years! We were going to start a new lgrown up life together and get married. A car hit him! I am in shock I still feel like I'll hear him come on his bike. I wish his soul is transferred to someone else's body and he comes back some how. He was my family, my life!

Laurie and Ruth said...

To lose someone so special this young and this suddenly is shocking and will probably feel unreal for a while.

Are there any friends and/or family members who are able to offer support while you deal with your loss?

Please stay in touch and let us know how you're doing. Down the road, we may be able to offer some suggestions for getting through this.

We care.

Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband of 20 year, friend, lover, father of my six children four and half months ago. Two days before Thanksgiving. He was only 47 and he just never woke up after we went to sleep. Our last day together was a normal busy working day. We went grocery shopping preparing for our thanksgiving dinner when we came home from work. We came home watched a little tv and went to bed. The last thing I said to him was.. we have to stop working so hard. I wish now that I would of had the chance to tell him how grateful I was to have him. I blessed I was that we had six children together. I still wake up some mornings hoping that this was just a bad dream. I wake up and go through the motions of life for the sake of my children but there is an empty spot that nothing and no one can fill. Will this feeling ever go away? It is almost five months now.

Laurie and Ruth said...

With any sudden, unexpected loss, the process of mourning is always more difficult than with a loss that was anticipated. Please give yourself permission to take as much time as you need and try to trust yourself about what feels right for you.

Also, think back to those 20 years and remember all the ways you did show how much you appreciated your husband.

Love is more than a few minutes at a given point in time.

Please stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing.

Anonymous said...

my husband died 3 weeks ago and he died on his birthday. we were going out to celebrate suddenly he had chest pain and passed away within 15 min. i was there with my daughter. i still feel sad and pain. my sibling and friends said i have to move on and be strong for our 5 children. i know and accept but i still think this as a bad dream

Laurie and Ruth said...

After only 3 weeks, it's not surprising your loss still feels unreal. It normally takes longer for the reality of an unexpected death to
be mourned.

You mention that your family & friends are telling you to move on & think of the children. Of course your children are also grieving in their own ways, but DON'T try to rush or ignore your own pain & grieving process. Trust your own sense of what feels right for YOU and make time to grieve.

Let us know how you're doing.

Anonymous said...

My darling husband died suddenly, unexpectedly before my eyes 4 weeks ago yesterday. I loved him so very much. He was my soul mate. I am struggling emotionally with denial while intellectually, I know he has died. He was only 57. We were married 22 years. He was absolutely fascinating, interested in so much, so capable, and so entertaining. I adored being around him. Now, I am so miserable. I feel often as if I have been kicked hard in my stomach. I cry easily, but it upsets our 17 year old son and worries him, so I try not to around him when I can control it. I start with a counselor today so I do not wear out my welcome with friends and family. I am on leave from work for another week or so. I hope I can handle returning OK as I need income again. I do miss my darling husband so.

Laurie and Ruth said...

It's wise of you to get professional support at a time like this. While family and friends love us and try to help, their own reactions can sometimes become an issue.

You mention your 17 year old son. Is there a local teen bereavement support group in your area? You might ask your counselor for some recommendations.

Please keep in mind that a major loss, especially when it's sudden tends to complicate our ability to mourn, as we struggle to come to terms with the reality of what has happened.

Please let us know how things go.

Thank you for your thougtful comment.

Anonymous said...

I lost my wonderful husband and soul mate of 43 years wed, 46 years together, suddenly like the click of a finger, with a massive heart attack. He was a fit and well man, and we had a wonderful happy life together, and had 6 years retirement together also. As the months go past, the hurt and pain seem to get worse. My wonderful family are being strong for me, and I try to be strong for them, as they have lost a wonderful father and grandfather too. When you see couples holding hands, it hurts, I cant do that anymore. .I go to the supermarket, and pick up his favourite things. I miss his laugh, his smile, him teasing me. Nights are the worst, and as I climb the stairs, I know that I am alone, so alone. I ask each night to see him in my dreams but I cant. I kiss his pictures, and snuggle his pjs. I miss his arms around me, his lips to kiss.....I just want another day, another minute. He knew I loved him, I knew he loved me, we told each other every day. If I hadn't my family, I would have joined him...but I will be strong, I will always miss my soul mate, but with my memories, I will never lose him, as I carry him in my heart forever.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Thank you for your beautifully expressed comment. It truly comes from the heart.

Please keep in mind that while it's fine to be strong for your family, be sure to allow yourself time to do your grieving.

Take care of yourself and keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

My partner of 20 years died suddenly 2days ago. I am a very young 64. He was only 54. I was suffering from anxiety and depression when we net and if changed my life. My mum once said to me "he's the nicest person you have ever known". I Will cope . Its just so sad and I Will miss him like hell. Why do nice people die too soon .

Laurie and Ruth said...

Your question is one that we all struggle with, and eventually we find ways to make sense of it. Even when a death is expected, though, the reality of it can feel unfair. With a sudden loss, that feeling is especially intense.

Given your age difference, you may also have assumed you'd die before your partner, which can add to a sense of the "unfairness" of this loss.

You say it's only been 2 days since your partner's death, so you're probably still in shock.
Trust your own sense of what feels right for you and try not to rush into making any important decisions.

Please stay in touch and let us know if we can help with any supportive resources.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your heartwarming reply. Its a very sad time. His funeral was yesterday, 12 months to the day of his mum's funeral in the same parlour. And his dad died the day before his funeral. He had been seriously ill for a few days and his family chose to not tell him about my partner. They are wonderful and supportive of me , as well as my younger sister. I just needed to write all this down, and that is why I came to this blog . I think you are in the US . I am in Australia. I know there are resources here to help me . I Will pop back in in the future to let you know how I'm going. Thanks for listening.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Our hearts and thoughts go out to you and your partner's family. So many losses in such a short time must be very overwhelming.

We really appreciate knowing that we were able to provide some support at such a difficult time for you. Yes, we are based in the US, (California and Washington State), and are gratified to know our blog is reaching grieving partners all over the world.

Thanks for your wonderful comments and we look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Our warmest wishes to you and your partner's family.

Tarana said...

I'm glad to read that other have that sense of unreality...even when it is so evident they are gone. My husband of 39 years died suddenly 4 weeks ago, and some days I feel like I'm just waiting for him to get home from a business trip and other days I have a strange sense that he never really existed at all. He was here, then he was gone in just minutes. We have a 25 year old son and a 27 year old daughter who are taking it very hard. They are so angry--I don't feel angry. Not sure what I feel. I know I'm afraid to be alone in our new house...due to circumstances, I had to move immediately. I'm capable of doing the business end of things, though I haven't had to in so many years. I feel bad that I sometimes feel that he never existed--he was a wonderful man, father and husband.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Tarana,

It sounds like you're still in shock. Added to the trauma of sudden loss, you've been uprooted from the comfort and memories of familiar surroundings. Expect it to take longer than usual for the "reality" of your loss to sink in. Even with an expected death, it's normal to imagine you'll see your loved one walk through the door at any minute.

You mention your children's reactions. Keep in mind that every family member grieves in his or her own unique way and time. Many surviving parents worry about "letting go" around their children, no matter what the ages.

If that's a concern for you, consider joining a support group with others you can safely share your feelings and reactions with.

We appreciate hearing from you.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband of over 40 years and the love of my life three months ago to a sudden massive heart attack. We had a wonderful morning of going to breakfast which we did 3-4 times a week and then just regular errands. Going home around 11:30am we picked up some tacos for lunch. At 1:55pm he was pronounced dead in the ER. He was 62. At first I was somewhat able to cope. But now I seem to be crying more at the thought of him and looking at the long lonesome road ahead with dread and despair.

Laurie and Ruth said...

As the shock wears off, the reality of a loss really hits. This is especially true when a death is unexpected.

Feeling dread and despair when looking ahead is a common reaction to losing a loved one.

Keep in mind that these feelings, while expected in the circumstances, are TEMPORARY.

Try to reach to others for as much support as possible right now. Let us know if we offer any resources or further advice.

With time, the pain DOES soften.

Take care.

Uli said...

I lost my husband 3 months ago and seemed to be ok for the most part. We were married 26 years, together 33. As others have said, it was a typical day and evening, but he collapsed shortly after getting up in the morning. Now that things have settled down I'm having more trouble focusing or even caring about anything. I'm still at work (the semester just ended), but feel absolutely overwhelmed with stuff. I have a practice to sell/lease, figure out what to do with all the clothing and other things. I have no idea how to clean out the closet or garage! I find myself thinking - oh just text him and let him know whatever - just suddenly the little things are blowing me away.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Uli,

You're probably still in shock at the sudden loss of your husband.
As we say, while mourning a death, NOT normal IS normal. Try to be gentle and patient with yourself.

Please try to postpone making any important decisions at this time. If you must act now, ask family and/or friends to help with some of the tasks, such as cleaning out stuff or tackling paperwork.

Keep in mind that while you're adjusting to your new and unexpected situation, you aren't going to be your usual self.

But it will be temporary!

Please check out some of our other posts for more support about these challenging issues.

Take care and let us know how it goes.

Shirl said...

I lost my husband on 25/3/14 I feel worse as every day passes I don't want to go on without him we just celebrated 40 wonderfull happy yrs together was just another day we went to bed I woke up suddenly asked if he was ok he said he had a headache then he couldn't hear me- I squeesed his hand he didn't squeese mine back I immediately knew something was wrong he died in front of me it took only minutes to take away my life too.He'd had of a massive heart attack I cannot belive what happened he'd worked all his life never visited a Dr how can this have happened feels so unreal i expect him to appear any minute now-I feel so angry I want to blame someon,could I have done something,why,why that's all that keeps going around in my head why now we had everything to live for fate so cruel life's a bitch!! .He was the best,kindest Hubby,dad,grandad,friend I don't want to go on without him.This year was going to be our year to do the things we'd planned over the years and had only discussed the day before.I have to go through the motions of daily life for my special caring daughters and precious grandchildren I miss him so much it hurts more each day.I was so lucky to have met him at 15 we knew immediately we would spend our lifetime together and he will always be with me in my heart forever but I ache for him,I miss his hugs and caring ways he adored me and the kids as we adored him how can life just go on?I feel so alone with all my family and friends around I I miss him so so much!!

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Shirl,

With this sudden loss, your entire world has been turned upside down.

Your feelings of shock, disbelief, anger at the fact that this has happened, the loss of your dreams and plans, and despair are understandable, especially in light of such an unexpected loss.

We're glad to hear that you have strong family support through this painful and difficult time.
While it's hard to get through each day right now, try to keep it mind that every tear does count and that the intensity of the pain will begin to soften.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Please let us know how you're doing again soon.


DeeDee said...

Lost the love of my life, my wonderful husband on 2/19/14; our 31st wedding anniversary and 33 years from the date we met. We just got back from our new home in Florida where we planned on retiring in two years when he developed a stomachache. Within hours he died at the hospital of a massive heart attack. I still feel numb. The pain is excruciating.
I thank God for our two sons; 26 and 23, who have been helping me cope. The rest of our two families have been disappointing.
The emptiness I feel, the confusion and helplessness has not yet subsided. Don't know how to move forward without my husband, my best friend, my lover, my life. My sons got me involved with a grief counselor and bereavement group, but I'm still finding it hard to cope. The tears just flow......
Whatever will I do with myself now? Whatever will I do with our dream house in Florida where we knew no one but each other? My sons live in NY.
I can't think straight without him. Why oh why did God do this? Everyone loved him, he was so selfless, always there if you needed him. Please pray for us!!

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear DeeDee,

In addition to your loss being completely unexpected, it sounds like you're also feeling isolated from supportive family and abandoned by others. These issues can be added emotional burdens to what you're already struggling with.

It's great that you've gotten involved in a group and grief counseling.

Please try to be patient with yourself. As we say, "Every tear counts".

Please stay in touch and let us know how it goes.

Paula said...

It is 6 weeks since my soulmate died. He had a brain tumour diagnosed on 25/6/14 and died on 11/07. Today I have not got up, I feel lifeless and have no energy. I hate this feeling. Everything seems so hard and I can't even begin to think about doing stuff. I have had ups and downs since his death but this is the first time I haven't got up all day. I have to go back to work next week as need the income but don't know how to cope.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Your reactions are completely normal for such a recent loss. The challenge of having to return to work however, can feel overwhelming.

You might check out our post on ways to cope with returning to a job, for some tips on easing into this often difficult situation.

Please keep in touch and let us know how you're doing.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

I lost my partner on the 10th August on a Charity Bike ride. I saw him go. This was over 3 weeks ago. First two weeks were filled with stress, isolation and disbelief. I have now calmed down and I think I have blocked it out? I feel numb, though cry randomly. I flew out to the US the day after the funeral. We were together 8 months and I was due to move in end of Sept. I do have a very good network around me. I am 35 and he was 36 and had a heartattack which was out of the blue.... I know my life has now taken a different coursr and I know I need to readjust.
I am not sure if it has actually hit me still?

Laurie and Ruth said...

Please give yourself lots of time to really absorb what has happened. The shock and disbelief can last longer than most people realize.

Keeping in mind that you've not only lost someone you cherished but you've also lost all the dreams and plans you both created together. So there is loss on different levels.

There is often pressure on someone your age to "get over it" before one is truly ready. Try not to let others pressure you and trust your own sense of what feels right FOR YOU.

Let us know how it goes.

Take care and please stay in touch.

edith waitai hau said...

My husband was almost 52 this year,died May 22nd I turned my back for a second,it was all over,he had a massive heart attack,died instantly.We both knew he was sick from last year august,However I prayed to our heavenly father,may i keep him for a little longer.In the last two months,i could see my husband suffering,most of all deteriorating.and I knew in my heart that this man,the life of my life for the last 35yrs,together 26yrs married,he was out of her.Miss him so much,him and our son where baptized this year as Mormons,and then I was baptized 2wks after he had died.So now next year I will unveil him,and then go too our latter day saints church and be sealed to him both me and our son.Its not easy,Im doing this on my own,nights are the worse,I miss admit my life is so lonely,but I will carry on,cause one day I will be a nana.After read this blog I realise I am not on my own...bless you all.I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Edith,

Even when a death is expected, the actual experience of losing a loved one can feel overwhelming.

It sounds like you've found great support in your faith.

Take care and thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

My husband died a little over 7 months ago. Massive heart attack early on a Sunday morning. I thought he was having a nightmare. He was 48. We'd been together nearly 20 years, married for almost 15. He was my husband, lover and best friend. We didn't have children so it was just us and the cats. Now it's just me and the cats.

Reading all the bewilderment and hurt on here ..... it's very familiar. And yes, I'm now in the middle of a massive blubbering meltdown. They happen sometimes.

Sometimes you have to let them happen.

But to everyone who has lost someone recently, I want to say: Hang in there. It will get easier to deal with. And when some well-meaning but inane friend or relative comes out with the "Time heals all wounds" rubbish, feel free to vent. I did. It won't heal this one BUT it will give you the opportunity to come to terms with the new normal (the one without "that" person in it).

And to determine who you are without them.

There ARE still days when all I want to do is turn my head to the wall and cry. But they're fewer and further between. Counselling has helped. Most days I function reasonably well as long as I follow a few basic survival rules...

1) Avoid staring at calendars. They can mug you with days / dates that were or would have been important. If a particular upcoming event is stressing you in advance (the obvious one is of course Christmas), decide how you're going to deal with it and let friends and family know in advance. Personally I plan to avoid it - my Christmas shopping has been done and given out in advance so I'm not being a total scrooge, but on the day I will draw the curtains, read a book, do some sewing, possibly get a little bit drunk and bawl my eyes out. Then on Boxing day Christmas day will be over and I can get on with life again until the next awful date....

2) I have pretty much stopped listening to the radio, especially if I know it's going to be romantic music. Instrumental is a safer bet.

3) Be a little bit selfish - If you have a friend or relative who just brings you down at the best of times.....don't go there. Keep in touch remotely if you want (facebook has it's uses) but avoid situations where your friend/relative has you trapped. As my counsellor (repeatedly) told me "be kind to yourself".

4) Keeping busy helps. But remember that there are only 24 hours in a day and you will find you spend a fair few of them zoning out, drinking too much coffee, surfing the net and generally not getting much done. Don't give yourself too much to do but DO give yourself a break when it doesn't all get done.

5) Do personal things as and when YOU are ready to face them. There's no right or wrong timescale and there's no right or wrong order for doing them. I gave my husband's clothes to charity shops months ago but I still can't look through a bag of photos of him. It'll happen when it happens. No rush.

6) Sometimes, when you think you're starting to function, you will have a rotten day. If you're having the kind of day where your face just won't stop leaking and you have the attention span of a goldfish, if at all possible, let it happen. Ask your boss if you can go early. If you need to cry, letting out is the best option if you can.

But remember, life will, on average, get that tiny bit easier to cope with every day. And you will remember how to smile and laugh again. And you will figure out who you are without them.

Sorry, it wasn't my intention to write any kind of prescriptive manual.... but these are the coping strategies that have helped me. Still help me. In the absence of a magic wand or a time machine they're the best I can do.

M


Tracy Fisher said...

My husband died 3 weeks ago today also in his sleep.Complete shock for us all leaving myself and our 3 kids in a bubble of confusion and disbelief. He was only 35 and had everything to live for.i get angry at people for moaning....life's too short and time fly. Xxx

scared said...

I lost my Boyfriend/Husband 3 weeks ago today... I went to work at a new job that day at 4 and left him with the kids he had a history of copd and said he wasn't feeling well.however I asked him if he wanted to go to emergency room he said no he thought it maybe a flu..we have no children together but I have 3 and he had 1 which lived with us as well as 1 grand daughter age 1 that lives with us as well..we were intended on raising her together as his daughter that lives with us is only 18...I called home a cpl times that night to check on him kids said he was fine and sleeping... I got off work at 11 that night as I am driving home my daughter text me to tell me they had called 911 something wasn't right ... by the time I got home at 11:24 it was too late he was already gone..I made it home before the paramedics even got there.. I am 35 and my husband was 47... I now feel alone and scared not sure this is real as of yet.. as well I am not sure how to feel about having the baby with me as much anymore...I love her but am scared to raise another baby alone when we were suppose to do it together.... my children are 16 14 and 11 ...am I heartless ?? I feel like I am cold now towards everything and am trying too keep some sense of sanity for the kids ... any advise would be appreciated..

scared n empty said...

I am 35 and my husband was 47 he suffered from copd .3 weeks ago today I started a new job went to work my first shift and my whole life changed.. before I left for work he had said he wasn't feeling well I asked him if he wanted to go to hospital he said no he thought he had flu.. while at work I called home to check on him and spoke to the kids who said he was fine but sleeping I got off work at 11 that evening on the way home my daughter texted me and told me not to panic but she had just called 911 ...I got home before ambulance got to house but my husband was already gone...I have 3 children 16 14and 11 and he has 1 18 year old.. before this happened we were planning on raising our granddaughter together which is 1 and also lives with us.. as her mom the 18 year old is not quite ready for that responsibility...now that he is gone I am scared to pieces and don't know if I can do this without him I feel a sense of helplessness and I feel cheated.. we have been together for 8 years and I now feel more alone and scared then ever...I miss him like crazy but still feel as if this is a bad dream I am going to wake up from...I am scared of everything ,raising a baby being responsible for both our kids and no longer no if I can do this .... I turned to him for everything and I feel empty inside I am trying to cope but haven't slept other then an hour here and there in the entire 3 weeks and sometimes just wish I could do like him and go to sleep and not wake...I no I shouldn't feel like this because the kids are here and hurting as well but don't know how to feel... still thing this is a bad dream. any advise at all will help... scared and empty

Anonymous said...

Dear M
Reading your post gave me some comfort. I lost my wonderful soul mate last week. He was my life and I adored him. I found him lying on the bedroom floor, having died suddenly of a heart attack sometime late the night before. He was so beautiful, handsome and slim, was only 46 and had a super-fit lifestyle (didn't smoke, he exercised in gym classes regularly, ate healthily and wasn't on any medication). There is no history of heart problems in his family and all four grandparents lived to their late 80s/early 90s.
We had had a relationship split for a few months last year, but he helped me through a really difficult patch afterwards and we were slowly getting our relationship back on track. I feel so robbed, because, after a terrible summer and autumn, we had become closer than ever again and this year was to be our year of renewed romance and love. We were best friends throughout everything and both agreed that we couldn't live without each other.
Now I have no choice, but to exist without him. The pain of losing him is just too much to bear. I don't think I can cope. I love him SO much and need him to come back. I just cannot contemplate living without him. My greatest wish now is that he comes for me as soon as possible, because the gut-churning sickness and fear and heartache are just too much to bear. I desperately need to feel his arms around m again, but know I never will. I have had so many messages of support but the only thing I want is the only thing I can't have.
So upset...

Anonymous said...

My husband of 17 years died 7 weeks ago. The Drs. said he died of a massive heart attack at 2:30, I got home from work at 5:30 and from work. I'm not sure if I can go on without him.

M said...

A progress report: As I write it's 11th April 2015. In two days time it will be a year since my husband died. I first posted on here in November 2014, with the intention of helping others in the same awful situation with some practical coping strategies. I hope they've been useful.

Monday 13th is going to be one of those days that I knew would be grim. I've taken next week off work because I knew I wouldn't want to be anywhere I had to concentrate on other stuff. I won't be alone on Monday though. We'll go and visit his grave (something I do every 2 or 3 weeks anyway), place a flower.... probably have another meltdown. Then we'll go to a local park and hand-feed the squirrels. It's difficult to remain sad in the face of a hungry squirrel.

But at least all the "firsts" will be out of the way. The first anniversary, birthday, his birthday, Christmas.... and now this one. It does, overall, get easier (important dates aside). I will never forget him, and I miss him every day, but I can function again. And I can smile and laugh (especially about some of the daft things he used to say or do).

If you have any kind of religious faith, take comfort in it. If, like me, you have more of an atheist leaning, hold them in your memories. Remember the good things but also the idiotic things they'd say/do when drunk, the way they were seemingly incapable of changing a toilet roll.... remember the whole package, wonderful, flawed, HUMAN. Simon was my world, I loved him and miss him. But he's not here anymore. I am. I'm now rebuilding my life but without him in it. It's not easy, it takes time and it takes strength but it can be done. Use your support network (friends / family) and if you need it, seek counselling.... and remember you can tell a counsellor ANYTHING you need to - stuff you would never want to say to your mother in law - because they are there for YOU and only YOU. Some areas have free group therapy sessions if the cost of counselling is an issue.

Hang in there.

M

Anonymous said...

I lost my partner four days ago suddenly and I'm inconsolable, we have only been married for 14 months. They don't know what happened and the not knowing is eating me up inside. My brain is so fuzzy I can't retain anything and I can't even form words together to speak. I don't understand why they can't find out what happened.... I can't see myself getting through this but I have too till the funeral. After that seems a very dark void. I can't eat,sleep or function really.

Keisha said...

My husband died on 9/5/15 he was 35 years old. He left me with our 16 month old son and pregnant at 30 weeks. We also lost another son 8 months ago by still birth. The pain is unexplainable but his memory lives on in our children. We were married for 2.5 years

Ma said...

I have felt all the emotions everyone has talked about. It has been 7 years now since I have lost my husband of 42 years. I have since retired but still hurting he is not here to enjoy this with me. Seeing other couples holding hands, laughing enjoying times together makes me hurt that I do not have this enjoyment. Why does this continue to hurt so much. I preferr not to be around them as it is a constant reminder of what I have lost. MA

edith waitai hau said...

Last Friday it was the 22nd of May a year just a year later from when I lost my husband.I went to work,then I went out and spent sometime with him,he's about 1/2 an he drive.sitting their with him,thinking about our past,the best times of our marriage,and lives,and a good cry.I must admit my faith in my church has helped me in a big way,so I am very great ful,to that.One year later without him has made me have some major melt towns,but I believe I will get better.This Saturday I will have his Unveiling,another hurdel,For me. I spent all day today with him,perparing his stone,so great ful to my big brother,family,and friends who helped.Al I know after I have unveiled him,I will try my best to come out of this darkness,of sadness and try to live again.To all our ladies out there I know the heart ache,yous are going through,love to all.

robina kosar said...

Keisha I'm so sorry to hear about this I am in a similar situation my sole mate passed away suddenly on the 3rd may 2015 leaving me with 2 children under 3 and another kne on the way I feel so alone n empty and lost I try to go on for my children but it is so so hard

Anonymous said...

Some story's here resonate so closely to my own story.

My world has been a mess this past month.
About 4 months ago, I reconnected with my last boyfriend (Matt). Though we had broken up over a year ago, we had never stopped caring for /loving each other. We had a most wonderful relationship the 1st time around. The only reason we ever even broke up to begin with was bcuz he refused to marry me bcuz he had diabetes so terribly bad he would always say he didn't want to put that burden on me, especially bcuz he felt he would die in his sleep someday... He didn't want me waking up next to a dead husband, he'd say. He wanted us to be in love forever without the obligations that come with marriage. He wanted to control how much burden he put on me. Of course, I wanted marriage. So we broke up yet we remained very close, hanging out so often that many ppl still thought we were dating.. Until I met another man. Even when dating the new guy, we chatted often (wrong or not, it's true). But the new relationship didn't work out bcuz I always compared the new guy to Matt. And while I dated the new guy, Matt would often ask, "are you still seeing that guy?" - Finally, when I said no, Matt & I reconnected, making plans for this summer, planning "Ducati dates" (I loved riding on the back of his bike, wrapping my arms around his tall body), picnics, & road trips. Sadly, at 41, he died in his sleep (slipped into a diabetic coma & died) a few months after we reconnected... Putting a tragic end to all our plans .

I've lost loved ones in death before... & I've "lost" loved ones in broken relationships... But this is the 1st love (the marrying kind of love) I've lost in death. I have literally cried every day since May 4th... I'm emotionally exhausted! And sadly, a lil spiritually disconnected �� ��

I'm angry... I feel kinda betrayed by God. Don't get me wrong.. I still love Him but that doesn't negate the anger. My whole life I've literally yearned to find a man who would love me unconditionally & who would not intentionally hurt me. I feel like God dangled Matt in front of me & said "look... Here's that man you've been looking for your entire life. He'll love you 'as is'-every curve you cringe at.. .that 15 lbs you want to lose, he wants to hold it as long as it's you in his arms... He'll never cheat on you or abuse you... He'll be very affectionate... He'll go to church with you... & he'll even WANT to marry you bcuz he truly does love you like no other"... & in all my hopes & excitement, God will also reveal, eventually, "oh.. & yea, though he'll WANT to marry you, he WON'T bcuz I've given him a death sentence & somehow he knows. Sorry... Too bad".

I'm still trying to find my sane coping mechanism. Matt comes to me in dreams often & really, all around me. In one dream he told me to "find the notes"... When I woke up, I immediately remembered some love notes he had written me, that I hadn't read in a couple of years. In my last dream, I wept, telling him I SAS having a hard time letting him go and he said," I don't want you to let me go but I do want you to move forward ". And there lies the problem.... I don't know how to move forward when my heart, mind, & soul is stuck on a man who cannot move forward with me. I can't even say I want to move forward. I'm certain I will NEVER find another love like that of which he & I shared.

So lost. So incredibly hurt. When I'm not feeling numb, the pain is unbearable

Anonymous said...

My bf died yesterday from sudden heart attack. I knew him for 8 years. He was also my best friend and my family loved him. His birthday is tomorrow. I was planning to bake him cake and everything. He died in front of me. I don't know how to cope..i went with him to every place. I cant go
anywhere..Everyone will me ask abt him. I want to die!!

Laurie and Ruth said...

You're in shock right now and need to give yourself some time to take all this in.

In addition to the unexpected death, having witnessed it as well is another shock and may leave you feeling guilt, and/or remorse over what you did or didn't do in the situation. Expect to find yourself replaying those moments over and over in your mind.

If you don't feel up to talking about your bf's death at this time, it's ok to tell others that it's just too soon and you need more time before you're ready to talk about this trauma.

After having known each other for so long and been so close, it will take time for you to grieve this precious relationship. Please be gentle with yourself and don't expect to be your usual self for some time.

Please let us know how you're doing.

Anu said...

I don't know how i am going to live without him.. he was involved in every single thing in my life. i cant walk in my house because everything reminds me of him. He had so many dreams and so many plans for future. He was such a generous and loving person. he always expressed how much he loved me and he will do so until he dies. I am not good at expressing emotions. He knew i loved him but i wish i told him how much he meant to me. I feel so bad for him that none of his goals were met. he planned so many trips and vacations for this summer and everything is ruined. He was having left arm pains for a while but every time i asked him question about it, he will distract me with something else. I saw him and talked to him and without me realizing he passed away and i sat next to him. I tried to revive, did CPR and called for help. I wish i went to trips with him sooner. I wish I never argued with him, I wish i told him that he was the love of my life and will always be, I wish i took him to the doctors sooner. Maybe then i could have celebrate his birthday today!

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Anu,

You seem to be struggling with guilt and remorse about your loved one. It sounds like when you tried to discuss his symptoms, he "distracted" you and tried to deny anything was wrong.

Many men ignore medical problems, either fearing they'll appear weak and/or because they're afraid to face possible realities. Your partner made a choice here that was his alone to make. While you may feel upset at having been helpless to prevent his death, it wasn't possible to actually do more.

Keep in mind too, that there are many ways you probably showed your love and appreciation, ways that didn't necessarily require words.

Try to be gentle with yourself.

Anonymous said...

I lost my boyfriend 3 weeks ago. He died in a car crash on the same day my mother died 2 years ago, May 25th. I don't know how to feel. Life is so unpredictable, so short and so so precious. I am grieving silently. I'm trying to let go and stop questioning why. It's so hard because he was my best friend. I love him so much.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Losing two loved ones on the same day and month is a double whammy - it's hard enough to have lost your mom just 2 years ago, in which case, you're going to experience an "anniversary" reaction, but to also lose your boyfriend must have been especially painful.

Please give yourself permission to grieve, not just "silently". 3 weeks following a sudden death is such a short time, and you're probably in shock. It's understandably a struggle to make sense of a senseless loss so please give yourself much, much more time to sort out your feelings.

Let us know how it goes.

lhiezl said...

Its almost a year since I've lost my husband. As of the moment I can't imagine that he's gone. Hes only 28 then., and he left me with 3 young kids. I don't know how to carry all of this specially the responsibility of being a single parent now. I've always have my lucid dream, I always miss him. Yes, it is a bad dream. I'm still in a bad dream...

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Ihiezl,

With an unexpected death, it often takes a long time for the reality of what has happened to become real.

You don't mention if you have any support from family or friends. It can be especially difficult to find support with other young parents who probably haven't experienced a loss such as yours.

Consider asking at your local hospital if there is a local support group for other young widowed. If not, try GriefNet.org, which has several different types of online support groups for other young parents. These groups can be a valuable way to safely share reactions that close family or friends can't relate to.

Please let us know how it goes.

lhiezl said...

Thank you very much for the response Ms Laurie and Ruth. Very much appreciated and overwhelming. I want you to know that what makes it hard for me is that I am the only one who earn for a living. I'm living with my parents who are both senior citizens. Yes, I don't have any support from someone else that's why I have to work so hard and double my hard work. Thank you for the information. Thank you very much. God B OK Bless..

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Ihiezl,

We're glad we could help.

It sounds like you have a very difficult situation and probably little time to grieve.

You mention that you have little support. You might try contacting your local hospital and asking the social worker or person who helps with making patient's home arrangements for information about a local support group. Many religious organizations also offer widowed support groups.

Or consider GriefNet.org for 24/7 online support.

Please let us know if we can be of further help.

Anonymous said...

I woke up with my husband making noises as if he were having a nightmare. He was thrashing and kind of yelling out. I thought he was having a nightmare. I tried waking him and he did not respond and then I he opened his eyes and looked at me and was motionless. I tried mouth to mouth, called 911 but it was too late. I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience as far as the thrashing and what I think were sounds of pain.. I am devastated and miss him so much. We had 30 perfectly wonderful years. He was 67.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Not understanding what your husband was going through must be very difficult. In addition to his symptoms being unexpected and confusing, you must have felt very helpless in that painful situation.

You don't mention what the doctors have told you about the symptoms you witnessed and did your best to cope with.

In any case, it's common to wrestle with feelings of guilt and remorse following circumstances such as yours. Try to keep in mind that you did the best you could under extremely frightening and confusing circumstances, especially in light of having been suddenly awakened.

Please try to be gentle with yourself.

Let us know how it goes.

Milyn Buag said...

15 years ago I lost my boyfriend, he was 15 and I was 14 during that time. He was my best friend, first crush, first boyfriend, first dance, first kiss and my first love. When he died, I always find myself crying beside his grave it's like I was in a deep sleep and wanted to be awakened. I tried to go on and endure my life until I met my husband, But recently out of the blue I miss him. It's seems my grief is not over yet and I don't know how to manage. I have so much wanted to tell him that I did not able to tell when he was alive. I feel so hopeless and I miss him so much.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Milyn,

It's not unusual to have emotional "unfinished business" especially when someone we've lost died suddenly.

There is probably something going on in your life right now, maybe small and not obvious, that is triggering your unexpected reactions.
Sometimes it's the day or month or something in the present that is reminding us of our loss.

You might find it helpful to talk to a grief counselor, who can help you pinpoint what is stirring your feelings up.

Your experience is normal and very understandable. Please consider talking it over with a professional, to help you better understand what's going on.

Let us know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

10/10/2016 marks exactly two years since my best friend, following a night of cooking, eating, loving and laughing till tears streamed down our faces, went to sleep and just...never woke up again. For 13 happy years it was like this. I couldn't believe my luck. I was blessed. All the years of hurt and trauma before my beloved....finally, the universe saw fit to reward me with unconditional love, kindness, peace, a soulmate, a friend. I'm still searching for healing, understanding, acceptance and the feeling of wholeness and pure bliss. I will never again be who I was. All I want is what was..... I found you - this site - today. I'd like to read the article: Barbara Paul, Ph.D., Reactions to Sudden or Traumatic Loss. Can you help? Thank you...all for your strength and for sharing. B