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My world stopped on October, 26th 2018

linda Benson

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My husband of 44 years passed on October 26th, 2018.  We were not only married 44 years, we were together since I was 13 and he was barely 18.  We met at college, I graduated HS early. We grew up together. we went on dates to the skating rink, drive-in Theaters, swimming at the river, Together we window shopped at the mall and watched races at the quarter mile strip.  We always joked that we were Grease and Dirty Dancing :)  We Traveled the country together, we served and lived through Police actions, Wars, and a clod war together,  We survived the Traumas of war together, we lived  with and learned from  PTSD together.  We married, we had babies and raised them together. We disagreed with each other, we agreed to disagree with each other, we made up together, We pushed and pulled each other through life. We lived through moments with my husbands illness that he could not remember who I was or remember my name.  We worked through it and found better newer love each time.  On the bathroom floor as my husband blead out all over me, I took direction from 911 and preformed CPR until the paramedics could arrive.  We survived his heart attacks and comas. On October 25th we went to a regular cardiology appointment. We told the doctor our latest good news, The experimental medicine was working, Laylen's Platelets had went from 28 to 58 in 2 months.  On the way to the Dr. office we talked about being able to leave the house and maybe go out to dinner for the first time in two years.  At the dr office Laylens breathing worsened.  The Dr. became extremely concerned, Laylen made the first complaint in his long illness. He said to Leaha, sometimes I just want to cry like a baby, Leaha said you do that, right now right here, She and I held Laylen while her nurses prepared to take him to emergency down stairs. We arrived at ER in the middle of a major accident in the city.  Laylen was able to talk and actually joke with me while we waited for the ER staff to help so many desperately injured people.  Laylen reminded me of our agreement to what would be done in case of his having no ability to recover and his death.  He asked me if I would be able to do it.  He said he loved me and always would.  They moved us to cardiology, While they were putting him in the bed I saw the emergency lights go on and heard the code called.  Laylen had a major heart attack.  They immediately moved him to ICU. When we got to ICU he could not breath, He was reliving PTSD episodes. I stood in frount of him to keep him in the bed while the DRs worked. He said to me, in a moment of clarity, I'm sorry Lindie, I cant do this put me down. I turned and gave the Drs the ok. The ventilated my husband. His kidneys shut down, we tried dialysis and giving him blood because his platelets had bottomed out.  This time he would not come home.  I slept by his side, the DRs said I had to leave because they had to preform a sterol procedure I went to the waiting room and curled up beside my daughter. When the DR came out and tried to wake me, I did not wake straight up. I really couldn't hear her, I was dreaming That Laylen and I were talking, he said goodbye. I woke up and already knew what the DR had to say. I was told I had to make a decision, I called My children and grandchildren, they came. I kneeled beside my husbands bed. I gave the nurse the nod. They shut down the machines. I held my husbands hand until he breathed his last. I hugged my family and walked out of the room, I arranged for my husbands eyes to be donated and the mortuary designated.  I walked through the hospital in a daze, I got in my car alone, turned on the CD player as loud as I could to one of our songs and put it on repeat. The song was Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi Our moto: You live for the fight when that's all that you've got!  






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@linda Benson,

Once again, I’m so sorry for you, Laylen, your children and entire family.  Long term illnesses drain us in so many ways, only to be followed by the equally difficult part of dealing with our grief after.  I hope that sharing with and hearing from people dealing with similar situations on this forum brings you some comfort and peace.  I know you have a background in dealing with these matters, and we both know how different it is when you face them yourself.  I am sure you have access to all sorts of resources on how to deal with your loss, but here are a few things that I found helped me through this process.

1.  Take it one day, one moment, one breath at a time. - It is ok to look at the future, particularly if you are having strong moments or days.  When it starts causing anxiety, panic, or discomfort it is important to consciously stop and grapple with grief in smaller, more manageable pieces.

 2.  Practice self-care, particularly in the small things. – Your loved one would want you to take care of yourself.  This applies to all aspects of grief, but basic elements in particular.  Eat what you can, sleep when you can, exercise if you can, and drink plenty of water.

3.  Accept help from others when you need it, and help others when you can. -  It is hard at times to accept help.  Grief may make you may feel that you are a burden, or that you aren’t worthy of being helped, both of which are untrue.  People who offer help do so because they want and need to.  It is often part of their grieving process.  If someone offers help without specifics, you may try to think of one small, but concrete thing they can do.  Let them pick up something from the store for you, cook you a meal, or help clean a room.  These are small things, but ones that have solid visible results.  Also remember the "when you can" of helping others.  Helping people helps build a sense of self-worth and purpose, but you have large burdens of your own and don't need to put the weight of the world on your shoulders.

4.  Establish and stick to routines. - This puts order into chaotic lives.  Try to get out of bed every day at the same time.  Set schedules, with alarms in your phone if needed for the basics of life, shopping, caring for pets, eating, or cleaning.

5.  Allow time to grieve. - Ignoring your grief may lead to further problems.  There are times when it is appropriate to try and disguise your emotions and grief, but if you do that for too long it may lead to a setback in your grieving journey.  You may want to add this to your routines, and set one time a day to think about your emotions, loss, and how to cope with it.  Over time you may find you simply know when you need to take time to process your grief.

6.  Before making big changes make sure you have had time to properly think them through. – This seems to go against one day, one moment, one breath at a time, but it is important.  Avoid making any big changes in the first year.  Slow down and make sure what you are doing is good for you, not a reaction to your grief.

7.  Make an effort to try new things. - This is the reverse of establish and stick to routines.  While routines bring order to the chaos, trying new things opens the door to future possibilities.  Start with small things, as simple as changing your routes to and from work or the store.  When you feel comfortable, look at trying large things such as changing long term patterns of behavior that no longer work for your situation.

 8.  When you aren't sure what to do, do what feels right for you. – Self-confidence is often damaged by personal loss and grief.  You may stop trusting your instincts and second guess yourself.  Often your instincts are still correct though.  If you don’t feel you are ready for something, listen to that inner voice.  This journey is hard enough, on occasion it is ok to indulge yourself even if it seems selfish to others.

9.  Separate guilt from regrets. -  Regrets are natural, nothing is ever perfect, and we all wish we could do or had done better at times.  Guilt is feeling you have done something wrong and blaming yourself for the situation.  None of us needs blame or condemnation through this process, least of all from ourselves.

10. It is OK to not be OK. – You are going through a very difficult experience.  It is normal to feel panic, anxiety, fear, anger, and depression.  Learn to take those moments for what they are and work through them as slowly as you need to.  If you don't get something the first, fifth, or five thousandth time, that is understandable.  Take your time, regroup and try again.  Anyone who doesn't understand it doesn't matter, and anyone who matters will understand.

11.  Grief can be a part of you without controlling you. – Early in grief it is all you may feel, in ways it may define you.  As you find your way through this grief journey, you will slowly come to points where you can define your grief rather than the other way around.  While you may never be rid of it, you do not have to give it power over you.  In time you can find ways to live with it and find happiness even though grief may still be a part of you.

 12.  When truly lost, seek out an expert, then take and follow their advice.  -  No one knows everything.  If you have car problems, go to a mechanic, if you have health problems, go to a doctor, if you have grief problems seek out a grief counselor.  Asking for, and accepting help doesn’t make you weak in any way.  It gives you the strength of your entire community.

Sending you a big hug and hoping you can find peace and comfort here and everywhere in your life,


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