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Unbearable Pain - Will It Ever End?

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My husband of 29 years, who was my soulmate, my lover and best friend died suddenly two days ago. I am left behind in utter agony and unbelievable pain. His four sons (19 - 26) are also completely devastated. He was diagnosed with lung cancer, though a never-smoker, last summer, and went through radiation, chemo, pneumonia and other setbacks. We were both exhausted, but were given lots of hope that he would either beat this thing or at least be able to manage it over years. He was a strong, healthy, active man.

We went to the U.S. this summer for our son's wedding. He was more or less fine when we went, but started having breathing problems there. When we returned he was heaving for breath. We drove home from the airport, and straight to the hospital, where they told us it was pneumonia. They treated him for it, and things looked good. We thought he was coming home then, but then things got worse, he stopped responding and suddenly he died. It turned out there was another hidden cancer which couldn't be treated.

I'm in shock, and feel unbelievable pain and grief. I also feel enormous guilt that I wasn't more responsive to his needs before he died. The physical therapist told us he needed to start moving around and doing things for himself to get his muscles working better, so I urged him to shower himself, walk around, etc - even though he seemed tired. We all thought he was coming home within a couple of days. I had planned on taking sick leave and helping him out at home until he got better.

I had no idea he was going to die then. Why didn't I crawl into the hospital bed with him? Why didn't I hug him more? Why didn't I shower him? Why didn't I do the things the nurses were doing? I feel like such a horrible, insensitive wife. I loved him so much - he was my only love. I told him that, but I should have shown him more. We were all at his bedside when he died, but he was slipping in and out of consciousness. I don't know if he heard my words.

I can't bear of the thought of living without him. All I want to do is die, but I can't give my kids more pain. It just seems impossible. The grief and guilt are overwhelming. They say you are visited by your dead loved one after their death - in dreams. But I haven't dreamt at all. I haven't seen him, or heard him. I can't wash his clothes, because I don't want to lose his smell. I can barely sleep. To sleep I need sleeping pills, alcohol and sedatives - even then I keep waking up. I feel I let him down when he needed me most.

Why is this happening? Other people get to live long lives together. Friends and family who have spouses don't understand really. My husband was my closest companion. We were like one person. I am completely alone.

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Melina I am so sorry for your loss. Last December my husband had surgery for prostate cancer, three weeks later he died with me right by him of an embolism. I too could beat myself to a pulp over all the things I did not do but honestly it was so damn hard already. Some day I'll deal with that but not without more time to become more centered. I have not dreamed of my Dear either, or of anything else for that matter, heck just getting to sleep is often a milestone. Whoever "They" are talking about visitations in dreams, well bully for them. "They" are not going through Your grief and have no say in what is, will be this journey for you.

Yes friends who haven't had this happen really don't know but I do hope you have some friends willing to listen and help you now. The good ones will help, even if its just being there with you. Lean on them, think in small steps and remember to breathe. The internet and places like here are so good, reading others comments helped me feel not so alone even if for only a bit.

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Dear Melina,

I personally do not believe the pain ever completely goes away. It just becomes more bearable, but that takes some time.

Almost all of us here have experienced this pain of grief in full measure. For me it was the passing of my mother last November. I had no idea that grief could hit so hard. Pain, loss, desperation, wild swings of emotion, complete disruption of my life. I do not believe anybody else can know these feelings without having lost a loved one. That's the value of this community; others here know these feelings; you will be understood.

The pain, though overwhelming, also expresses the depth to which we can care for another human being. That caring and devotion is a strength you have; it will help guide you through your grief. For me it's the legacy of my mother that I struggle to preserve, however painful the process. Likewise, the memory and legacy of your husband will help carry you through this difficult time.

About 'guilt', most of us here have rehashed what we could have done to forestall or prevent our loved one's passing. Others here have called this the would've, could've, should've syndrome. We can be savage with ourselves when grief hits hardest; so please give yourself a break. With time you will get clear without having to lay heavy layers of blame on yourself.

I too was with my mother as she died, holding her and speaking to her, though she was unconscious. I can not speak or write about his without emotion. Though your own grief is now so raw and crushing, you will get through it. People here say take one day at a time. About disturbed sleep, there are a number of good posts here about coping with that. Daily exercise helped me. Better quality sleep medications are also available, but you would need a prescription from a physician. About seeing your love in a dream, there are a number of posts here about that too. About the emotional 'why' of losing a loved one; I'm not sure anybody here can give a good answer. There is a lot of discussion here about God and faith; that might help. Please, treat yourself kindly.

Ron B.

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Melina - I'm so sorry for your loss. I don't know how to preface it better. I understand what you're feeling. My husband died a little over 2 years ago, only 4 months from healthy to diagnosis of billiary duct cancer to death. Please, please don't beat yourself up about not doing more. I was an awful nurse. I was clumsy, and so terrified I was overbearing, trying to protect him. (from what??) I had a widow, someone I knew only barely, come in and take my hands, and say to me - you're like a raw wound right now. Try to sleep, take vitamins, drink a lot of water, try to take care of yourself. I know this sounds simplistic, but for right now, do this, please. Right now it's just about getting through the day. No further. It will change, but not yet. Hugs and peace, Marsha

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Melina, I am so sorry you lost your husband...there are many of us here who are left all alone and have a hard time seeing any hope for the future. It helps to know you're not alone in this and there are others who are going through the same thing. Please don't bet yourself up for what you did/didn't do, there was no way you could have known. My husband died unexpectedly too, heart attack, it's a huge shock to your system. Try to remember that he is still there, just not touchable...their spirits live on in us and we can never truly be separated. I wish I could say something that would take all your pain away, but I've learned you can't circumvent it, only go through it, cry, scream, vent, get it out, we're here, we're listening.


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Melina - I agonize with you on your husband's passing. My darling Joel was taken unexpectedly, after he had gone thru 2 life changing events from which he recovered....supposedly perfectly. Five months later, I am still in shock and unbelieving that he isn't coming back. The words from the kind people on this site have helped me so much - while I still find myself empty, alone and lost, I know that there are many others who have walked/are walking in these shoes. Their understanding and kindness have been comforting. I hope you can take some of the words as well to get you through small periods of time. I believe that's the key - one small chunk of time at a time - it's a lonely existence - I can attest to that - but it's our only logical choice.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I agonize over the things I didn't do, and lately I have been going over our 20 years together and wishing I had done this that and the other thing differently.

When Scott first died, I hardly remember sleeping for a month, and when I did, I had crazy, disjointed dreams. But I do believe his spirit lives on, and that he watches over Kailyn and myself. And I did have a dream about 8 months later, in which I do believe he came to see me, and it brought me great comfort. Don't get me wrong, I still miss him terribly, and I also don't believe the pain will ever go away; but I can tell you that over time, it will become less overpowering, more muted, more in the background - always there but no longer incapacitating.

Just concentrate on surviving from one moment to the next. Unfortunately, we have to face the pain, and alcohol will just delay it. Lean on us for support, and on anyone else you can trust.


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