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PaulaM

Lost husband and mother within 36 hours of each other

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On February 13, at 11:30 at night, I heard my husband kick back in his recliner. I headed for bed. I got up at 3, to make his breakfast and make sure he got off to work on time. He was still sleeping, which was unusual, but I went ahead and made his breakfast and when I carried it into the living room, he was still sleeping. I set his breakfast on the TV tray and reached for his foot to wake him. Everytime I think about that morning, I think to myself, Do Not Touch His Foot. Because everything in my life was good up to that point, my world still existed. But when I touched his foot, his oh so very very very cold foot, my entire world just stopped, totally. Part of me knew, and part of my was whimpering, and part of me was screaming and part of me was grabbing the phone and dialing 911 and I was yelling at him to wake up, WAKE UP. He didn't. My husband of 42 years had left me. No warning, no illness, no heart issues up to this point. He simply left. The coroner said massive heart attack, he never woke up, he didn't feel a thing, all the things that should make me feel better, but they don't, because not a damn one of them brings him back. How can I keep going without him?

He died on the 14th. On the 15th, my brother called to tell me my mom had passed early that morning. I pretty much lost the rest of the week.

I now write a blog, which is helping, but I have questions about my own sanity. Is it normal for me to suddenly break down, sobbing, for what seems no reason? Is it normal to go through the day, seeming okay, and then without warning have a meltdown?  I wear his coat everywhere, I don't care what it looks like, it smells like him. I sleep with his T shirt. Am I going crazy? Why can't I stop crying???

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You are NOT crazy..you lost 2 loved ones within hours..Thats horrific.My fiance died nov 16th and Im still waiting to wakeup from this  nightmare.Every few moments it hits me that hes not around I wear his pjs to bed and sleep w his favorite shirt..i too have waves of break downs at any given moment..Im sorry for your loss..That is alot to endure and im so deeply sorry you have to deal w such deep pain.I try not to think ahead n find it helps to not think about him too much because it sets me off.Some thoughts pop up out of the blue and makes me cry and weep like crazy.Why did he have to go?  520 304 6358. B-               if you need someone who understands what you are going thru text me or call me.

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I just keep thinking, I can't call Mom to tell her about LaVerne, and I can't come home and feel his arms around me while I mourn Mom. I never realized Grief was so damn physical, I am exhausted all the time, but I can't sleep. I'll go for awhile, , hours, where I'm okay, then boom, it hits again and I am sobbing once more.

It's the sudden sobbing, the sobbing with seemingly no warning, that wears me down. I've tried to go back to work twice now, but the first time just walking in the building did me in, last night I lasted an entire 2 1/2 hours before it hit. People, just too many people. I want to just hide away, just stay in the house and not leave, and I know that is not right either.

 

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Paula, I am so sorry for your losses.  To lose two loved ones who would have been your greatest support should either of them passed away,  must be horrendous.  Yes, it’s common to continue to get those sudden,  ‘raw grief attacks’. I still get them 23 months on but not so often and the whimpering - unexpressed pain - has eased considerably.   And no, you are not going crazy.  This is grief - it ‘nearly’ drives us demented. 

I’m sometimes alarmed about how often I find myself talking to myself.  It’s usually when I’m nutting out what I need to say or write to someone. I find myself doing it whilst out in the garden sometimes and just hope the neighbours don’t hear me! 

I just couldn’t let my mind think about certain aspects of my partners death and I’d have to tell my mind ‘don’t go there’ ‘don’t go there’ each time, which was many, many times a day initially, when intrusive thoughts came to mind.  I knew it would tip me over the edge if I did.  It’s now 23 months since his death and I’m just recently able to ‘go there’.  These thoughts have demanded to be thought about in depth.  

All here in our wee grief family ask ourselves the same question each day - how can we go on without our beloved partners who were ‘our lives’?  The answer has to be, one minute, one hour, one day at a time.  One foot in front of the other.  Grief is very hard work requiring much self-discipline.  

I’d get no sleep without taking half a sleeping each night and listening to hypnotherapy vids on youtube.  i saw a qualified psychologist/hypnotherapist initially.  It’s very relaxing and when I wake around 3 or 4 I push play again and get a couple more hours sleep. 

And I understand what you mean about being around too many people.  Thankfully, I don’t have to be as I can’t do that yet either.  I still have to force myself to go to the shops or visit friends though.  Only you will know when you’re ready to go back to work. Don’t rush it if you don’t have to.  You’re still early in your grief. 

Sending you strength, love and hugs XX  

 

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9 hours ago, PaulaM said:

On February 13, at 11:30 at night, I heard my husband kick back in his recliner. I headed for bed. I got up at 3, to make his breakfast and make sure he got off to work on time. He was still sleeping, which was unusual, but I went ahead and made his breakfast and when I carried it into the living room, he was still sleeping. I set his breakfast on the TV tray and reached for his foot to wake him. Everytime I think about that morning, I think to myself, Do Not Touch His Foot. Because everything in my life was good up to that point, my world still existed. But when I touched his foot, his oh so very very very cold foot, my entire world just stopped, totally. Part of me knew, and part of my was whimpering, and part of me was screaming and part of me was grabbing the phone and dialing 911 and I was yelling at him to wake up, WAKE UP. He didn't. My husband of 42 years had left me. No warning, no illness, no heart issues up to this point. He simply left. The coroner said massive heart attack, he never woke up, he didn't feel a thing, all the things that should make me feel better, but they don't, because not a damn one of them brings him back. How can I keep going without him?

He died on the 14th. On the 15th, my brother called to tell me my mom had passed early that morning. I pretty much lost the rest of the week.

I now write a blog, which is helping, but I have questions about my own sanity. Is it normal for me to suddenly break down, sobbing, for what seems no reason? Is it normal to go through the day, seeming okay, and then without warning have a meltdown?  I wear his coat everywhere, I don't care what it looks like, it smells like him. I sleep with his T shirt. Am I going crazy? Why can't I stop crying???

Oh yes it's normal to break down sobbing, you've lost two of the most important people in your life, how could you not!  It's been 12 1/2 years for me, I still have my husband's bathrobe hanging on the bathroom door next to mine, I hold it, sometimes I where it.  No you aren't going crazy, you are grieving.  And you cry because you have plenty to cry about.

It's one of the hardest things in the world to get used to, grief takes the rest of our lives because the missing them never stops, but thankfully grief does evolve and it doesn't always stay in the intensity you're experiencing now.  Little by little we begin to adjust and cope, but it doesn't happen overnight and the time frame is different for everyone.  You were together 42+ years, it's hard.

I wrote this from my 12 year journey through grief, I hope something is of help to you...

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 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.
  • 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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11 hours ago, PaulaM said:

On February 13, at 11:30 at night, I heard my husband kick back in his recliner. I headed for bed. I got up at 3, to make his breakfast and make sure he got off to work on time. He was still sleeping, which was unusual, but I went ahead and made his breakfast and when I carried it into the living room, he was still sleeping. I set his breakfast on the TV tray and reached for his foot to wake him. Everytime I think about that morning, I think to myself, Do Not Touch His Foot. Because everything in my life was good up to that point, my world still existed. But when I touched his foot, his oh so very very very cold foot, my entire world just stopped, totally. Part of me knew, and part of my was whimpering, and part of me was screaming and part of me was grabbing the phone and dialing 911 and I was yelling at him to wake up, WAKE UP. He didn't. My husband of 42 years had left me. No warning, no illness, no heart issues up to this point. He simply left. The coroner said massive heart attack, he never woke up, he didn't feel a thing, all the things that should make me feel better, but they don't, because not a damn one of them brings him back. How can I keep going without him?

He died on the 14th. On the 15th, my brother called to tell me my mom had passed early that morning. I pretty much lost the rest of the week.

I'm so terribly sorry for your loss and know what you're experiencing.  Losing both your husband and mom a day apart must be beyond devastating.   My Charles also died instantly from a massive heart attack exactly one year ago today and I am still feeling numb, lonely and so so sad.  What I am grateful for is that he didn't suffer; I don't know if I could have handled that.  I wasn't prepared for his death; I don't think anyone truly is but somehow you go on. You go on because you have no other option and he would have wanted you to.  You go on because you still have a task to complete; you go on knowing that if you go on, he goes on.   When you lose someone you love more than you love yourself and you get a crash course in mortality.  When my Charles passed on, I would lie awake night after night wondering if I really believed in heaven and hell (and I am a Christian) and finding all kinds of reasons to cling to faith because you can't bear to believe that he was out there somewhere, a few whispered words of a prayer away. 

11 hours ago, PaulaM said:

Is it normal for me to suddenly break down, sobbing, for what seems no reason? Is it normal to go through the day, seeming okay, and then without warning have a meltdown?  I wear his coat everywhere, I don't care what it looks like, it smells like him. I sleep with his T shirt. Am I going crazy? Why can't I stop crying???

It is not only normal; it's healthy.  Crying without holding back is healing; I think when we are able to completely let loose and let those tears flow full force, we release some of the hurt, the misery, the fears, and definitely the pain.  When I lost my Charles,  never imagined I could cry as hard as I did; had no idea I was capable of the sounds that came out of me in my anguish and sorrow. I don’t even know if there is a proper word for the crying I am talking about.  But I can tell you that when I would allow myself to cry as hard as I needed to cry,  that when it was all done, I would feel a lightness, a sense of relaxation. I could breathe deeper and sleep better. My muscles were relaxed.  It was a liberating feeling and gave me a sense of peace, if only for a short while.

We all have had our meltdowns here; I know I certainly have; when Charles passed on, I was one blown circuit away from having a full-on falling down meltdown.  But we are all human and its OK to have a meltdown; just don't unpack and live there - not healthy and dangerous.  You're not going crazy if you are, then we all are; I think we've all tried ways, we think, that would bring us closer to them.  I still wear my Charles shirts and will put his favorite cologne on it just to smell like he did. I still talk to him daily and somehow I feel he hears me. 

So you do whatever you need to do to get through this horrible journey and know that we are here for you whenever you need to come here.    My prayer is for God to give you HIS love, peace and strength to get through this most difficult time in your life.

 

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Thank you to all who have replied, just knowing I am not alone is so good, and while I am so sorry you all went through this, I am glad to know I have others to help me navigate this journey. I am going to try and go to work again tonight, I am so lucky to have an employer and a boss who understand and let me take the time off I need.

Something I wanted to ask, is it normal to not be able to remember thoughts that you had just minutes, sometimes seconds, before? I started keeping a notebook the first day, because I found I coudn't remember who called, who I needed to call, what I needed to do. I am still keeping that notebook, because I am still not able to think clearly, nor remember things at all. Is this normal as well?

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20 hours ago, PaulaM said:

is it normal to not be able to remember thoughts that you had just minutes, sometimes seconds, before?

Absolutely!  This is so hard hitting, it affects our ability to focus.  There's actually a name for it, grief fog, or brain fog.  I was relieved to find out I wasn't crazy, that this is normal grief response.  I think of it like brain trauma, it hits us so hard and encompasses so much, it's no wonder we have a hard time focusing and functioning!  Try not to worry about that, do what you have to in order to get through this.  It does help to keep lists of things to do so it can jog your memory.  I've heard of people not making their house payment because they forgot, their grief fog was so great!  Easy to do.

It will get better, but I've found I was never the same employee that I was prior to this, I was exemplary before, perfect, never was that again, but I was better than average, so I guess that was okay.  I did ask my boss to check my work for a while after George died because I couldn't trust my brain.  He knew this was temporary.  I couldn't read a book for pleasure for ten years!  I couldn't focus to watch t.v. for a year!  Give it time, we're all different, our timeline will be different for all of us, so don't let mine scare you.  I'm 12 1/2 years out and doing pretty well now except I still miss him each and every day, that never goes away.

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29 minutes ago, KayC said:

Absolutely!  This is so hard hitting, it affects our ability to focus.  There's actually a name for it, grief fog, or brain fog.  I was relieved to find out I wasn't crazy, that this is normal grief response.  I think of it like brain trauma, it hits us so hard and encompasses so much, it's no wonder we have a hard time focusing and functioning!  Try not to worry about that, do what you have to in order to get through this.  It does help to keep lists of things to do so it can jog your memory.  I've heard of people not making their house payment because they forgot, their grief fog was so great!  Easy to do.

It will get better, but I've found I was never the same employee that I was prior to this, I was exemplary before, perfect, never was that again, but I was better than average, so I guess that was okay.  I did ask my boss to check my work for a while after George died because I couldn't trust my brain.  He knew this was temporary.  I couldn't read a book for pleasure for ten years!  I couldn't focus to watch t.v. for a year!  Give it time, we're all different, our timeline will be different for all of us, so don't let mine scare you.  I'm 12 1/2 years out and doing pretty well now except I still miss him each and every day, that never goes away.

Thank you so much, it is helping to know others have gone through this as well, and have experienced this.

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On 12/6/2017 at 9:43 AM, Francine said:

 When I lost my Charles,  never imagined I could cry as hard as I did; had no idea I was capable of the sounds that came out of me in my anguish and sorrow. I don’t even know if there is a proper word for the crying I am talking about.

 

Oh, I know. I am now calling that my "Wednesday morning", because shortly after my brother called to tell me about mom, I lost it. My son said he could hear me in the house when he pulled in the drive, and for awhile, they considered calling the ambulance. I have no words for the sounds, either, unless it's like the Irish Keening, that is done at wakes. It is cathartic, but sweet goddess it is physically taxing. I was exhausted, am STILL exhausted, each time it happens.

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Keep coming here.  These grief forums have helped me more than anything in my journey, I've gotten resources, suggestions of books, just knowing I'm not crazy, that others have or are going through the same thing and somehow survived to the point of it getting a bit better, it's all helped me to keep going.

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Couldn't even try and go to work today. Last night I turned the TV on, got my Netflix going, thought I would try and watch a movie. Beauty and the Beast was on there, the latest one. My husband Loved Disney movies, has an entire collection of them, so I thought, well, I will watch it in his honor. Not too bad a movie, but at the end, when I turned to talk to him in his chair in the corner, when I turned to ask him what he thought, when I turned to hear his opinion, he wasn't there. He. Was. Not. There. And I lost it, again. How can any one person hold this much pain inside them? I can't even mourn mom, there is just too much of LaVerne being gone inside me. I can't call mom and cry on her shoulders, nor can I come home and feel his arms around me while I cry for mom, and gods I miss him so freaking bad sometimes I can barely stand it.

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It's hard, the one person you would normally turn to are the very ones that are gone!  When my husband died, my mom's dementia was worsening and she too passed nine years after he did.  He had been one of her favorite people but she no longer remembered him, that hurt.

It will be important to grieve each of them individually as it doesn't work to grieve them as a group, but it may be a while before you can grieve your mom because you're already so hit with grieving your husband.  I do hope you're getting grief counseling, it can be of invaluable help.

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4 hours ago, KayC said:

 I do hope you're getting grief counseling, it can be of invaluable help.

I am seeing my doctor this afternoon, to see what he recommends.

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Hi everybody, I have not posted for a long time and never posted much before anyway.I do visit this forum nearly every day though and get a lot of help from it.Francine and KayC, I get particularly drawn to your posts.They are always spot on and very helpful.Francine I followed you around the 6th of December, your one year mark.The 7th of December was my 1 1/2 year mark.I invited friends over, people that knew my Steve well.He would have enjoyed that evening.

There are a few things that I have learned in the last 1 1/2 years.People have NO idea how much we are suffering.People have no idea that we probably still cry most days, people have no idea how they can help us.They think that by not mentioning the person that has died they help us.They dont want to hurt your feelings, they dont want to rip open wounds (as if), and they certainly dont want to see you cry.When I cried recently a good friend of mine giggled!How odd is that?I know they it is all clumsiness and not meant as being insensitive but, but,but

Paula,my heart goes out to you.Two of the most dearest people to you gone within 36 hours.I can not imagine what that feels like.Well , I can and it is horrendous.Keep coming here,sharing you pain with others who have experienced the same is very comforting.Dont worry about the forgetting things.I still write down lists as reminders.

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3 hours ago, Tineke Tjepkema said:

Paula,my heart goes out to you.Two of the most dearest people to you gone within 36 hours.I can not imagine what that feels like.Well , I can and it is horrendous.Keep coming here,sharing you pain with others who have experienced the same is very comforting.Dont worry about the forgetting things.I still write down lists as reminders.

thank you, this has been the thing helping me the most here- that people know, really KNOW, what I am talking about. If it's okay, going to share a couple of the poems I wrote and shared in my blog:

I look at the clock-

Oh, he’ll be home soon.

Then the wave crashes down again.

No, he won’t.

I pull into the garage and see his van.

Oh, he’s home already.

Then the wave.

No, he’s not.

This wave encompasses my whole world at times.

Hitting me over and over and over.

Pushing me further and further down into an abyss I

Never knew existed.

And just as I come up for air,

It crashes on me again, over and over.

Until I can barely breathe.

Can’t stand

Can’t see

Can’t hear

All I know, all my senses tell me is,

You are gone.

I can’t do this alone, I explain.

Why did you leave me? I cry out

Why did you take him? I scream

The only response is the wave,

Crashing down

Once more.

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Forever

Just when I think I am coming to a good resolution,

I find something of yours.

Today it was a shirt that hadn’t yet been washed,

And it smelled like you.

The wave came crashing down,

And I fell to the floor, wiped off my feet.

I hold it close, smelling you,

Remembering you.

I can hardly breathe, the pain is so great.

How can one person hold this much grief, I wonder.

How can one human body contain this pain?

And then I realize one body cannot, and I open my mouth,

Letting the pain out in stops and starts,

Gasping for air in between,

Keening my pain, wailing my grief,

Sobbing my confusion.

 

Later, I lie on the floor,

Exhausted by the fight to keep my sanity

Amidst all the dread in my life, the panic that overwhelms.

I pull my self up, clutching your shirt,

My nose buried deep, tears still streaming down my face.

I place your shirt on my pillow, waiting for me tonight,

So my dreams will be of you, next to me,

Knowing it will make the morning harder,

But not caring, not right now, not this moment.

This moment is missing you, and it goes on forever.

 

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Tired, tired all the time.

Just walking makes me tired,

Walking from the chair to the bathroom and back.

I fall asleep quickly at night, once I go to bed,

But a few hours later, I’m awake

Thinking, crying, sobbing, screaming.

The questions are always the same:

Why did you leave me? How could you leave me?

Goddess, why did you take him?

Then comes the demands with explanations:

If you send him back to me….

If you give him back…..

Just one more day with him….

One more minute with him….

I scream at all of creation, till my throat is sore and I can no longer

Make a noise.

Then I curl into a ball, whimpering over the pain.

This huge hole in my heart, my whole body wracked with the pain.

We were two halves of one whole, and now someone has removed half

Of me.

I don’t know how to be

Half.

Tired, tired all the time….

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On 12/6/2017 at 8:06 AM, PaulaM said:

On February 13, at 11:30 at night, I heard my husband kick back in his recliner. I headed for bed. I got up at 3, to make his breakfast and make sure he got off to work on time. He was still sleeping, which was unusual, but I went ahead and made his breakfast and when I carried it into the living room, he was still sleeping. I set his breakfast on the TV tray and reached for his foot to wake him. Everytime I think about that morning, I think to myself, Do Not Touch His Foot. Because everything in my life was good up to that point, my world still existed. But when I touched his foot, his oh so very very very cold foot, my entire world just stopped, totally. Part of me knew, and part of my was whimpering, and part of me was screaming and part of me was grabbing the phone and dialing 911 and I was yelling at him to wake up, WAKE UP. He didn't. My husband of 42 years had left me. No warning, no illness, no heart issues up to this point. He simply left. The coroner said massive heart attack, he never woke up, he didn't feel a thing, all the things that should make me feel better, but they don't, because not a damn one of them brings him back. How can I keep going without him?

He died on the 14th. On the 15th, my brother called to tell me my mom had passed early that morning. I pretty much lost the rest of the week.

I now write a blog, which is helping, but I have questions about my own sanity. Is it normal for me to suddenly break down, sobbing, for what seems no reason? Is it normal to go through the day, seeming okay, and then without warning have a meltdown?  I wear his coat everywhere, I don't care what it looks like, it smells like him. I sleep with his T shirt. Am I going crazy? Why can't I stop crying???

We shall pray for you recover from grief.

By God's grace you may recover soon

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Hi Paula, this pain is pain we never thought we could endure.But we can and you can and you will.You will not feel like this forever.Take your time, look after yourself, KayC's tips are really very helpful.Read them and read them again and act upon them.

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Your poems are beautiful and heart felt, we've all felt those things.

Those tips are things I learned over my 12 year journey, it takes much time to process this, let alone implement anything, baby steps, little by little.  In the Bible there is a quote that says "precept upon precept", oh how apt that is!  We don't build all at once, it's little by little.  As Darrell used to say, "One foot in front of the other".  I heard from him the other day, he's doing as well as he can, he's survived homelessness, then Harvey, but he's hanging in there.

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On 12/9/2017 at 1:23 PM, Varun said:

We shall pray for you recover from grief.

By God's grace you may recover soon

Hi PaulaM

We are doing group prayers for you everyday.

Kindly let us know the reduction of grief you noticed please.

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