Grief, overwhelming sadness…

Posted on June 28, 2011

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It has been a very long time since I posted to my blog. On June 11th my husband of over 22 years began having difficulty breathing. The diagnosis was Congestive Heart Failure.

After tests, echocardiagrams, cardiac caths, xrays, blood work, etc it was determined he would need open heart surgery on Friday, June 17th. We got him settled and comfortable for a week long stay…

Early June 15th I was phoned saying to come to hospital ASAP. My husband had suffered a major heart attack and would require emergency surgery.

On Father’s day he was up walking around, and our son brought in the grandbabies to spend the afternoon with Grandpa. On Sunday evening he was feeling sick and asked me to go home so he could rest.

That was the last time my husband spoke to me. I was phoned early Monday the 20th to let me know I needed be driven to hospital ASAP. My husband was on a ventilator and medications to keep him comfortable.

He died June 22nd at 2:45 am.

It’s devastating to lose your spouse–especially when he is only 53 and you’re not even 45 yet.

Now I’m struggling with even more. I won’t cry on your shoulders but let me say this:

1) Always LISTEN to what the doctors tell you. They may couch the words in a way to ease the blow, but if you don’t listen you’re left with regrets over time wasted. Time you could have shared with them, you agonize over losing. They told us that this surgery was a temporary fix, they told us how sick he was, they told me he was going to die–not so bluntly until that very last night when the one doctor said, “He’s not going to make it through the night”–but I didn’t want to hear it. I heard the other things–the “this is what your future options will be” type things. It’s funny how you only hear what you want. If I’d truly LISTENED I could have had a little more time by his side instead of coming home and worrying about the dog and the cat and this or that…I wouldn’t have gotten so angry when he told me to go jump in the lake the night I asked him if he wanted me to sleep there, I’d not given him a choice. Time I WASTED and now anguish over missing out on…
2) ALWAYS make certain you have a DECENT amount of life insurance. Funerals, as they say, are NOT cheap. I was lucky in that we already had cemetery plots, that was one thing I didn’t have to take on with the Mountain swallowing me now.
3) DON’T KEEP SECRETS FROM YOUR SPOUSE! You get credits loans, take out liens on the house, they NEED to know these things!
4) Make certain there are TOD’s on property titles, POD’s on checking/savings accounts.
5) ALWAYS leave a WILL! The prospect of probate and the uncertainty it entails is terrifying as hell.
6) If you own a home and have a mortgage ALWAYS opt for that extra insurance that covers the mortgage in the event of the death of a spouse. Losing your loved one is bad enough, trying to figure out where you will live and how you will live…that’s far too much on anyone to bear.
7) When you have all your ducks in a row TELL SOMEONE where the information is! Don’t let them dig through your personal effects trying to find things. And throw out stuff that is useless information. People see insurance papers and think they are okay and then learn you CANCELLED the policy…
8) Ensure your family knows how you feel about life support, and CPR and the like. When the time comes to make difficult decisions, not knowing how YOU feel about them makes them even harder to decide.
9) When a loved one passes away give the spouse time to grieve and bury them before you swoop in with your list of demands of the deceased’s property. Some people hadn’t even waited, he died on Wednesday and by Friday they were telling me what they felt he would want them to inherit…
10) It’s okay to cry, it’s all right to wake up screaming in the morning, it’s all right to feel angry. And DON’T try to keep it under control. Let it out, let it go. You aren’t helping YOURSELF by holding it in, trying to be the strong one for everyone else. It might be their father or they’re brother, son-in-law, grandfather, whatever but it was YOUR spouse. No one else in the family knows the level of pain you feel and you have a right to break down–anywhere, anytime. If other’s can’t cope with it, too bad. I have called my cell phone with his just to hear his ring tone. It’s stupid, it’s corny, whatever. But it’s what I need.
11) When people offer to help, LET THEM. This is a hard one for me because I never like to ask for help with anything. My husband helped when I needed things done. He won’t be here to help anymore. (You have no idea how my chest cracked just writing that). You can’t do it all and you shouldn’t try to do it all. Allow people to help you out–just make sure you have someone who knows who helped you so you can remember to thank them later. Faces and things are so blurry to me I can’t remember who has done what–but I am grateful to them for it.

My husband was a loving, wonderful man who did his best to provide for us. But some things you don’t consider or even discuss because you’re too young…you’re finances are too tight…it’s too morbid…”do you have something nefarious in mind?”…whatever the truck load of reasons are but these are things that HAVE to be thought about and prepared for. We never dreamed this would happen to us, yet here we are. My husband and I used to joke about these things, I’d say something about my final wishes and he’d say “Oh? should I not eat the dessert tonight?” or “There something I should know?” We never TALKED about anything.

Don’t wait until you’re wondering where you will live because you can’t afford the house…how you will buy groceries, how you’re going to pay the bills…Plan it and get it over with so you can get back to enjoying life together.

I’m leaving town for a few days to clear my head, and try to figure out my next move so the next post will be just as long in coming as this one was I’m afraid.

Until next time much love for all the words of compassion and sympathy many have already expressed. Thank you for all the support and caring. I really do appreciate everything everyone’s done for me and my family.

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