My husband passed away on December 24, 2005. He took my daughter, Torie, who was 9 at the time to the store to get milk. She offered him a sip of her drink, he took it and then went down. She believed for a while that she killed her dad and we finally made her understand she didn’t. He had a massive heart attack and the paramedics and hospital staff were never able to bring him back to life despite all of their efforts. I was wondering where he was when the people from the store called me and told he he was taken to the hospital. I was thinking that maybe he broke his leg or something like that. A friend brought my daughter home for me while I was on my way to the local hospital. I got there and after checking in, sat down and the doctor put his hand on my shoulder and told me he did everything he could for him. I just looked at him. Was able to see him in the emergency room hooked up to IVs and told to take his hand and say goodbye. His hand was cold and he did not respond. I stood there and talked to him for awhile with tears streaming down my face. A nurse came and took me out of the room and asked me to call someone. A good friend of mine came and picked me up. Now I had 6 kids at home from 5 to 16 so had to go home and tell them their dad had died. My friend stayed with me and helped me tell the kids about their dad and remember just holding as many of them as I could. My doctor’s office reached out to us and gave us some money they collected and bags and bags of food, so appreciative. Others sent pizza and offered to help with the kids. Christmas was dismal and one I do not want to remember. Shock set in and we went through the next days in a fog. I took one week off from work and then back full time again. Thankfully I worked out of my house for a national transcription company as a medical transcriptionist and could be home with my kids. I have set hours but still there no matter what. My husband was a big part of my kids’ life and helped with the raising of them so he was missed so much. We both had planned on growing old together, sitting on the porch with our grandchildren. To be honest, our relationship was on rocky grounds but the kids were the important ones here.
Had to check on life insurance and found out the hard way he had much less than I thought he did as he would not take the exam needed to increase his insurance as I asked him to. It covered the burial and paid some bills following.
I put my kids in counseling and put my counseling off for awhile as my kids came first. Watched them closely and the school system helped as well. We talked many times over those months about him, why it happened and cried. I found a letter one month later in my basement from him to me telling me he was sick, short of breath and feeling chest pains but no doctor for him and sorry if this was hard on me. That truly angered me as the kids were the important ones and he should have realized that.
We were married for 21 years and truly missed my husband. Many times would think I heard his voice or saw him standing in the doorway the way he used to. I would wake up some days and think it was just a nightmare and realize it was reality. I remember wishing for a magic wand to take all this pain away. We were given a kitten two days after he passed and that kitten kept me company over that next year and felt he was a gift from heaven. I was very lonely and sad and my kids were hurting too. I know they wanted me to make it all better and so wished I could. Used to go downstairs in my basement and cry with my head on my dryer so I would not upset my kids. The grief waves came over and over again and hard to get through but I did. My husband was a handy man and could take apart things and fix them as well. There were so many things he did that I could not do and that worked for us. But without him many things were not fixed. The computer technical end was hard for me to learn. It took me 3 months to decide on which frigerator to buy as used to having him to help me with that decision. You just don’t know how much you rely on someone until they are no longer with you. Hard to make those decisions alone. My son liked to play baseball and dad did that with him. I tried but failed at that.He made pizza every Friday night by himself. I tried that but failed as well. We had to create a new "normal" for us. My kids and I are routine people and our routine was shaken up. I tried for many months to be 2 people but lost it one night crying hysterically as could not do it anymore so another new "normal" came along. Reached out to others but they were busy with their own lives and had to learn to get along without. So many times had to tell my kids we can’t do that or sorry I can’t do that and look at their faces. My husband was the joker in the family and the laughter was gone in the house now. I just was not the one to do that.
Holidays had to be faced and before we knew it Easter was upon us and he used to help me fill their baskets and hide the eggs. My oldest daughter who was 16 tried to help and hated to lean on her but had to. We muddled through but Easter was a mess and certainly not the one my kids were used to. His birthday came. We each sent a balloon up to heaven with a note attached to it for him and cried. Father’s day was hard and we tried to celebrate his life as a dad that day but it didn’t work well. The kids either cried or retreated within to deal with it. The void in our lives was tremendous. Summer home alone with my kids for the first time was brutal but we all survived it. Thanksgiving and then his death’s anniversary came and we all cried our way through church and the holidays. They did not mean much to us anymore. The first year is the hardest and it is so true. We had many financial concerns and still do as a large family but manage to get through without stuff.
My daughter graduated from high school without dad and she was sad. My kids would look at kids with dads and get that look on their face. I wanted to fix it but could not. Not having that other adult around to lean on, share stuff with was very hard. My oldest went off to a local college her first year and came home a lot. Then she fell in love and moved to Texas her second year and that floored me. Hated letting her go but knew it was the best thing for her. I lost it the summer she left and it felt like grief again. Here was a new "normal" again. My son who was 15 at the time tried to help me hook up a new washing machine in the basement. We thought we had the faucets turned off and took off the old hoses. Well they were still on and streaming water out. We could not turn the knob to turn them off so attempted to put the new hoses on the faucets but didn’t work. We were soaked, cold and i just laughed at both of us. I have come to the conclusion you just don’t understand death and its ramifications until you go through it and now feel for those who are. I have tried to reach out to women I know that have lost their husband and hope that I have helped them.
Well after 2 years of grieving decided it was time to date again. Now mind you I had not dated for 22 years so it was very hard for me and a whole new world to me. So many times looked up to the heavens and asked why God! Had to learn about many things and most I did not like. Whatever happened to getting to know somebody and then going forward? Must have dated around 8 guys in a year as they were just not right. Would not let them meet my kids unless we were serious. My kids would look at their mother getting dressed up and watch the transformation from the "mom" to a date. They got used to it. Tried online dating and that seemed to fail. Took a shot at online dating for the last time and then decided I was done after that. Well, this great guy came along and he was the one.
Our first date was 6 hours long at a restaurant and we married 3 months later. He is a great guy and loves my kids like his own who are older, 19 and 21. I am happy in love and the kids have adjusted and truly believe they love him. We are still struggling with finances, believe we have what we need basically and will get more as time goes on. It is not easy raising a large family. I am very fortunate to find a guy who is willing to take on this crew. I loved my first husband but this relationship is different. He thinks of me more than my husband did before our kids. Now the laughter and fun is back in our lives with my new husband and see the changes in my kids. They are so much happier now. I don’t know what the future holds for this family. Hope and pray my husband will be with me for many, many years. Just trying to laugh, relax and enjoy life again.