Death of Wife at 29

by Destroyed
(North Carolina, USA)

Hello, I'm here to talk about the loss of my wife. She died on September 12th 2013, at 550am eastern (US). She had been struggling with inner demons for a very long time. She ended up with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder in 2012. In order to deal with anxiety and panic attacks, she was self medicating with alcohol to try to cope. I kept telling her panic disorder does not just go away, I dealt with it myself from 2001-2004. A little bit of back story first. The alcohol problem did not start in 2012, but rather back in early 2011. She really didn't drink much before then, which is part of the craziness of all of what happened. At first, the drinking was for fun and pleasure; but she quickly grew a big tolerance and was drinking heavily. In early 2012, she started having gastro intestinal issues. She was a really big worrier and always assumed the worst. She would think every problem was due to tumors or cancer and she would worry non-stop about this type of thing. Later in 2012, her great grandmother; whom she lived with and considered her mother died. She took it very hard and started withdrawing and having panic attacks. It got to the point of agoraphobia, which is a fear of leaving where you are comfortable, usually your home. As I said previously, she was using liquor to try to cope with depression and panic, which only further complicated the issues. In the first few months of 2013, she started complaining about a swollen and sore upper right abdomen; which is the area of the liver. In June 2013, I noticed her eyes were jaundiced, which is yellowing of the eyes as a result of lowered liver function. She ended up being admitted to hospital, stayed there for 3 nights, but was able to recover. She told me shortly after being discharged that she felt like she had been given a second chance at life, which she was. The drinking started lightly again a few weeks later, and as expected, led back to heavy drinking to deal with her issues. The last month of her life, she was in a really dark place; not sleeping hardly at all, complaining of feeling unwell, and stopped functioning as an adult. A few days before going to the ER, she told me she felt like she was dying, but because she kept having panic attack after panic attack. After reflecting on things I think she knew down deep in her heart that something was seriously wrong, but she did have panic disorder, so I didn't realize the severity of things. I noticed on September 10th of 2013 that her eyes were again jaundiced. I told her and she asked me to call 911, so I did. They took her to the hospital because she could not stand on her own and I could not move her by myself; this was about 1:30pm on Sept 10th. At 6pm that evening, she called me in a frantic to come to the hospital because she heard the doctors discussing liver failure. I got there and she had just been baptized by the pastor at the hospital. She told me when we were alone that she overheard that she had liver failure and only had 2 weeks to live. I knew she had been hallucinating, so I tried to calm her that maybe she misheard or they were discussing another case. I stayed overnight in the hospital and she appeared to be getting better. One thing that really worried me though is that when she got to the ER, her ammonia level was measured at about 129. The next day, it had risen to 209. I didn't realized the severity of what the would mean until a few days later. I had left the next morning to go home to sleep a few hours. When I got back at about 1pm that afternoon, I noticed she was looking worse. She was having troubles communicating with me, which I now realize was due to high ammonia levels. She wasn't able to stand on her own and nearly tipped over on the potty, but I caught her before she fell. She had started getting combative with me at about 5pm that evening. I felt like it was best to remove myself from the situation to keep her calm and because the liver specialist said she had hepatitis from alcohol, but that they expected her to recover. In retrospect, I guess they just didn't expect the severity of it because she was only 29. I told her I was sorry for all the stupid stuff I had said and she apologized as well. I put some lotion on her face because it was dry and peeling, we said we loved each other and I gave her a kiss goodbye, expecting to see her better the next; but I didn't realize this would be the last time I would ever speak to her. I was told that about 1:30am the next morning that they had her on the potty again and that she slumped over and stopped breathing. It took them 25 minutes to get a heartbeat again; later I would find out that they broke several ribs trying to revive her. I got the hospital an hour or so later (took someone knocking on my door to wake me up). When I got to the hospital, I was taken to the critical care unit; where she was on a ventilator so essentially on life support. The CCU doctor told me her situation was dire and that she was on blood pressure medication to keep her BP from falling. I went in to see her and she looked horrible. I opened her eye a bit and I could see it was jaundiced again and I knew what was about to happen. I went back to the waiting room and the doctor came in about 10 minutes later. He told me the blood pressure medication was maxed out and that her pressure was still falling anyway. Basically he told me there were two options; keep the blood pressure medicine going and that should would eventually have a heart attack, or I could stop the medication and let her die mercifully. He also said that she had been through such trauma, that even if she lived, she would never be able to hold normal conversation with anyone again; which after researching seems again to be related to very high levels of ammonia that caused brain damage. After 5 or 10 minutes to think about what the hell he just asked me to do and to try to make sense of how this could be happening to a 29 year old; I told them to stop the medication. I was holding her hand when they stopped the medication and her heart stopped about 15 minutes later. Now I sit here 16 days later, still destroyed by what has happened, explaining this to our 10 year old and 3 year old daughters. Our lives have been left shattered, not sure how to move forward, and me feeling completely overwhelmed. I still cannot fathom how someone could go from not drinking much at all to liver failure in 2 1/2 years. The sheer insanity of it all baffles me. I may be wrong, but I feel like this would be easier to digest if it was something like a wreck that had killed her; but liver failure at 29 from alcohol? This can't possibly be happening, it is all so surreal. I know I'm in the shock phase, but this is extreme shock. I'm not considering suicide or anything like that, it's just almost unthinkable that this could be happening at such a young age. I've even had nurses and doctors asking me question about this because it is almost unheard of. Perhaps I will reflect on this one day and realized the humanity it brought me, how it may positively affect my life in the long run; but in the short term, I feel like I'm trapped in a nightmare that I cannot awaken from.

Comments for Death of Wife at 29

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Oct 12, 2013
by: Mike

Sorry to hear of your pain.
I too lost someone through alcohol (My son at 32)
Just a couple of months ago. Its a terrible addiction and he to went into hospital (twice)due to a swollen stomach related to liver issues.
He had drink issues really for around 10 years
I was convinced he was showing signs of
We tried everything to persuade him to go to rehab without success.
improvement around May/June. there were signs of his real self coming through. Then the dreaded call to come home urgently. He was found in his room by a friend.
Oh how the guilt cuts deep.
I've had many conversations with his drinking associates and i am starting to understand how very serious alcohol addiction is and how very hard to come off it.But also the effect it had on my son. Basically the last 2 years he was slowly dying
How I miss him so.

Heartbroken Dad

Oct 01, 2013
by: Anonymous

Sorry your wife died as well.. Mine took 25 minutes to revive and the doctor said the same thing.. Because it was so long, that even if she pulled through, she would have severe brain damage. The world is a screwed up place.

Sep 30, 2013
A terrible decision
by: Lawrence

What a dreadful story.
I too had to decide should they continue CPR or let my beloved wife die; they told me if they got her heart beating again she would be brain dead but the decision was mine.
I tearfully told them to let her die and I watched as she took her last breath.
I closed her eyes, thanked her for the seventy wonderful years we had together, kissed her goodbye and have never stopped crying and that was nine months ago, the memory of that day haunts me and will forever.
You are in the very early days of your loss and I know you will never believe me but the devastating feeling that you are in a nightmare and cannot wake up will ease as the months go by.
I thought I was going to die because facing life without her would be unbearable, but I am still here struggling to get back to normality whatever that is facing life alone.
It is a terrible tragedy that this should happen to you and there is nothing anyone can say to ease your pain, just treasure your children and help them to get over losing their precious mum.
We are all praying for you.

Sep 30, 2013
Sense of it all
by: Zoe

My husband died three and a half years ago. Liver failure from cancer, 11 days after he was diagnosed.
So let me start with this, you will hear all kinds of stupid things, it is good she didn't suffer, blah blah, the fact is no one and I mean no one, has the correct thing to say. Grief is very very private, it moves you and slams you. The man you were ten minutes before she died, is gone, he will never be back, ever. I know you have young children, than can be a blessing and a curse.. you have to contiune to move for them, but it does not allow you the time for your grief.
Be greedy with your grief, you have to feel it, you have to be broken, it is part of this. One day, very soon, you will have a memory or something you will see and you will smile.. and feel HORRIBLE that you have betrayed her, smiling now..
no.. our minds, our body's they work us through this, there is a period of being numb, you may not believe this, but you are just coming out of it,
that numbness allows movement, now
you need to move on your own.

There are no good answers grief is like music always playing in the background, sometimes loud, sometimes soft, but always there, and it will pull your strings, make you dance..
I can only tell you that after over three years, I bought a Harley.. I am riding.. I am living a very different life. but I always live it with John.
that is my choice

but let me tell you what I did that first year or so
you put your head down
watch your feet move
and remeber

one breath, one step, one day at a time

we are always here, some of us not as often as others, but we are always here

Sep 30, 2013
Death of Wife at 29
by: Doreen UK

Destroyed. I am sorry for your loss of your wife at 29. Many people use alcohol to cope with the stress in life. But consuming vast ammounts of alcohol at one time can poison the system. my brother has been drinking bottles of wine like water for many years and warned about his liver. Thank God he has stopped the wine after so many years it nearly killed him.
I have a liver problem caused by diet and I am stressed at wondering what I am doing wrong as I am always on healthy diets. I have a problem with processing fats in the body so they affect my liver. I think some people have a metabolism that causes more problems than most people have to deal with. More like a metabolic disorder. That is my only understanding since many doctors do run tests and can't find any answers.
You are in the early days of raw grief. It hurts like h--l. A pain like nothing else. The secret is TAKING ONE DAY AT A TIME. Don't look too far ahead otherwise the enormity of the loss will swallow you up wondering how you are going to go on in life. I lost my husband to cancer coming up to 17 months ago and I got through this ONE DAY AT A TIME. I cope better now. But I still have days when it feels as if this sorrow is forever when he is not coming back. The loneliness is what is the worst. But time takes care of this. You will get your life back again. This gives one hope to go on. But at the time it feels so surreal and as if one will never recover. Take each stage as it comes. You will have good days and bad days and the bad days get less over time. Nurturing yourself by caring for your own needs every day helps immensely with grief. You then start to feel better. Your wife was so young which makes such a loss that more difficult to bear. Having to restructure one's life after loss is hard and time consuming. Put good things in your life each day and build on this. Before you know it you will be changing your world for the better. We have no choice. WE either SINK or SWIM. I wish you better days ahead and hope you have good support with your daughters who have lost a mother at such a young age. May you be comforted in your sorrow.

Sep 30, 2013
death of wife at 29
by: Anonymous

Destroyed, I truly am sorry you recently lost your wife. Yes, 29 is too young to die but i wonder if JOLYN was right in suggesting she may have been secretly drinking. I know what a bondage alcohol can be. I too went through a couple of very rough years with it. I even lost permanent custody of my then 9 yr old son, who i loved very much, but it was a downward spiral i just couldn't pull myself out of. I know it is very hard for someone who doesn't have this problem to understand. I hope i can safely say that she loved you and her kids in spite of the demons she fought. Please hang in there and i sincerely hope you all will find some help in dealing with what must be an incomprehensible situation.

Sep 29, 2013
How sad
by: jOLYNN

I am so sorry for your loss. Of course you feel as though you are in a nightmare because you are of sorts. This was a baffling catastrophic event. You are bereft and also worried about your two young daughters and how you can possibly take care of their needs when your life has just been turned upside down and you can barely function and take care of yourself. You may be wondering how anyone in this much pain can live. You feel alone in your grief and probably guilty it sounds like. All of those guilt feelings are a natural result of the aftermath of a death. We always have regrets and "ifs" and "should haves". Maybe you can find a way to let that go completely because you must go easy on yourself you are wounded. This grief cuts as deeply as a skin wound and is utterly painful and gut-wrenching. I know your focus on outside things isn't there now but I'll just tell you that my son who was 26 yrs. and an officer in the Marines died 1 year ago almost to the day. He was training to fly jets. He'd gotten his wings, was one belt away from black in Military Martial Arts and was considered a lethal weapon. He was a pro marksman. He was disciplined and had many devoted friends, had a bright amazing future that many couldn't do(he became an officer at 23). He spoke fluent Spanish, played guitar and sax, was a boy scout, kick boxed, helped in food drives, member of Young Republican Committee in the University where he got his Bachelors degree in Business Economies. He was a math whiz and tutored kids in it. He had a warm and loving family. He was kin. He played every sport. Never had trouble of any kind. Always worked part time while in school. Lived in an upscale community while growing up. He was funny and a daredevil a thrill seeker. Seemingly on a straight and narrow path...had everything . I'm telling you all this because he died of a Heroin overdose. We had no idea that he first got started on Oxycontin.From the time we learned he was in rehab in Pensacola till he died was about 8 months. We were baffled and shocked just like you. People keeps their secrets. He may have been hiding his demons and self=medicating or it could be the thrill seeker in him.or Simply a good guy playing with fire, we'll never know and it tormented me that I couldn't even know what was happening to my own son. And shocked that he turned to something as hard as Heroin so quickly. He must have dabbled secretly in the past as people just don't do that. I'm an RN I will say that it is reasonable that she was secretly drinking, in fact, probable. Try to let people help you and seek out a grief counselor. You need support. I am so sorry you lost her at such a young age and with 2 young girls now to take care of. Speak at her service if u can as you'll be able to say goodbye and tell how much she meant to you. Important for girls to hear. It will be difficult but so worth it.

Sep 29, 2013
I share your grief
by: Billie

I lost my husband on the 10th Sept 2013, and I know exactly how you are feeling. Like you I am tormented and lost without my loving partner by my side, and if per chance you wish to converse with me, then maybe we could help each other. Contact me if you wish, via email,, perhaps we can help one another.

My deepest sympathies to you.
Billie UK

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