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My wife passed in her sleep right next to me.

Discussion in 'Coping After a Sudden Loss' started by Jeff1964, Mar 18, 2021.

  1. Jeff1964

    Jeff1964 Member

    Our life was wonderful. We were both 56 and looking forward to our future and enjoying our empty nest. We had made some major life decisions in the prior few years to begin "living our retirement" early by focusing on things that we really wanted to do. That meant selling our large home with a large yard and pool in 2018 and downsizing to a much smaller new home and yard that would require much less time to manage. That freed us up to have more time for doing things that we wanted to do. That led to the purchase of a boat in 2019 and eventually a beautiful condo on our favorite lake in Texas in May 2020. We were so happy and realized that we were blessed beyond our wildest dreams. All we wanted to do was invite friends and family to our lake home and enjoy the boat. We were happy and loved being together more than ever. As 2020 closed out, we both experienced Covid and survived without any problems and felt like we were in a great spot to have a wonderful 2021. We were in the process of contracting for some renovation work on our condo to make it stunning. Everything was in place and then my life exploded.

    Fast forward to January 2021. We went back to our home city to attend the wedding of our niece (The daughter of my wife's brother and her God-Child.) It was cold, but we didn't care because we were home with family and were going to see everyone. Valerie was going to do a reading and was so happy to be with her family. She and her siblings genuinely love each other. Never a harsh word or negative comment. We made it through the wedding and Val did a great job on her reading and she looked so beautiful in her red dress. The wedding was followed by a few hours where we met with some family at a restaurant and shared some appetizers and drinks while we waited for the reception to begin. Like the wedding, it was wonderful to have that time with family and we were relishing the moment. The reception was great and we had a great time talking with friends and family and wore out the photo booth. It was such a great night. No drinking or wild stuff, just enjoying being home with family and a calm and a peace that is hard to describe. Around 10pm, we were both tired and decided to get home and get a good night's sleep because we had more family time scheduled for the next two days.

    We returned to my friend's home and got ready for bed. Our last words were about what time we wanted to get up in the morning and then my precious Val drifted off to sleep facing me. I'm pretty sure we said "I love you" but I can't remember for sure. It is all such a blur. I awoke the next morning later than we agreed, so I figured that Val must have been really tired to sleep beyond our agreed upon time. I brushed my teeth and started to get ready and decided that I needed to get her going also. I hated to wake her because she had been going pretty hard and I was happy that she was catching up on her sleep. I called her name and that is when I realized that something wasn't right. The silence was so odd and she was still sleeping on her side. I quickly walked to the bed and put my hand on her to wake her up and felt the most horrible feeling in the world. My baby girl had passed in the night and was so cold.

    It has been 8 1/2 weeks since I lost my wife suddenly in her sleep. The pathologist I hired to find out what happened told us that she had an "electrical event" in her sleep and she just stopped. No struggle or suffering. It was just like a light switch and when you have one of these events, you just stop. Unfortunately, my entire life stopped with her heart. I built my entire life around her and I hated to be away from her. I have been working at home for the last year and rarely worked at the condo because she could not be there with me. Now, I was without her forever.

    Since that day, I have been an emotional mess. A good day is just kind of blah, but bad days are horrible. The pain of the loss goes all the way to my soul. I look at all of the wonderful things we had built together and suddenly it meant nothing. New home - big deal, condo overlooking a beautiful lake - not interested, beautiful boat - means nothing without my girl. I have never experienced sadness like this and I can't remember the last time that I was truly happy. I know it was the day of the wedding, Val's last day on earth, but I can't remember anything specific about it other than what I described.

    I have been reading books on grieving and I know that the future will help me heal my heart, but I'm lost right now and I'm ready to talk to others in my position. The books say you should do this, so I hope that this allows me and others to process our grieving and move forward in a positive and healthy way. I would appreciate any comments that can help me learn how to go about this. Has anyone attempted to do anything on this site or is it better to try to find a group that meets in my city? I am open to anything that is a good fit.

    Thank you for reading.
    Chris M 2000 and LindaH like this.
  2. sue54

    sue54 Member

  3. sue54

    sue54 Member

    Jeff I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my daughter last year she was only 40. I never got to say good bye. I know what you are feeling. I was in a bad place did not know what I was going to do. I finally had a counselor and a coach reach out to me. I talked to them both every week for 6 weeks they have helped me so much. Also.my brother helped me he told me I could call him anytime even if it was at 12:00 at night. Just being around people and being able to talked to someone helps a lot. Some days it really hurts. But it will get better I promise you.

    Best wishes Susan
    Jeff1964 likes this.
  4. Jeff1964

    Jeff1964 Member

    Thank you Susan. I'm so sorry for your loss. Prior to this, I always feared the loss of a child. I can't imagine the pain that you are in. Thank you for your advice. I do think that talking with someone who lost their spouse suddenly will help me. I hope to find a group soon.
  5. PaxVobiscum

    PaxVobiscum Member

    Jeff, I can relate to your pain and am sorry for your loss. We were close to you and your wife's age. I'm 61 and my wife was 59. I lost my wife on December 11th 2020, the day after our 37th wedding anniversary. She went in the hospital at the end if October with an infection, but had her first heart attack a few days later i the hospital bed. She was in the hospital 6 weeks. It will be 14 weeks tomorrow (Friday) that she passed. What you said about good days and bad days and how the pain goes all the way to your soul describes it well for me as well. I tell people I feel like part of my soul has been amputated. I miss her so bad and I wish things could just go back to the way they were, but this is our new reality now. Our little dog died exactly 2 months after my wife died. I'm still too new at this unwelcome and undesired new way of life to probably offer much advice. I'm still trying to feel my way through each day myself. I'm blessed to have several friends who have been there for me through the weeks after her death. It helps to have people you can talk with and openly share your feelings without fear of being judged. I also spoke a few times to a grief counselor and she gave me some advise that was helpful.

    I lost my parents over 20 years ago and have lost other relatives and friends over the years, but nothing comes anywhere close to the grief I've been dealing with after losing my wife. You sound like you are probably finding that to be the case for yourself too. I'm new on this site, but I started using the Live Chat feature a few days ago and have chatted a few times with some of the people that hang out there. They are very nice and encouraging. Someone on the chat told me of another that has zoom meetings for widow/widower support and I'm going to check out their weekly meeting for newly widowed people next Tuesday. Here's the link if you are interested. They have some videos on this page page too. https://widowedvillage.org/time-widowed/newly-widowed/ Hang in there.
    Jeff1964 likes this.
  6. Jeff1964

    Jeff1964 Member

    Pax. I'm also sorry for your two losses. First to lose your soul mate and then your little buddy. That just seemed like you got kicked when you were already down. Thank you so much and you and I sound like we are definitely in the same place as far as our hurt and grief. I'm like you in that all I want is for it to go back to the way it was. I have two dogs and they have definitely helped me deal with this loss. I will check out those sites soon and see if I can find a good fit.
  7. KrisCarn

    KrisCarn New Member

    Hi Jeff,

    My sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to you.

    Although it was my mother that I lost recently, I can relate to your pain so much. I can also relate to the way in which you lost your wife, because I believe it's the same way we lost my mother. I was with her the last night of her life - she said she felt very fatigued (which was par for the course because she was getting older and had beaten cancer through chemo therapy last year). But, even though she was very tired, that last evening, with myself, my mother and my father also had a peace that was hard to describe - just like you said. It was one of the "warmest" nights I had with my parents in recent memory.

    She went to bed around 9:30pm which was very out of character for her - she would sometimes be up until 12:30am-1:00am painting or working on something. But in the morning was gone. She looked exactly like she was sleeping - no signs of a struggle, nothing unusual. Except for the fact that it was my beautiful and healthy mother laying there. The pain is beyond what words can convey, which you know.

    We chose not to do an autopsy. I believe she also had an "electrical" event as well, but I'll never really know. It's just what my gut tells me. She had a heart arrhythmia that she had taken medication for for more than 30 years so we never thought it would be a threat - that it was taken care of with the medication. However, my father said that a few days prior to her death she said she felt there was something off with her heart and thought it was maybe the medication. A day before she passed she told me she was having panic attacks. At the time I believed it was due to her upcoming PET scan to check if her cancer was still in remission and COVID anxiety. Now, I believe her heart was beating erratically. I have such intense regret for not recognizing that something was wrong.

    Over the past 2 and a half months, I've been searching endlessly for ways to cope with this intense, unending pain. Nothing will ever give me what I'm really looking for (my perfect mother back) so I'm taking little pieces of ways to cope and I'm finding that all the little pieces add up to a little SLIVER of comfort. Just a SLIVER. Even though it's just a sliver, I'll take whatever amount I can get, because God knows I need it.

    Here's what I've been doing to cope:
    1. Grief groups (they're all on Zoom but once I can get to one that's local and in-person I'm going to go). David Kessler has a large community at grief.com, you can also find them on Meetup.com and local searches etc
    2. Texting with a friend who lost his wife a month before my mother died - our mutual understanding of one another's pain is at least something
    3. Getting in touch with my spirituality - researching different religions, near death experiences, etc.
    4. Therapy - this helps for a few hours but after the hours pass I'm back to the intense pain but the few hours is better than no hours
    5. Got a dog - to have something to care for and hold onto
    6. Journaling to my mother - writing to her when I need to is cathartic as much as it can be at this horrific time
    7. Trying to get out of the house when I have the strength

    That list may be totally useless to you but I hope it offers you something.

    Again, I'm so profoundly sorry for your loss. The magnitude is overwhelming, I understand. You're not alone.

    Jeff1964 likes this.
  8. Jeff1964

    Jeff1964 Member

    Kristen, I am sorry for your loss also. My mother is experiencing serious issues with her memory and it is hard, so when I hear you talk about your mother, it makes me envy your relationship. To have something that wonderful and lose it must be so hard. I wish I had words to help you and your father, but none exist.

    It sounds like you are doing a good job of working through things and I hope they help give you comfort and healing. I have thought about journaling and I already have two dogs. Our faith was strong and I'm leaning on it more than ever. I have several friends (male and female) who have lost spouses and I have found that each of them allows me to share my grief and truly understand my pain. They have also been able to give me a heads up on what I will experience and they have been pretty accurate.

    I do pretty good some weeks and then I have a really bad week and then the pain lifts. At this point, I have no idea when it will hit me or how bad it will bring me down, but each cycle teaches me that I will survive because a decent week follows the bad week and all of the crying. I just need to keep going.
  9. Cjb1957

    Cjb1957 New Member

    Hi Jeff. I am sorry for your pain. I’m sure everyone’s pain is different and we all feel ours is somehow worse. I met my wonderful husband 7 years after a terrible divorce. After the divorce, I swore I would never let another person have the power to hurt me like that again. It took me a long time to trust him, but he was the best example of a man I have ever known. We married in July of 2016. He had an unexpected first seizure in March of 2020. No cause could be found, and he continued to have them in spite of medication. I spent every moment of every day trying to protect him. On March 6th I found him dead in our bed. I feel like I should have been able to save him. I don’t know how to do any of this. Not just the banking and the house and the lawn and the bullshit, but the breathing and talking and pretending to be alive. I understand it is supposed to get better with time, but I don’t know how to bear it. I hope you are having more better days as time goes on.
    Jeff1964 likes this.
  10. Jeff1964

    Jeff1964 Member

    Carol, Thank you for sharing. Our stories are similar in some ways and I can picture in my mind how happy you were. I've seen that in my life where someone goes through a painful marriage and then finds their soulmate. I'm so sorry that you lost him so soon. You will face some very sad days in the coming months as I have because the person we lost was so wonderful. Talk to friends, pray, attend church, read some books on grieving and do you best to spend time with friends even when you are having a bad day. That has been my biggest challenge so far because when the grief hits, it really knocks me for a loop and I don't want to do anything or see anyone. Please continue to share your story with friends and write it down if you feel the need. It has been good for me to talk and write about my loss.
  11. Chris M 2000

    Chris M 2000 Well-Known Member

    So sorry to hear about your devastating loss. There is a chat room on this website if you want to join in a chat. I think most people are present mostly in the early morning and evening. I pray God will help you find your way in your new life. Chris