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Loss during pandemic lockdown

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I lost my husband of 30 years during the pandemic lockdown. Was not able to be with him at all. After him being in ICU on a ventilator (not Covid related) and not being able to talk to him and after numerous phone conversations with doctors and nurses I finally received the call I was dreading. There’s only one reason they want you to come to the hospital. He was “actively “ dying. That was their terminology. I didn’t make it to the hospital in time. I am overwhelmed with such pain and doubt and remorse that I can’t talk about it without breaking down. I lost the love of my life and I couldn’t even be with him. He was gone the moment they took him to the hospital. 

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Hello and welcome.  Your post made me wince more than once while reading, as some of what you describe is similar to what happened to my partner, although this was long before Covid, and I at least got to say goodbye  You related a little more of your story in a response you made to someone else in another thread.  I can only shudder to think what you must be experiencing.  Juggling the usual emotions that accompany the death *and* the added dimension of helplessness against something as insidious and impersonal as this virus.... staggering.  I am so sorry for the additional, complicated layers of grieving that have settled on you like this. 

I wonder what scars we will all be bearing by the time this thing has burned itself out.

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I remember being told my husband would be gone in a couple of days as the hospice people knew the signs.  I know they wanted to prepare me, but nothing can for the reality of it.  I had 4 years to prepare.  To not be there I am torn about.  I could at least see him before I got the call he was gone as I was getting ready to go see him.  To be separated as long as you were and him being incubated had to be horrible.  Steve didn’t make any sense, but he wasn’t imprisoned by a tube.  I didn’t like what I saw tho.  That will always haunt me.  I wish you would have had the choice.  It’s just so unfair what this virus has done to everyone, infected or not.  

Kieron is right his adds to the shock and grief burden you have to carry.   We’re here to listen and offer any support we can.  I know coming here helped me immensely to talk with others who understood this new existence.  Outsiders try, but they can’t unless they have experienced it.   They don’t understand how we are forever changed.  I hope you will feel free to share your pain so you know you aren’t alone about anything you feel.

as one topic is appropriately named....welcome to the club no one wants to join.  💔

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15 hours ago, Littlepeach said:

I am overwhelmed with such pain and doubt and remorse that I can’t talk about it without breaking down. I lost the love of my life and I couldn’t even be with him.

I am so sorry!  I do understand that feeling even though my losing my husband was 15 years ago and not during the pandemic.  He was in the hospital awaiting surgery following a heart attack, I was gone at the time and he didn't call me as he "didn't want to ruin my weekend!"  I'm sure he had no idea he would die that weekend.  When I got to the hospital there were people there, then they decided to move him and made me leave.  When they called me back, he was sleeping.  He awoke having another heart atttack, I ran for help, they called the code and they came running.  They literally threw me off the ward and locked the door behind me, so I didn't get to be with him as he transitioned to what was next for him.  I have always been bothered by that, we went through thick and thin together, always together and when he needed me most I couldn't be there.  I wonder if he was cognizant of what was going on, he was in so much pain, I worry he thought I abandoned him, or maybe he was focusing so much on the pain or what was next he hardly noticed?  I don't know.  I do know I have to continue to have faith in our love, for that is how our relationship was built, and now is the biggest faith walk of my life...that of continuing these years while he is "away," knowing we will be together again and that time never to part!

I wrote this article a few years ago of the things I've found helpful over the years, I am hoping something in it will be of help to you today, something else later on down the road.  I am so sorry for your loss, that the pandemic itself has made everything all the harder for you.  We want to be here for you as you go through this.


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

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