Heartbreak in Italy

by Kristin A. Brown
(Chicago, Illinois, USA)

In the early winter of 2012, I finally (at the age of 36) met a really great guy! "Yes, Finally!" I thought. After 5 months of dating, we decided to take a 3 week backpacking trip to Italy. It was summer and the timing couldn't have been better.

Prior to our departure I noticed that my boyfriend began bruising very easily all over his body. Then came some tiny red spots on his legs. Then some small purple spots on his stomach. Alarmed, I urged him to see a doctor before we left the country. He blew off his symptoms as being nothing as he wasn't in any pain nor did he feel sick. He promised to take care of things upon our return home to the States. For whatever reason (I still don't know why), I went along with this plan.

On Day 2 in Italy, he came down with a sudden horrible headache, vomited, and began bleeding from both nostrils. Very alarmed, I urged that we go see a doctor immediately. Something didn't feel right inside of me. Again, he downplayed his situation and told me that he wanted to nap for 1-2 hours. If at that point his headache was not any better, he promised we'd go see a doctor immediately. Again, for whatever god unknown reason, I went along with this ridiculous plan.

He laid down for a nap and never woke up again. I then went through the absolute horror and terror of discovering that he had passed away while sleeping. The nightmare only began from there as we were in a foreign country.

It's been almost 3 months since his death. I have so many questions that are still unanswered. I feel incredibly guilty and partially responsible for his death, because I didn't make him see a doctor right away. What in the world possessed me to listen to his ridiculous rationalizations? I've been struggling with his death, why it happened, and where to go with my life from this point forward.

It is believed that he had an undiagnosed medical condition called ITP. ITP is a low blood platelet count. His levels dipped so low that his body could no longer clot his own blood and thus he began bleeding internally. The sudden headache is believed to be the start of a brain hemmorhage that his body could not stop. Eventually, he had a version of a stroke and passed away in his sleep. At least, this is how it was explained to me by his doctor.

I have been left absolutely heartbroken, frustrated, angry, and so incredibly disappointed. I just don't get it. One day he was here and the next day he was gone. Why in the world did this have to happen?

Thanks for listening.
-Heartbreak in Italy

Comments for Heartbreak in Italy

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Nov 08, 2012
Sorry for your loss
by: Anonymous

Sorry for your loss. I also feel guilty for my husband's death. He was diagnosed with Blood cancer in June this year and due to the chemo treatment he kidneys stopped working. He was in the well known hospital of India, but the hospital is only for cancer. They don't have the other specialist. He needed urologist & kidney specialist. They wasted our time. My husband asked me to chand my hospital but i thought it is the best place for him. I didn't changed his hospital. At last they informed me he needs the neurologist & urologist. I didn't listened him and lost him. I feel i could have saved my life if i could have changed his doctor in time.

Oct 27, 2012
Your loss
by: Miss A

Dear Heartbreak,

I am sorry for your loss and feel for you as I lost a boyfriend too.

I understand that this is a double loss, not only of a passing of a person that you cared for but also your future hopes and dreams.

You will go thorugh that sense of - if only...

What happened is nobody's fault. It just happened and that is hard to accept. It's beyond rationalising. It is unfair and traumatising. Shout and scream if that's what you need to do.

Remember that you showed your love for him by being concerned for his physical health, and also you were there for him at the end in a foreign country, when he needed a friend.

I also lost a boyfriend, aged 47, unexpectedly this year on August 18, 2012. We had been seeing each other for 6 months and I knew he wanted to see me again after his vacation home to see his family. He never came back to me. He had chest pains and died from his aorta bursting and the blood filling the sac around his heart. Apparently he didn't have a properly functioning heart valve. Who was to know? There was nothing doctors could do.

Every day brings a different emotion and depth of feeling.

Sometimes I am helped by remembering my love in a positive way. I have written about all our dates and things he said. I love re-reading his emails to me. When you feel ready look at photos and listen to songs you like that have meaning for your relationship.

Spend each day feeling the way you need to. Unfortunately there is no cure for grief. To me it seems that it can only be managed.

Oct 02, 2012
Heartbreak in Italy
by: Doreen U.K.

Kristin I am sorry for the loss of your boyfriend. This is a terrible sudden tragic death. One never knows what is round the corner. One should never neglect medical treatment or dismiss this. Your boyfriend did not co-operate with you to go for treatment when you suggested this before he left for Italy. Men can be very stubborn when it comes to going to see a doctor. My husband was the same. He always made excuses. In December 2009 he decided to go to the doctor as he had a chest infection. He was sent for a chest Xray that showed up shadows on the lung. Then followed by a biopsy. Then March 28th 2009 he was diagnosed with a rare and serious form of lung cancer caused by working with asbestos. His cancer was incurable, inoperable and aggressive. I nursed Steve for 3yrs.39 days and he died on 5th May 2012 5 months ago.
I still can't believe he is never coming back to me. I can't believe the pain and sorrow from my grief. I don't know why grief has to hurt so much. We all have the same pain, with different severity and duration of time from our loss of a loved one. I am told often that it will get better in time. I wish I could fast forward my life to this time grief is over and the pain is gone, but it doesn't work this way. We try to avoid pain but this is one we can't avoid. I hope that you find Peace and comfort from your grief and Sorrow.

Oct 02, 2012
by: Anonymous

I'm so sorry to read about what happened to you and your boyfriend. It's devastating.

But don't blame yourself. It wasn't your fault. I got the same "it's nothing" responses when I began noticing things and begging him to see a doctor. After a while, he did, and they found nothing. He had another appointment to see a specialist the day he collapsed. There was nothing I could do.

He didn't know, you didn't know. No one is to blame.

I wish you peace.

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