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Please Help! Sudden Death Of Fiance And Now Ptsd


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#1 Ms.SnowWhite

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:58 AM

Hello!

 

I lost my fiance, Adam, suddenly on September 7th. Adam told me when we began dating that he had pulmonary hypertension. He explained this condition and told me that he was taking medication to fix it and he would live a healthy life. I trusted him, saw that he took his pills religiously, knew that he had regular appointments with a specialists, never showed any signs of complications, and was always full of energy and enthusiasm for life. I truly believed we had a long future together and his conditions was under control.

 

On Wednesday, September 4th, he had two syncope episodes in which he lost consciousness, turned blue, and became very rigid. I called 911, he came to before the paramedics arrived and insisted he was fine. I told him I was worried and he agreed to go to the hospital. The doctors were informed of his conditions and his recent episodes. They performed a few tests, reviewed his medical records from his cardiologist, and released him stating he was dehydrated and needed to increase his fluid intake.

 

The next day, I left several messages for Adam's cardiologist because I was still worried. About noon, Adam had a very minor syncope episode and did not turn blue this time. I begged him to go to the hospital, but he said he wanted to wait to hear from the cardiologist. Finally, the office returned my call and told us the episodes sounded neurological. We were told to go to the Emergency Room and get a head CT. We waited for 7 hours in the waiting room and another 4 hours for Adam to get a head CT and a neurological consult. The doctors determined Adam was having seizures and wanted to start him on seizure medication. He was discharged from the hospital again.

 

Friday, September 5th started out like the perfect day. We had breakfast together, watched movies on the couch, talked, I made dinner, and we both fell asleep watching TV. About 10:30pm, Adam asked if I was ready for bed. He stood up and headed into the bedroom when I heard him fall. He had three syncope episodes in a row. In between each one, he gained consciousness and said he was fine and didn't need to go to the hospital. I still called the paramedics. After his third episode, everything stopped. He wasn't breathing, and I administered CPR until the paramedics arrived.

 

Adam was transported to the hospital and remained in critical condition through Saturday afternoon. His heart was failing. About 4:30 on Saturday, he coded. They worked on him for 90 minutes and then put him on heart/lung bypass. I was able to see him after that, and it was clear his body wasn't accepting the blood. Blood was coming out of his toes and eyes. There was also no sign of neurological activity. His family decided to take him off of life support.

 

This whole situation has left me with so many questions. Why was he released from the hospital two times when his heart was failing? Why did his cardiologist, who knew his medical history, treat these syncope episodes like they were seizures? If he received treatment on Wednesday, could he have survived? Was there anything else I could have done for him? He was the most precious man in the world, why didn't the doctors take care of him? Did Adam know how severe his condition was or did it drastically decline in the last few days? I know I will never have the answers to these questions and the answers won't change anything, but I go over them each day.

 

Ever since his death, I have constantly relived Adam's last few days. I always see him having an episode and turning blue, or laying lifeless on my floor as I administer CPR, or laying in the hospital bed with blood coming from his toes and eyes. Even when I think of good memories, I always come back to these traumatic ones. I was recently diagnosed with PTSD. I am beginning trauma therapy this week and have been warned it is very intense. Does anyone have experience with trauma therapy?

 

I really need help. I have not met anyone who has lost someone so young (he was only 29). I feel like I am not only mourning him, but also saying goodbye to our future, the wedding we planned for June 28, and the children we were so excited to have. I didn't know everyday could be so hard or that this kind of pain was possible. In my heart, I know that Adam and I were meant to be together and none of this seems right. I have watched as our friends and family return to their normal lives, but still mourn for him. That is not possible for me. He was my normal and a part of every aspect of my life. I don't know how to function without him.  He was such a good man and it breaks my heart to know that he will never have all of the amazing things we planned together. I don't know what to do. Please help!



#2 mfh

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:28 AM

Dear Ms. SnowWhite,

I am so very sorry for your loss and for all you have been through in these past weeks. It is totally understandable that you are going over and over the questions you have especially right now when you are dealing with how sudden and unexpected Adam's death is. You are reeling from this loss.

 

You mentioned that you were diagnosed with PTSD and that trauma therapy has been recommended and that the person you saw warned you of how intense it is. Trauma therapy can have many meanings and of course, neither you or I know exactly what this person means. I do have two recommendations regarding this. First, make certain you are dealing with someone who is skilled in the treatment of PTSD AND grief. Check credentials and experience first by talking to the person him/herself and second, ask for a detailed explanation of what this person means by trauma therapy. That is a starting place. If you do this and are left with any reservations or questions, get another opinion from someone certified in grief and bereavement work. Your local Hospice should have a list of qualified people.

 

I do think it is wise to seek out the help of a qualified grief counselor but make certain that person is trained and experienced. Is there someone who can assist you with this, even go with you to ask questions?

 

It is natural that you are in shock right now. Your whole life and dream was before you just weeks ago and now you are dealing with loss and grief that has shaken you deeply. Loss of our spouses shakes us deeply. It is a difficult and life altering loss. My husband of many years died just over 3 years ago and his death was gut wrenching and traumatic for me and with the help of grief counselors (qualified ones), this group, and other resources I started and continue the healing process. Grief is a normal human experience. Your fiance's age and his sudden and unexpected death and all the questions you have about it certainly makes this extremely difficult to deal with, to say the least. I do recommend that you follow my suggestions and perhaps get a friend or family member to assist you. Do you have someone like that?

 

This group is incredibly helpful for we who grieve and others will come on and share with you also. Check back a couple of times today and tomorrow. I am glad you found this group and I know it can be helpful and supportive to  you as we have all experienced the loss of partners, fiances or spouses and we support each other and understand how this loss just turns life upside down.

 

It is time to take care of yourself, seek out the support recommended above, see if you have a family member or friend to assist you and do come back and meet others here and gain their loving support.

 

Peace to your heart,

Mary


Mary Friedel-Hunt MA LCSW

Grief Counselor

Email: mfriedelhunt@charter.net

Read Mary's Bio Here

 

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear)  -eecummings                Your wound is where the light enters you. ~Rumi


#3 enna

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:31 AM

Dear Ms. Snowflake,

I am so very sorry to hear of the death of your fiance, Adam.  Your story is very sad. 

Adam’s life and your lives together were cut way too short.  This is indeed a trauma.  I do not know anything about trauma therapy but I am glad that you are seeking and receiving help during this painful time.  Please be sure that anyone you see is qualified.  I hope you will be able to find a caring grief counselor who will be able to guide you through this loss. 

This is a caring and safe place to be and I hope you can find some comfort coming here and sharing with us. 

Anne



#4 MartyT

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:24 PM

Dear one, I just want to add my voice to those of Mary and Anne to say how sorry I am for the sudden, tragic death of your beloved, and to say as well that I wouldn't change a word of the sound advice they have given to you.

 

You are in our thoughts and prayers, and we will walk with you as you find a way to carry the burden of this unspeakable loss and travel the challenging path that lies ahead.  


Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC
Grief Counselor
Email:
tousleym@aol.com
Read Marty's Bio Here


#5 Ms.SnowWhite

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:43 PM

Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses. I was very careful in picking grief counselors and trauma therapists. Two weeks after his death, I scheduled appointments with two different counselors. The one I chose was recommended by a friend who works in the Hospice at Children's Hospital. I did a lot of research on them and my therapist and counselor (I am seeing two people at the same center) are very qualified. I am beginning Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing on Thursday.

 

I should also mention some of the anger I am feeling. I recently found out that his parents were told when he was 12 that it would be a miracle if he made it into his thirties without a heart and lung transplant. They were also told if he ever had a syncope episode while sitting down (which he had on Wednesday and Thursday), it was a sign of heart failure. They were updated frequently when Adam was in the hospital, but never mentioned either one of these facts to me. If I knew this, I would have never let him go home. I can't believe his parents would remain quiet or seem so relaxed when they knew how serious his condition was.

 

Today, I found out that Adam's cardiologist recommended he get a pacemaker. Adam said he felt fine and that it could wait. I know that he was afraid such a procedure would make me worry and wanted to wait until after the wedding. The fact that he ignored doctor's advice and took risks with his heart upsets me more than I thought possible. I told him long ago that any decisions he made, he made for the both of us because we were in it together. I feel that when he took a risk with his heart, he risked our future, and it resulted in this. He could have done something to prevent this, and chose not to. That is so hard for me to understand.



#6 mfh

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:50 PM

Dear Ms. SnowWhite,

I am relieved to know that you were so careful in choosing your professional support team. EMDR has been found to be very effective.

 

Your feelings of anger are surely understandable. Feelings of betrayal by Adam's parents and even, in a sense by Adam, even though he seemed to be making decisions to reduce your stress. Certainly I would feel the same way if my husband had made decisions that risked our future together. I truly understand that and my heart reaches out to you.

 

I am glad you returned. I know every one here will support you on this painful journey.

 

Peace to your heart,

Mary


Mary Friedel-Hunt MA LCSW

Grief Counselor

Email: mfriedelhunt@charter.net

Read Mary's Bio Here

 

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear)  -eecummings                Your wound is where the light enters you. ~Rumi


#7 Queeniemary

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:15 AM

Ms. SnowWhite, so very sorry for your loss of Adam, and not only the grief you are feeling, but your anger as well. You seem to be really on top of picking the right help that you need. I won't try to add to the wonderful advice that you have already received from some of the very wise women on this site, I just want you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

#8 kayc

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:52 AM

Ms. SnowWhite,

I am so sorry for your loss of Adam.  I have no advice to add to the good advice you have already been given here.

 

I'm glad you're getting help dealing with this.

 

I doubt Adam knew he would die so untimely, and he probably was in denial about how serious his condition was or he would not have taken any chances, esp. since the two of you had your whole lives before you and were looking forward to your wedding and children someday. 

 

It's probably going to take quite some time for everything to sink in, process, and deal with.  Give yourself ample time and remember to be extra understanding and kind to yourself.  You did what you knew best with the information you were given, so please try not to second guess yourself.  (I think we all do this, we ask ourselves the same questions.)

 

You have found a very caring place here, I hope you continue to feel comfortable sharing here.  It helped me tremendously to voice myself, it helped restore some of the "power" I felt I lost when my George died...after all, noone asked me what I wanted, he just died!

 

You're in my thoughts and prayers...


We WILL meet again! ...my Soulmate, my best friend, thru all time

#9 Ms.SnowWhite

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:31 PM

Thank you so much for all of your responses. I have been browsing the forum and have so much respect for all of your strength and perseverance. I have no idea how you get through a day with this grief. The pain is unbearable.

 

I teach fourth grade and have been back to work for a month. Before Adam's death, I was so genuine and enthusiastic about teaching. Now, I feel like I am faking it. It doesn't feel like I am being authentic and I know I am just putting on a show for my students. My students are amazing. They give me a lot of hugs and give me time when they see I am getting overwhelmed. I just don't know if teaching will ever feel the same for me.

 

I also hate how people look at me. I walk down the halls at school or go to church and get those looks. I know people are trying to express their sympathy and being supportive. I can't escape his death. No matter where I go, I feel like this is part of my identity now. I am the teacher who lost her fiance.



#10 mfh

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:46 PM

Ms. SnowWhite,

I do know those looks you describe. I live in a small village and people know me because when Bill died I was publishing a local magazine. I would see them give me those looks. I would know they just did not know what to do or say. Because of our death phobic society...people are just ill prepared to deal with death. I think in time again because people move on...those looks will disappear.

 

I do agree that in these early days, we are in a fog -a protective fog if you will that seems in many or most to lift gradually over a few months allowing us to "get used" to the facts of our new life.

 

I do not believe you are being fake. You are in survival mode and doing what you can to survive. That is very authentic though it feels fake because your pain is not being shared with everyone...we pick and choose who we allow to share and know our pain again to protect ourselves from those who just do not know how to respond and frankly people can say some things that are hurtful..even though intended to be helpful.

 

I wish you peace in these tough tough days,

Mary


Mary Friedel-Hunt MA LCSW

Grief Counselor

Email: mfriedelhunt@charter.net

Read Mary's Bio Here

 

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear)  -eecummings                Your wound is where the light enters you. ~Rumi


#11 MartyT

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:50 PM

Dear one, there is wisdom in the saying, "Fake it until you make it." Given your circumstances, it is perfectly understandable that you feel like a phony when you present yourself to the world as someone who has it all together, when in reality you are falling apart on the inside. That does not mean that you are, in fact, a phony. It is what we learn to do in our grief: We put on our "work" face and go about our jobs until we can get behind closed doors or somewhere we feel safe so we can let it all out. There is nothing wrong with this ~ for those of us who must work for a living, it is how we get through the day. Truth be told, we really don't want to expose ourselves to everyone with whom we come in contact during the course of a normal work day. But it is NOT healthy if we have nowhere else to take our grief, where we can be ourselves and share what is really going on with us. You have lost the one person with whom you could truly be yourself. You are wise enough to know that you need the support of a skilled therapist, and you have found your way to this warm and caring place. Being among others who are walking a similar path is life-affirming, because it helps you know that you're not "crazy" and you're not alone. It helps you understand what is normal in grief, and it exposes you to tools and skills that others have used effectively to manage their reactions.

 

I love how you describe your students' behavior toward you, and it seems to me that as a teacher you have an amazing opportunity to demonstrate to them what grief is and to model for them how we respond to significant loss. You loved your fiance dearly and he died. Your sorrow is NORMAL, and your students are seeing that terrible things happen, and it's okay to feel deep sorrow when tragic things happen in life. Being honest with them at those times when you're feeling overwhelmed with bursts of grief can be, for them, teachable moments that are truly priceless. 


Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC
Grief Counselor
Email:
tousleym@aol.com
Read Marty's Bio Here


#12 kayc

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:00 PM

I so agree with Mary and Marty. 
The looks of sympathy will wane eventually.

 

The pain feels intolerable in the early days...try to take a day at a time and not look at "the rest of your life". 


We WILL meet again! ...my Soulmate, my best friend, thru all time

#13 enna

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:29 AM

Thank you, dear Ms Snowflake, for your work as an educator.  I was in the profession for over four decades and can only double what Marty said about this grief of yours being a teachable moment.  Children learn from us and it is so important to be authentic with them.  They will know. 

We here on this forum walk with you.  You are in my heart as you go through these very hard days.  Anne



#14 Ms.SnowWhite

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 11:06 AM

The support I have received from all of you is amazing. I truly appreciate all of your thoughtful responses.

 

I may be going through the motions when I am at school, but the students and the work load keeps me busy. It is filling up the void that is my afternoon and evening that has become most difficult. Adam would always come to my house after work. We would cook dinner together, go on walks, go to movies, watch tv, etc. We had our own little routine and it was beautiful. Coming home from work and knowing he is never going to be there again is heartbreaking. I am trying to fill up my days with therapy and time with family and friends. It is exhausting, but it is better than staying home alone. Do any of you have advice about how to fill up this void? What did you do to fill up your days after you lost your love?

 

I am still battling the anger. I have learned so much more about the pacemaker. It is such an easy procedure and would have prevented the episodes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It would have also let the doctors know that his heart was failing and he would have never been discharged from the hospital on Wednesday. I wouldn't have to relive the traumatic events leading to his death every day if he had this procedure and it might have even bought him time to get a heart and lung transplant. I know playing the "what if" game is not productive. I am just so upset that he looked me in the eyes after each cardiologist appointment and said everything was fine and his heart was strong when in fact his cardiologist told him he needed a pacemaker. He lied to me and hid information that cost us his life and our future. I trusted him completely and he was lying to me the entire time. Even if he didn't say something in April, he should have spoken up on Wednesday after the first episode. I don't know how to forgive him for this. I even took of my engagement ring yesterday because I felt like it symbolized a future that Adam promised but didn't do anything to protect.



#15 kayc

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 04:06 PM

I hear what you're saying.  My husband used drugs so he'd have energy to keep up at work (his supervisor got him started).  It masked what was going on with his heart.  The cardiologist explained to me that the heart trouble he had was not caused by the drugs, but it certainly could have contributed.  I was fortunate that he confessed to me before he died and was getting therapy, but there was so much that I had to deal with after his death...each time he used was a lie and a theft from our joint household income (he'd come up with ficticious or inflated excuses for the use of the money).  It took me a long time but I finally was able to incorporate the whole of the man into the memory of who he was.  What he did wrong did not negate the wonderful person and husband that he was.  Had he lived, I could have gone to him for answers, remorse, etc., but that was not availed to me...he died just three weeks after his confession.  Every time, in the next year or so, that I put two and two together and figured out yet another wrong that had been done in accordance with the drug use, was just one more thing I had to deal with...on my own, without his help.  That is why I am telling you this, because you also are having a hard time dealing with, on your own, the lie that he told you, the costly lie that cost both of your future together. 

 

Try to keep in mind, every time it surfaces and you feel that understandable anger:

1) Acknowledge his wrong to you.  The fact that he's dead does not let him off the hook.  If he was here, he'd have to answer to you in a big way.

 

2) Remember all of the rest of who he was...he still is that person.  That one lie (or many about the same thing) does not change all of the wonderful things about him.  Continue to love him.  Remember that he not only lied to you, but to himself.  He was in denial.  For what reasons, you may never know.

 

3)  If he was able to sit down and write a letter to you now, his secret out in the open, what would he say to you?  Try to write that letter to you from him.  Read it as often as you need to.

 

 

You ask what we did with our time.  For me, the nights and weekends were the hardest.  My husband had worked 75 miles away, night shift, so he stayed there during the week and was home  for a three day weekend...we always reserved that time for us, spent all of our free time together.  He called me from work, on all of his breaks except the 1:30 one (he didn't want to wake me up).  Coming home to that quiet empty house every night after his death was really hard.  I tried to fill my time, just like you are.  I remember talking on the phone more.  I saw a grief counselor.  I found this site.  I busied myself as much as I could.  Sleep was hard...sometimes it came, sometimes it didn't.  I thought if I got tired enough, I'd sleep.  I learned that's not necessarily true.  But eventually it got a little easier, it took time.  I put effort into my grief work.  I made collages depicting how I felt and how I wanted to feel (as a goal).  I wrote letters to him.  I cried.  Having pets helped.  Talking to my sisters and kids (they were grown) helped.  If I'd lived in a bigger town (I'm in the country) I would have loved a grief support group, but there were no local ones.  I walked a lot (it relieves stress).  Remember to take care of yourself, eat healthy, drink lots of water.  Doing good things for ourselves really helps as we learn to support ourselves, value ourselves, be kind to ourselves.


We WILL meet again! ...my Soulmate, my best friend, thru all time




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