11 Months - What now?

by Julie
(Tally Town)

Little did I realize just how much my life was going to change this time last year.
My husband had been really sick off and on for the last four years. It really started years ago when he was diagnosed with heart problems. He had several heart attacks, two open heart surgeries, stents, diabetes and an aortic aneurysm, pace maker and the works. During all of this, he always came back strong and always pushing himself to return to work and being a hands-on Dad, granddad and husband. The doctors were always amazed at his perseverance and will.
But in July 2007, the aneurysm was at the size that the surgeon said that it needed to be repaired. Of course, it being Arthur, it was at the kidney and they couldn’t stent it but had to open him up and drain it and then repair it. He went through this and was doing well except for constant pain. This was due to the nerves being stretched during the surgery and now were misfiring.
Then the snowball started rolling. We were in and out of the hospital for the next four years. Sugar dropping to 20, both carotid arteries were 100% blocked (his doctor is using this in his teaching/training) blood pressure dropping to 80/40, platlet level problems and on and on. Always rebounding and walking out of the hospital.
In March 2011 we went to the ER for an infection around the knee area. They diagnosed it as “untreated strep” infection and needed to be hospitalized. During this time, he was placed into ICU because his sugar was dropping again and his platlet level was very low. While in ICU a doctor came by to talk to us about end-of-life care. Arthur could not and would not talk to him. The doctor called me into the waiting room and proceeded to tell me that Arthur was not going to make it through all of this. I pitched a fit and explained to him that he didn’t know Arthur and just how strong he was. He told me to face the facts that his blood pressure was 80/40 and his sugar was dropping into the 20’s again. I told him that we had been there before and Arthur had always bounced back. He said that he probably had less than three months to live. I told him that I would not or could not give up on him. After they got his numbers stabilized we were on our way home but with a pick line for the daily antibiotics.
A couple of weeks of being home, hospice had to be called in. He had gotten to where he couldn’t talk, swallow or breathe without oxygen. He fought as hard as he could until April 15th when he drew his last breath.
It was then that I became a charter member of the most difficult and unwanted club of my life time. You see this club furnished unlimited grief roller coaster rides and it was mandatory that you had to get on board and ride and ride and ride….but its been almost a year…how long do I have to ride?
I really felt like those around me, that I should be closer to the end than I am. I know that I will always love and miss him and have sad times but these breakdowns should be getting less and less.
For 43 years, I proudly wore the title of “Arthur’s wife” and was comfortable with this place in life. But being in these unchartered waters of “what’s my purpose” “why am I still here” and “I can’t see the end of the tunnel” has completely drained me. I’m physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, when I look at my surroundings with my eyes I am blessed but when I look at things with my heart, I’m broken.
God please mend my heart and provide a reason and purpose to my life…this is my prayer.

Comments for 11 Months - What now?

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Mar 09, 2012
by: julie

Thanks for all your sweet comments. I never thought about ptsd but maybe thats something to check into. I was happy being his advocate..the doctors referred to me as the mouth-piece for us. When the doctors would ask him what medicines he took,he would always say "I don't know ask her" I was needed and wanted by him and I always knew that he loved me.

You see I was 18 when I married him. I used to joke all the time that I went from Mom and Dad telling me what to do, to Arthur telling me what to do. I was happy with this set-up and was content. We were just made for each other and so much a team. Where you saw one you saw the other one. I guess that's why it's so difficult now. My head tells me that I can do whatever I want and whenever I want to but my heart says why???

I just don't have any desire or heart anymore. I would sit in the hospital and think about what my life would be like without him...never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be this horrific. Every day is such chore to make it through. Just alone and lost.

Don't get me wrong I know God is right there and I've seen Him move in my situations that have come up after all this has happened. It's just when you don't have your best friend by your side it's just hard to go on with life.

I have asked God to let me know His will for my life now and I feel like my prayers are hitting the roof.

But I know that He's got me in His hands and that He is taking care of my needs. I just need for Him to mend my heart.

At least on here I know that I'm not crazy, like everyone around seems to think. My answer to them is to cut out your heart and see how long it takes you to heal and then come back to me and tell me that I should be further along than I am at this point.

I pray that at some point I'll find something to be excited about but I can't imagine right now what that might be.

Thanks again for caring enough to answer back and give me some good points. I will be praying for each of you. It strange that this unwanted membership in this club has put us together. Hugs to each of you.

Mar 09, 2012
PTSD-Thanks for the DX
by: TrishJ

Thank you so much for stating that one year is not enough to feel strong again. My husband was ill really for 8 years with the last 18 months of his life being true hell on earth. I never thought about PTSD. I think you are right. I get so angry with myself. I'm 59 and I feel way older most days. I was Joe's care giver 24/7. After he died I felt at loose ends.....still listening at night for him to call out to me. Even with him being as ill as he was he could still tell me he loved and appreciated me every day. That's what I miss the most.
I'm so tired of people telling me I should be over this by now. I'll never get over it. All I (we) can do is do our best to live with it.
Thanks again. I'm glad to know I'm not completely crazy.

Mar 09, 2012
julie tally town
by: pat thomasville nc.

oh my god;;;;;;;;;;;;;;your story is just like mine.i thought i was reading my own story. belive me i know just how you feal.my pain hasnt gotten any better.trust in god with all your heart ido ,,,,,,its hard but you will make it.we will see them again in heaven.here is a song that hels me when i felling down listen to it ,,the name of the song is homesick''it is played by the band ''mercy me''god bless you i will keep you in my prayers,,,,,,,,,,,here is my emil;;;;;;;becky2@northstate.net;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;pat collins

Mar 09, 2012
What Now?? Be Strong!
by: TrishJ

I know exactly how you feel. I lost my husband of 37 years about 15 months ago. He too was a heart patient. We waited patiently for a heart transplant but God had other plans for him. The day he died was the most horrific day of my life. Being only 19 when we met he was all I know of this life. We are in a strange land. Some days I feel like I don't speak the language. Everything is so new. Each day seems to bring a new challenge. I miss my husband so much. Just to be able to spend one more day with him.
I foolishly made the mistake of thinking that the one year anniversary of Joe's death was going to bring me some relief. I thought I might be able to move on and find some purpose in this new life. Well.....that hasn't happened yet. I keep hoping that one day I will wake up with a whole new attitude and be ready to jump into something. Jump into anything really. I seem to have lost my zest for life. I'm trying so hard to get it back.
I've come to terms with his death. I realize that God was truly merciful and showing us his love by taking him. He was so ill and fought so hard to stay with us. He's not suffering any longer but now I am. I feel so selfish but can't help the way I feel.
All we can do is our best. Just keep hanging in there. I try to find something to be happy about each day. We have to find strength in what remains. I know they would both want us to be happy.
God bless. Take care. This grief thing is a constant work in progress.

Mar 08, 2012
by: Anonymous

That was so beautifully said, I can tell you loved him dearly.
It has not even been a month for me. I'm still pretty numb. My husband was sick for a year, in and out of the hospital, and tube feeding him at home for weeks, I just watched him get weaker and weaker, and my whole life was being his advocate and caregiver. My doctor said that now I have nothing to fill the hours, and I am dealing with a type of post traumatic stress disorder. I'm sure you are as well, your situation lasted even longer than mine.
Please be kind to yourself, it was four incredibly difficult years, one year is not enough time to be back to "normal". I don't think it will ever be the same, how could it? You have been thru more than most people realize, the stress of caregiving, followed by the agonizing grief of loss. I believe in heaven, it's all I have left.
Take care

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