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Lost my soulmate 3 weeks ago


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Hi everyone,

I'm new here.   Sadly, I very unexpectedly and suddenly lost my husband on June 28th.  Tomorrow will mark exactly 3 weeks since he passed.  He was much too young to go.  He had just turned 52 only 3 weeks earlier on June 4th.  We were together for 22 years.  In fact, we had just celebrated our 22nd anniversary not even 2 weeks earlier.  I had been with my husband since I was only 18.  Funnily, we met in an AOL chatroom.  We started chatting online and then that progressed to very long phone calls.  We lived a little over 3 hours from each other, but about a week after we met online, he made the long drive to meet me and spend several days with me.  He was 11 years older than me, but despite the age gap, we developed an immediate bond and connection and almost immediately fell in love and have been attached at the hip ever since.  Unfortunately, my husband suffered from many health issues/conditions over the years.  He was a brittle type 2 diabetic, had coronary artery disease, had double bypass open-heart surgery at just 45 years old, a heart attack at just 50 years old, congestive heart failure, obstructive sleep apnea, chronic back pain from (inoperable) spinal canal stenosis, and suffered many episodes of pancreatitis for 10 years until they finally took his gallbladder out.  He was also a smoker, which I BEGGGED him to quit for 22 years, but he just couldn't/wouldn't for whatever reason.  For 2-3 months before his passing, he had been in and out of the hospital multiple times with a very severe diabetic foot wound.  At one point, he was septic and very sick from the infection.  He had home health come to our home 3 times a week to clean his wound and change his dressings and I did it on the days they didn't come.  His foot was actually getting better and the day that he passed, he was supposed to have an appointment with his podiatrist to discuss reconstruction plans (they had to remove some severely infected bones in the foot).

On the day that he passed, I had just woken up and was lying in bed scrolling through my phone as I usually do upon first waking up before getting up to let our dogs out and start my day.  Both my husband and I work from home and he had been in his office working all morning.  I then heard him calling me for me and he sounded very distressed.  I jumped out of bed and ran to him as fast as I could.  He was having SEVERE difficulty breathing and he was trying to get up the stairs to get back to his office.  I helped him up the stairs and got him to his office chair.  Both my husband and I were paramedics years ago and we both knew something wasn't right.  I asked my husband if he wanted me to call 911 and he said, "No, just give me a second" so we waited a couple of minutes to see if he could catch his breath, but then he said, "Call 911," so I did.  About an hour after the ambulance had taken him, I called the ER to see how he was doing and I was told he was "stable."  I was relieved by this, so I took care of a few things around the house and planned to head to the ER to be with him.  I then called the ER another hour later before heading over there to check on him.  They then gave the phone to the doctor, who told me that he was in very critical condition and had coded twice in the ER.  He said they were able to revive him and get him intubated, but that he was "barely hanging on" and "could pass away at any moment."  It was like the entire world froze when I heard this.  I actually dropped the phone.  How could he go from being stable an hour ago to knocking on death's door an hour later???  I told the ER doctor that I would rush over.  I called my parents (who live in the house across the street from us) and then I started to get ready to rush to the ER.  Then, my dad showed up at my door a few minutes later.  He had called the ER to check on my husband and was told that he had just passed away.  It is believed that he had likely a pulmonary embolism, either from his PICC line or from being so immobile for the past 2-3 months with his foot wound, but he didn't survive long enough to scan for a clot.  I feel SO guilty because he had been feeling a bit short of breath in the days prior, but he wouldn't go to the ER because he knew he couldn't miss any more work as he had already missed so much from being in the hospital and he was trying not to let me down.  I should have MADE him go and I feel like this is partially my fault for not making him seek medical attention so much sooner.

Since that day, I have been in a complete state of shock, not being able to wrap my head around the fact that my husband, my soulmate, my rock, and my best friend of 22 years is gone.  We have hardly been apart since the day we met 22 years ago in June of 2000.  We had SUCH a deep bond and connection.  We had something that is very rare (especially these days), which was true unconditional love for each other.  NOTHING could tear us apart, and we went through a lot over the years!  Like most couples, we sometimes butted heads, fought, and argued, but the strong and intense love that we had for each other always held us together.  The other night, I had a dream that felt like a visitation from him.  I am the type of person who typically does not remember dreams at all, or only remember very tiny bits and pieces of fragments of them and they are usually totally meaningless, but in this dream, I was in another state and couldn't figure out how to get home, but knew that I needed to rush home to my husband and was panicking.  In this dream, I had my phone and I tried to text and call my husband, but it was like I couldn't figure out how and didn't know how to use my phone to contact him.  Then, like a jump scene in a movie, I was back in the city we live in, only I was at the house of a VERY old childhood friend from over 25 years ago who I used to live next door to when I was very young.  I have NO idea why this house was randomly in this dream.  However, I KNEW that my husband was in that house, so I ran in and there was a strange man who I didn't recognize and had never seen before who was trying to prevent me from getting to my husband, but I pushed past him and went into the next room and my husband was there.  I could see him as clear as day.  I immediately ran up to him and hugged him so tight and kept saying, "I'm so sorry.  I love you so, so much" over and over.  I remember being able to feel my husband and running my hand through his hair and feeling his facial hair.  He was wearing one of those white tank top undershirts that he used to frequently wear.  He had almost a blank look on his face and didn't say anything, but then I saw that he had tears in his eyes.  This encounter with him only lasted seconds and then I woke up.  It felt SO real.  I woke up crying and literally cried all day.   It was SO powerful and emotional.  I've never experienced anything like that in my life.

I miss my husband so much it physically hurts.  I just don't know how to go on without him.  We were true soulmates.  We could finish each other's sentences and would often say the same thing at the exact same time.  We were a team and did everything together.  All of his old co-workers that he's worked with over the years have been telling me that he CONSTANTLY talked and bragged about me and told them how much he loved me and how lucky he was to have me.  One of his old co-workers said that she has NEVER heard any man talk about his wife the way that my husband did and that it was very clear that we were the loves of each other's lives.  It makes me miss him even more.  I feel so robbed.  I'm only 40 years old and have already lost my soulmate.  When he passed, we had JUST gone under contract on our dream home and were due to close on August 8th.  I'm still going through with it because I know that's what he would have wanted me to do and he LOVED the house and was so excited about it.  This is just so unfair.  We had our whole lives ahead of us.  I never imagined my life without him.  I always felt so safe and protected with him and he took such good care of me, and I of him.  He was my entire world and I'm terrified of going on without him.  I have been with him for over half of my life and have NEVER been alone before.  😢

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I am so sorry jathas. I'm sorry you had to find your way to this Forum. 

I see so many parallels in your beautifully written story to my wife and the way I felt about my soul mate. She was only 49 when she passed and had many, many health problems: Type 1 Diabetes, kidney disease, severe sleep apnea- she had her left leg amputated in 2014 from a botched ankle replacement. She was in terrible pain from severe arthritis, had problems with her ability to walk on her good leg. She was legally blind and was headed towards being almost completely blind soon. She passed May 16, 2020. The only consolation I have is that she didn't ever have to worry to much about getting COVID, which would have been the absolute worst for her. 

Everything you wrote about your soulmate resonates with me, including guilt about what I should have done (she was supposed to be in a rehab facility at the time she passed, but I gave in and let her come home because she hated it there, with COVID restrictions and all). It's been two years and two months and I'm still lost, unfortunately- but this Forum has been very kind and helpful. I am glad that you have family and friends and hopefully a support system to help. There are many friendly folks here with their own stories and advice. The one thing in common is that we all lost our soul mates- the most incredible people that we were blessed to have known. We're all just taking one day at a time, using this Forum to vent and commiserate. Please know we care here and you can say anything and we'll understand. I'm sorry to say it, but welcome. Hang in there and we'll be there (in cyberspace). 

James

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Jathas, I am so sad to hear of your husband’s death. Losing a spouse is truly is the most intense thing anyone can go through. I’m glad you found this community and posted. We are all hear to listen, care and support each other along our grief journey.

As I read through your story I was amazed at the similarities between your situation and mine. My husband was young when he passed (almost 20 months ago now), his birthday was also in June, and we met through a telephone dating service, which isn’t a chat room, but we connected over the phone having very long conversations before meeting.

I too woke up one morning to hear my husband calling for me in severe distress, I instantly call 911, they arrive so fast it was like they parachuted in. I heard them say he coded, but with seconds of them doing something I heard them say , “Ok, we have a heartbeat.” Then he was rushed to hospital, I couldn’t go due to Covid. I called my sister, when we got the call I could go to hospital my sister drove us, we arrived only to find out he had passed away. It’s been almost 20 months and I’m still waiting for cause of death. They initially thought it was a pulmonary embolism, but that is still to be determined as the initial autopsy couldn’t detect a blood clot.

I didn’t write my story to diminish yours, rather I just want to say I can relate on many levels. I can also relate to you being in shock. I experienced that for about 3 months. I wish I could give you a hug 🤗 I hope you have a good support from family and friends. With such a loss there is always a lot to unpack and process, so please allow yourself the time to do just that. Remember the importance and necessity of self-care. Understand that everyone grieves differently, so do what you need to do to grieve your loss. And know you always have this community to lean on, so post questions, vent, do whatever you need to do. We’re here for you 💕
 

 

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I've had a very similar dream many years ago. I found him in a room from a building which was very familiar to me, like having been there before. Then all in a sudden we were in a different room and for the first and only time in a dream, he looked at me with sad eyes and said I'm sorry. Then an orange light came into the room through a window and kept growing in intensity, and he was gone from my sight. The orange light was gone too. I woke up.

I lost my boyfriend 8 years ago after a surgery. I'm so sorry for your loss. This is a very compassionate place to be.

Ana

 

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Jathas, I'm so sorry for your loss, your sad story moved me so much, and at such a young age too. Like our other friends have said here, you have come to the right place, we will listen to you and relate and I can honestly say that I have found comfort sharing my thoughts and feelings with everyone. We all relate and can understand the pain each of us is going through. My beautiful husband suddenly left this world from a heart attack at 57,we'd been married 25 years, had only celebrated our silver wedding anniversary a few months back. He was fit and healthy, no warning signs, my two grownup kids were also there when it happened, I wish they hadn't seen that scene of their dad lying there, the ambulance arrived quickly but there was nothing they could do. 

I understand perfectly that feeling of protection you had with our soulmate, I get by now still feeling around me, inside me, that protection, that special emotional bond we had together, which helps me get through my day.

I know you are now living in shock and disbelief, you can pour your heart out here whenever you like,  say whatever is going through your mind, you will be understood.

Sending you a warm hug. 

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21 hours ago, jathas said:

I feel SO guilty because he had been feeling a bit short of breath in the days prior, but he wouldn't go to the ER because he knew he couldn't miss any more work as he had already missed so much from being in the hospital and he was trying not to let me down.  I should have MADE him go and I feel like this is partially my fault for not making him seek medical attention so much sooner.

I am so sorry for your very recent loss!  My husband also died of heart attack with Diabetic complications just five days after his 51st birthday.  We did not expect any of this!  Apparently he had a heart attack that damaged his heart six months earlier and his doctor had attributed it to diabetes instead of heart and never sent him to a cardiologist.

I quoted your statement because I want to point out that it is common to feel this way in early grief!  It's as if our brain can't handle what happened and we are looking for some possible other ending other than the one that happened.  "What if...this...what if that..."  It's not your fault.   I know I can't talk you out of your feelings but while you are thinking them, realize that feelings are not facts, they are to be gotten through the best we can.  You would have done ANYTHING for him!  That is your truth, hang onto that.

It was at three weeks I first came here, 17 years ago.  It helped so much to know there were others going through this and understood.  Also, getting to know Marty over the years, she has been like a mentor and friend, her helpful articles and advice over the years, it's what is missing from the other websites I visited.  This place is like a family...when my own family cared but didn't have a clue what it was like to lose their spouse and sometimes the things they said were hurtful rather than helpful.  

I hope you'll continue to come here to read and post, it helps, it really does.

Grief Process

This is not a one-size-fits-all, what strikes us one day will be different a few months/years from now, so please save/print this for reference!

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

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 its 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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22 hours ago, jathas said:

I miss my husband so much it physically hurts.

Welcome.  You could hardly have said a truer statement than the one above.  The absence is a wrenching, physical pain that often settles in the chest, the arms, the shoulders.  A massage therapist told me once that we carry grief in our arms, the chest, the shoulders, or some combination thereof.  It makes sense.  I remember my arms physically aching for many months afterward.

As others have said, you've come to a good place here.  This is THE place to come and vent, remember, wonder and reminisce.  Everyone here "gets it."  Some of what you describe has similarities to what I went through, and likewise I blamed myself for quite some years, for not pushing him harder to eat better, exercise, etc. but in the end, it was his decision.  😕

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Thank you so much for all of the very kind responses!  This is the MOST painful, gut wrenching experience I have ever felt in my entire life.  I am very fortunate to have my parents, extended family, and friends and they try so hard to be supportive, but with the exception of one friend/former co-worker who lives out of state and lost her husband in 2009, none of them have ever been through this or truly understand what I'm going through.  Until you lose your soulmate, your best friend, the love of your life, and your partner in life, you can never understand the physical and emotional pain that it induces.  This is a grief like none other.  I thought losing pets was hard enough, but this is 100-fold. 

I know that my husband made some very poor decisions regarding his health (i.e., continuing to smoke after double-bypass surgery 7 years ago and despite me begging him to quit since we first became a couple 22 years ago), poor diet, total lack of exercise, being obese, etc., but I just feel like I should have urged him MUCH more strongly to go to the hospital when he very first started experiencing shortness of breath a few days earlier.  I told him to go to the ER, but when he said no, I dropped it and didn't push the issue.  If I had known what he had going on was this serious and was actually life-threatening, I would have dragged him to the hospital myself.  Honestly, I initially thought his shortness of breath was just from being so deconditioned from being basically immobile for 2-3 months because of his foot wound.  I did mention the possibility of a blood clot to him, but we both kind of dismissed that idea.  We were both just so focused on working and getting ready to purchase our new home that we had just gone under contract on.  Our mutual best friend keeps getting pissed at me for blaming myself, but I just can't help the way that I feel.  I put so much pressure on my husband because he had missed SO much work in April and May due to being in and out of the hospital with his diabetic foot wound and infection and I told him we couldn't afford for him to be hospitalized and miss a whole bunch of work again.  I feel like THAT is why he didn't go.  However, I do also know that he was SICK TO DEATH of being in the hospital.  He was SO frustrated and felt so defeated.  He had been battling so many chronic health issues for so many years and he was in constant pain from his spinal stenosis and herniated cervical disk and it got to the point where even his opiate pain medications weren't really even helping all that much anymore.  His quality of life has been terrible.  The last time he was in the hospital several weeks before he passed, he was stuck in the ER for 6 days because they didn't have any inpatient beds available and he HATED it.  He said it felt like solitary confinement and it was so noisy and chaotic that he couldn't even sleep, so, ultimately, I know that he really didn't want to go back to the hospital either.  He also loved his job (he had JUST received a promotion and a raise only days before his passing) and was so excited about this house that we were about to buy.  Sadly, he waited until it was too late to seek help this time. 

I would give ANYTHING to be able to go back in time and do this over and get him the help he needed sooner; however, as my family and friends have said, with all of the health problems he had (especially in the last 1-2 years his health has really snowballed), there really isn't any guarantee that getting him help sooner would have made much or any difference in the outcome.  My dad said to me that if it wasn't this, it would have been something else.  He REFUSED to quit smoking or make any other lifestyle changes to better his health.  Maybe I shouldn't use the word "refused."  Maybe he just didn't have the motivation and I know the chronic pain that he had severely limited his exercise ability and I think the smoking calmed his nerves.  For the longest time, my husband would have fluid weeping from his legs from congestive heart failure and I feel that his health was very poorly managed, but I also realize that he, too, had to take some responsibility for his own health and not just rely on doctors.   I tried so hard to help him and encourage him and to get him to change his ways so he could be healthier and feel so much better and not be sick all the time.  I am a health and fitness guru and I tried to lead by example, but he just wasn't following.  At times, I was very gentle in trying to guide him in the right direction to make better choices and other times, I would say something like, "What in the hell is wrong with you?!  Do you WANT to die?!"  Nothing worked.  He was so set in his ways.

All that aside, I miss him SO, SO much.  It's overwhelming how much I miss him.  Even our dogs keep looking for him and it breaks my heart.  Our dogs were his babies.  I feel like they always brought my husband and I so much closer together because they have always been like our children (we never had any kids).  He was everything to me.  I had been with him for over half my life.  How am I supposed to just go on with life after losing the person who meant more than anything to me?  We should have had DECADES left together!  It's completely unfair!  The worst part of my day is waking up in the morning and realizing that he's not here.  I literally cannot imagine myself with anyone but him.  He truly IS my soulmate.  The one comfort I have is that in the 3 weeks since he's passed, I have received SO many Facebook messages from people he has worked with at various jobs over the years and they ALL said that he would CONSTANTLY talk about me, brag about me, and tell everyone how much he loved me and how proud he was of me.  I had one woman message me who he used to work with say that she has NEVER heard any man talk about his wife the way that my husband talked about me and how clear it was that we were the loves of each other's lives.  Those messages mean so much to me.

Thank you all for listening.  I find it very therapeutic to talk/write about it.

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Your posts really resonate with me. I know exactly what it's like to live life always waiting for my wife at doctors appointments, never knowing if that day I would have to take her to the Urgent Care or ER. Always seemed to be waiting for her in some medical office. Our ongoing joke was singing the title of a song by the group Toad The Wet Sprocket: "Something's Always Wrong" 

Annette had weeping legs (well, leg, because one was amputated). I have so many regrets about what we decided to do regarding her health and when. One of the biggest is the ankle replacement that resulted in her amputation. She was adamant about this surgery, because her left ankle was bone on bone from severe rheumatoid arthritis. The surgeon botched it and her ankle became infected. We could have tried to save her leg but it would have required great expense, traveling out of town and her missing months of work to go to a specialized rehab. She decided amputation made more sense with our circumstances, and I regret that I agreed to that because that amputation was the catalyst for the health problems and weight gain that caused her passing. She never put herself first, even though I held her on a pedestal- she never thought she was deserving of the best. She always put the "household" or finances over what was best for her. 

What I wouldn't give to go back in time- meet her when she and I were both kids, go to her school, warn her about the Type 1 Diabetes she would develop soon after turning 14. 

I'm so glad that you are finding some comfort in posting. It has helped me greatly through this. I often think I'm OK, I don't have anything else to say, I except this lonely, solitary "David Banner" type existence, but I keep coming back because it is human connection and it's such a blessing to be able to talk about this to people who know what it's like, because no one in the real world gives a flying fig about my loss. 

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2 hours ago, nashreed said:

I regret that I agreed to that because that amputation was the catalyst for the health problems and weight gain that caused her passing. . 

This was what I worried about with my husband.  He was told multiple times that his foot needed to be amputated and that was the only definitive treatment and he was even warned that it could lead to death if he were to keep the foot; however, my husband was ADAMANT that he wanted to continue with wound care, antibiotics through his PICC line at home, and he wanted amputation to only be the very last resort option.  His own mother also lost her leg as a result of her diabetes complications and was in a wheelchair until the day she died just over 14 years ago when she was 65 of a massive stroke while we were visiting her.  He was TERRIFIED of becoming like his mother in that regard.   With all of my husband's other health problems, I can't help but wonder if amputation would have sent him on an even further downhill slide.  

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 They are grown adults and make their own decisions, I doubt there's anything you could have done that would have made a difference, yet I understand the desire to want to go back and try.  :wub:

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2 hours ago, kayc said:

 They are grown adults and make their own decisions, I doubt there's anything you could have done that would have made a difference, yet I understand the desire to want to go back and try.  :wub:

True.  It's just hard because I was reading through some of our text messages from the days leading up to his passing and there was one text where he said, "If you want me to go to the hospital, I will" and my response was, "We are right in the middle of buying a new house and you have missed so much work these last couple of months.  We literally cannot afford for you to miss another day.  You have NO sick time left and haven't had a full paycheck since April."  So, he didn't go, and I feel like he was looking for my guidance and encouragement, even my permission to go to the hospital.  I KNOW he didn't want to go and he was SO sick of hospitals from being in and out of them for so long, but he was turning to me for advice and I did NOT respond how I should have.  I should have INSISTED that he went.  I should have driven him to the hospital myself.  I will NEVER forgive myself for that.  I just truly did not know that what he had going on was actually to the extent of being life-threatening.  My husband always sought medical attention when he really knew he needed it, but this time he didn't until it was too late and I'm pretty sure that I was a major factor in that.  I was being selfish and was more focused on work, money, and the new house.   I'd give anything to get just one do-over and maybe he'd still be here.  Maybe all he needed was a day or two in the hospital to treat his presumed clot and he would have been home.  He told me a couple of days before he passed that his new primary care had taken him off his blood thinner and diuretic that he had been on for years and needed about a month prior.  I hate myself so much.  I feel like I'm largely responsible for my husband's death.  😥

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8 minutes ago, jathas said:

I should have INSISTED that he went.  I should have driven him to the hospital myself.  I will NEVER forgive myself for that.

jathas, your loss is so fresh, your emotions so raw. Right now it’s hard to see past the should have’s from the past and forgive.

My late husband also chose unhealthy choices that affected his health. I now believe he made these decisions due to his mental state, but whatever the reason he was a grown man who had free will and he made his own decisions, whether they where good or bad from my perspective. I didn’t agree with some of his choices, but I wasn’t about to mother him - I was his wife and I wasn’t going to treat him like a child.

I just want to share something with you. I don’t want to be preachy, rather the sole purpose is to provide you with support and tools for your healing journey.

The word “should “ leads to shame. This is not something you want to add to your already heavy emotions of grief. The word “should “ is inherently negative; using this word results in feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, frustration and self-rejection. Beating yourself up for what you should or could have done is like fighting an enemy within us.

You are processing something so profound, so intense, please, please do not add to your heavy burden. I understand this is not easy, but I don’t want you to get sucked into a downward spiral of stress. The word “should “ is an active for of self criticism. This is not healthy as it suggests one does not accept who or where we are. Your healing will be a long road, please don’t add undue stress with this type of thinking. I know this may sound impossible. All I want to do is support you and I felt this was important to share.

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19 minutes ago, Boho-Soul said:

jathas, your loss is so fresh, your emotions so raw. Right now it’s hard to see past the should have’s from the past and forgive.

My late husband also chose unhealthy choices that affected his health. I now believe he made these decisions due to his mental state, but whatever the reason he was a grown man who had free will and he made his own decisions, whether they where good or bad from my perspective. I didn’t agree with some of his choices, but I wasn’t about to mother him - I was his wife and I wasn’t going to treat him like a child.

I just want to share something with you. I don’t want to be preachy, rather the sole purpose is to provide you with support and tools for your healing journey.

The word “should “ leads to shame. This is not something you want to add to your already heavy emotions of grief. The word “should “ is inherently negative; using this word results in feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, frustration and self-rejection. Beating yourself up for what you should or could have done is like fighting an enemy within us.

You are processing something so profound, so intense, please, please do not add to your heavy burden. I understand this is not easy, but I don’t want you to get sucked into a downward spiral of stress. The word “should “ is an active for of self criticism. This is not healthy as it suggests one does not accept who or where we are. Your healing will be a long road, please don’t add undue stress with this type of thinking. I know this may sound impossible. All I want to do is support you and I felt this was important to share.

Thank you.  I know that my husband made many extremely unhealthy choices throughout his life.  I even told him (on several occasions, I believe), "I am your wife, not your mother.  I should not have to tell you to do/not do these things," but he did what he was going to do no matter what I said or thought.  He was an adult.  He was even 11 years older than me.  I just wish I had responded so much differently when he asked me if I wanted him to go to the ER when he first started having shortness of breath and I flat out said no.   But, I realize that he was a full-grown 52-year-old man and he could have gone on his own if he felt that he really needed to, regardless of what I said.  He's done it before.  I NEVER wanted him to go to the hospital, but when he really needed to, he went, no matter how frustrated or pissed off I was about it.  This time, though, he didn't....at least not until it was too late.  I honestly think it was a combination of being scared and just so sick of constantly having to be hospitalized in these last few months.  His health has been poor for so many years, but it had gotten much worse in the last couple of years or so.  It's been literally one thing after another with his health.  I think deep down I knew this would eventually happen, but it's still such a huge shock and I am beyond devastated.  

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Wow- everything you say jathas, it sounds like my story. Annette had so many health problems: if anyone ever complained about their health or maladies, we always joked that she could beat anyone in a game of "How many health problems do you have?"-no one else could even be in the same ballpark. 

From my experience, it was unfortunately inevitable. She told me even before we got married that she would die early- she knew. She knew the Diabetes would get her in the end. She had been fighting it for so many years. 

I feel tremendous guilt about not forcing her to stay in the rehab facility she was supposed to be in- but she wanted to be home, with me. The last hospital stay she had just about did her in- apparently she almost passed there. She was also just plain worn out from it all. She was tired of being sick all the time. Her body just gave out. 

The one consolation I have is knowing that she's free from it all now. I only ever just wanted her to be happy and not in pain, and she is now. I know her spirit is alive and she's happy. I can't be selfish and wish she was still with me when she was so miserable and in pain all the time. And I know that, even with all the guilt I feel still, she does NOT blame me for anything. We were always believers in "What's supposed to happen, happens" and "You're where you're supposed to be" because that's how we met and how our love and life played out. It's sad and I hate it, but it's what was going to happen. The way she passed was peaceful in it's way, and I'm glad she didn't have to suffer through COVID. 

From you telling us how much your husband adored you and loved you, he would not blame you for anything. I know it's hard to transcend the guilt- I still haven't fully after two years, but it does get easier. The missing her, the loneliness, the sadness... that's still there. But the guilt, that starts to fade, I promise, when you realize and know that he would not want you to feel it. All I can try to do is not make Annette sad when she checks in on me, and she would hate for me to still feel guilt- she chided me all the time about it, always told me not to worry. Just please don't let the guilt eat you alive. The loss is enough to deal with. I promise the guilt gets better. I don't blame her for anything either. It's just life after all. There is a better place, and I will be with her again. The waiting is the hard part. 

 

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30 minutes ago, nashreed said:

Wow- everything you say jathas, it sounds like my story. Annette had so many health problems: if anyone ever complained about their health or maladies, we always joked that she could beat anyone in a game of "How many health problems do you have?"-no one else could even be in the same ballpark. 

From my experience, it was unfortunately inevitable. She told me even before we got married that she would die early- she knew. She knew the Diabetes would get her in the end. She had been fighting it for so many years. 

I feel tremendous guilt about not forcing her to stay in the rehab facility she was supposed to be in- but she wanted to be home, with me. The last hospital stay she had just about did her in- apparently she almost passed there. She was also just plain worn out from it all. She was tired of being sick all the time. Her body just gave out. 

The one consolation I have is knowing that she's free from it all now. I only ever just wanted her to be happy and not in pain, and she is now. I know her spirit is alive and she's happy. I can't be selfish and wish she was still with me when she was so miserable and in pain all the time. And I know that, even with all the guilt I feel still, she does NOT blame me for anything. We were always believers in "What's supposed to happen, happens" and "You're where you're supposed to be" because that's how we met and how our love and life played out. It's sad and I hate it, but it's what was going to happen. The way she passed was peaceful in it's way, and I'm glad she didn't have to suffer through COVID. 

From you telling us how much your husband adored you and loved you, he would not blame you for anything. I know it's hard to transcend the guilt- I still haven't fully after two years, but it does get easier. The missing her, the loneliness, the sadness... that's still there. But the guilt, that starts to fade, I promise, when you realize and know that he would not want you to feel it. All I can try to do is not make Annette sad when she checks in on me, and she would hate for me to still feel guilt- she chided me all the time about it, always told me not to worry. Just please don't let the guilt eat you alive. The loss is enough to deal with. I promise the guilt gets better. I don't blame her for anything either. It's just life after all. There is a better place, and I will be with her again. The waiting is the hard part. 

 

Thank you so much for this!  I tried to do everything I possibly could for my husband to make him feel better and to be happy.  I tried so hard to encourage him to make the right choices and lifestyle changes for his health.  Honestly, these last several years, dealing with his many complicated health issues, I, myself, sank into a very deep depression because we weren't the same couple that we once were.  It was almost like his health problems came between us at times.  My husband had SO many physical limitations because of his chronic pain and other ongoing and complex health problems.  He just had so little energy and was frequently grumpy because he felt so miserable.  When we were younger and while he was still in decent health, we used to travel, be spontaneous, go places, be active, walk our dogs together, and have fun.  However, over the years, that gradually stopped because of his declining health and worsening chronic pain.  He couldn't drive for long distances any longer because of his back and neck pain, so that prevented us from going on a lot of trips that we used to go on.  Did I feel resentment and frustration at times and it did it sometimes cause friction between us?  Absolutely.  Did I stop loving him or ever even think of giving up on him?  Absolutely NOT.  I was committed to him for the rest of my life and loved and deeply cared about him and I only ever wanted what was best for him and I never wanted to lose him.   Even before he passed, I feel like I was, in some way, grieving the loss of our relationship as it once was because his health issues took over our lives and it was so frustrating and depressing, I'm sure for him as well. 

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Again, couldn't have said it better. The last several years, Annette couldn't (or didn't want to) go out anywhere- didn't want to be seen. Our "social" life was doctors offices and hospitals. That's all we ever went to. We used to go to movies (we saw SO many bad movies in the 90's, like every piece of crap that came out) and shows, but even just being home and playing UNO with her....I loved it and we had fun. I was often sad for the loss of our freedom. I would often be stuck going to bed early myself because her sleep apnea was so bad, she would be nodding off at 6pm! I always demanded that she try to go to bed- no TV time tonight :(. Those marriage vows were all important. We were devoted to each other and I was her caregiver and it was all I wanted to be, because I was helping her, the best I could. 

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That's exactly how I felt.  I really was his caregiver these last several years, and I was also his advocate with his healthcare providers.  Even though I didn't go with him to all of his medical appointments (I had to work), I was almost always the one making phone calls or sending electronic messages to his providers telling them what he needed or informing them of what was going on with him.  I was his voice a majority of the time when it came to his healthcare.  I would literally fight for him if I didn't feel that he was receiving adequate care.  I was fiercely protective of him.  I also did everything he ever asked of me, whether it was something as simple as making him a sandwich, filling up his water bottle for him, doing his laundry, changing the bandage on his foot these last couple of months on the days when the visiting nurse didn't come, etc.  I was ALWAYS there for him.  I may have gotten irritated at times, which I feel bad about now, but I was ALWAYS there for him, no matter what.  I was very, very sad and frustrated that the life that we once had together was obviously long gone and that it would never be the same because of his declining health and chronic pain issues.  Even before his diabetic foot would that developed this past spring, it had gotten to the point where even just walking through a store was extremely difficult for him because of the pain he was in, so our shopping trips were usually fairly rushed because he couldn't do it.  His energy was entirely depleted.  It broke my heart to see him in that condition and I always so badly wished I could do something to make him better and get our lives back to the way they used to be back in the "good old days," but I just felt so helpless.  😥

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I understand- you have no idea how much I understand. I had guilt because I didn't take Annette shopping very often. A trip out was difficult- stuffing the wheelchair in the backseat. She didn't like being couped up inside, but with her mobility issues and her poor eyesight, shopping trips were way easier just by myself. I missed having my buddy with me and I regret we didn't have more outings the last several years, but at the time my anxiety and issues made me impatient with trips that took too long, being around other people. I hope that she understands. I was always beating myself up because I didn't feel that, for example, I wrapped her leg well enough when it was weeping. I remember once when I went to work and she called and left a message that I had wrapped it too tight and it was hurting her. I came home so upset and I was yelling at her (but really I was mad at myself). I was just so frustrated and I was a spazzy anxiety ridden person when things were good, but I did the best I could at the time and it was out of love, and she told me she trusted me implicitly. 

One of the hardest things I have faced is still feeling the need to be a caregiver, but nobody needing me. My mother is almost 86, and thank God that she doesn't need a caregiver, but she won't take any of my advice even. She's fiercely stubborn and always knows what's best (to her) and so I feel I have no purpose, other than being here in case she needs me. Having not only my identity of being a husband taken away, but also my job as caregiver too- it's taken me this long to accept it, just like I've had to accept that I will never have anyone in my life again. I want so much to have something, anything to look forward to. I just don't see any future, and that's tough. 

I'm so sorry for the pain you're in. I know that you have people that care about you and good things in your future. I truly hope for the best for you and please know that you can say anything here and someone is always reading and understands. 

 

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This sounds exactly like me!  When Matt (my husband) would frequently need me, which would interrupt my work (we both worked from home), I would sometimes get frustrated and take it out on him and would tell him that I can't keep having all of these interruptions in my work.  I feel SO HORRIBLE for taking that out on him.   It wasn't his fault.  He just needed help.  I KNOW that he didn't want to be any sort of a burden and I really hope I didn't make him feel like he was, because he wasn't.  That was just my own frustration.  I would so often take my frustrations over his poor health and how it severely impacted our lives and finances out on him.   I wish I could take all of that back.  I am a young, active person and I SO badly wanted to be able to do things with my husband and go out and explore the world, have mini adventures, take our dogs places, travel a bit, and have fun like we always used to, but I knew he was physically incapable of doing those things anymore.  I lost my patience and got frustrated with him because I loved him so much and I SO BADLY wanted him to get better so we could drastically improve the quality of our lives and actually HAVE a life again.  When you are dealing with a spouse or significant other who NEVER feels well, has no energy or motivation, has nonstop health issues, injuries, physical ailments, and almost weekly medical appointments (sometimes multiple appointments in one week), it's almost impossible to have a life that you enjoy.  I got so depressed that I lost interest in almost everything.  I just sat in my office and worked all day and all night.  It deeply affected me and now I have all of this guilt and grief and I'm trying to find some way to move forward after spending over half of my life with him.  It feels insurmountable.  I'm only 40 years old.  I want to have a life.  Maybe I do want to date and love again when the time is right, but right now, I am just SO lost and I miss him SO, SO much.   My mom is 76 and my dad just turned 85 and they are in fairly decent health and my dad is still very active, but I worry about them constantly, and now that I've lost my husband, that worry has only intensified.  

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I'm so sorry. I'm lost too. I admit to checking in here way too often and often there's no activity. I'm just dying for human connection and some little bit of anything resembling the beautiful communication and connection I had. 

(My mom is watching "The Young And The Restless" right now, as always, and seeing these ridiculous characters and their love lives every day does a lot to improve my outlook :( ) I'm in the position of just not having any opportunity to ever meet anyone, let alone have a relationship. (I could try online dating: Can you imagine? I live with my mom and brother in the same mobile home I grew up in. My only income is disability. But ladies, I still sleep in the same bed that used to be a bunk bed with an authentic 40 year old "E.T." holographic sticker!) I've been dropped back into the same life I had (and hated) when I was 18, after 30 wonderful years with Annette that completely changed me and which I didn't deserve). I came back with nothing other than debt and a huge CD collection that's worthless to the majority of people these days. 

Point is, you have a lot more going for you and I know that you have a long road of grief to traverse, but there is light at the end- a future of your choosing. Just focus on the light at the end, take one day at a time and know that Matt is proud of you and is with you in spirit. Whatever you may or may not believe about an afterlife, I can just feel that our loved ones are there with us. 

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I have definitely been receiving signs from Matt.  It started that night within hours of his passing.  There have actual been multiple different signs that have absolutely no logical explanation as to why they occurred and are still occasionally occurring.  The very day after he passed, I was scrolling through Facebook and there was an ad that stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was an ad for a T-shirt that said "Husband and Wife - Not Always Eye to Eye, but Always Heart to Heart.  We're a Team - A Bond That Can't Be Broken."  I had NEVER seen this ad before in my life and anyone who uses Facebook knows that a majority of ads on there are super repetitive and you see the same ones over and over and over again until you finally hide them.  I had NEVER seen this ad before and I have not seen it since.  This ad was also the EXACT type of thing my husband would have shared with me on Facebook.  There have also been some wonky things going on with my wireless iPhone charger that I've had for two years and have NEVER happened before.  It started several hours after he passed and then didn't happen again until this past weekend when I was having a breakdown at my desk and my charger suddenly started doing this wonky thing again.  I think it's my Matt giving me a sign because he knows that's one I would recognize and I've told several people about it.  Also, a couple of our cats, who were always VERY shy around everyone except for Matt and I have suddenly warmed up to our best friend.  Before Matt passed, these two cats would always BOLT whenever she came over.   We've had these two cats for years, one for 7 years and one for 5 years, and they were always terrified of her, but now, every single night when our best friend comes over (as she has done every single night since Matt passed), these two cats almost IMMEDIATELY run up to her and want her attention and scratches and pets.  We also think this is Matt.  I miss him so, so much and I never imagined living my life with anyone but him.  He was THE love of my life.  He was my first and only love.  Like I said, I met him when I was only 18 years old and it's been he and I ever since as a team.  I was with Matt for over half of my life.  😥

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Absolutely devastating, I know. I was with Annette over half my life, and now I'm in this cold, cold (well, it's exactly hot as hell) empty world. 

I'm glad you have had some signs from Matt. I can't even dream of Annette anymore. I only ever had three really concrete, sure signs that I thought were her. One was a vivid dream, that I think I just wrote about recently. 

The first sign was four days after she passed, I was checking her phones voicemails, because she would still get messages from doctors offices on it. There was a message that was a just a female voice saying "goodbye". It was obviously from a robocall or automated recording that was looping so the end was the beginning, but it was only that one word. It was cleanly "edited" to just that one word, nothing else. No other ambient sound or dead space. It would have been her calling her phone number because it was easy to remember. I had just changed my number a month or so before and she could never remember it. 

The second incident happened a day later. I was just checking our DVR recordings. I was watching the finale of "The Masked Singer". I didn't really care all that much about it under the circumstances, but I was just curious to see who won, as we had been watching it together. I was able to see the performances of the runners up, but when it got to where I would see the winner unmasked, the remote would not respond at all. I was fast forwarding through the commercials, but then I could not stop the recording, I had no way to control it. Through fast forward, I could see the winner, but she was not a fan of the winning singer and would have been pissed that her favorite was runner up. I just felt her presence, that she was not happy with the show. 

The sad part is, I had to move out of that house and out of Tulsa within the first two months and when I left, so did all feelings and chances of feeling her or sensing her presence. She really disliked Southern California, where I am. This town is a dry desert town that's turned into a ghetto where the homeless get dumped from L.A., and she hated it 30 years ago when it was nice and safe. 

We were always a team too. I really miss being part of a team more than anything. We always had a saying: "I'm OK if you're OK". She's ok, I know she is. I just have to be ok. I have to figure out what to do with the rest of this life. That's the hard part. 

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