(New York, NY)
My partner of 22 years died January 29 after suffering sudden cardiac arrest on January 14 while he was at work. It took the paramedics 17 minutes to get to him so he could be defibrillated. His co-workers did the best they could while waiting for the paramedics. The EMS were able to restore his heart rhythm and he was rushed to the hospital where they began hypothermia. He remained unconscious for nine days, and the initial CT scans revealed no brain damage. But by the 10th day, the new CT scans showed irreversible brain injury from anoxia. With that news, I had no choice but to agree to disconnect his ventilator. I know he did not want to be brought back severely disabled or in a permanent vegetative state. It's something we both put into our Living Wills. After the vent was disconnected, he lasted 13 minutes. His brain was not telling his lungs to breathe.
It has been almost two months since he died. He was only 56. We had planned on getting old together. I'm lost. There isn't a second that goes by that I'm not thinking about him. Nothing makes any sense. I have a really hard time being outside or walking the streets. I feel more isolated and alone when I'm outside. Our home is exactly as he left it. I had not made any changes apart from putting all his clothes in the closet. Our home is filled with 22 years of memories, and as hard as it is to sit there and look at them, I feel more comfortable being inside than outside.
There are times when I just cover my mouth with a pillow and scream his name. I still fully expect him to walk in the door after work.
There's nothing I can do but go through this process. Much of my mind remains in denial, and as hard as I try to convince myself that he's not coming back, my mind can only accept small doses of that reality. When I let myself think of the full enormity of what happened, I fold.
I have sought professional, medical help, and I've been put on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. I didn't want to do it, but after being on them for six weeks, I am at least functional. Without them, I break down every hour.
I know I'm not the first to lose a spouse, and I've heard from others who've suffered this fate that time will eventually dull the pain. But for now, I feel it acutely. I cannot yet see the memories as happy reminders of the life we lived together. He was my best friend, and everything I did in life was in relation to the life we shared. I am now untethered.
When I leave work at the end of the day, I don't rush home like I used to. It feels like I can just keep walking to wherever and no one would care. No one will call to ask where I am. No one will call to ask what we're having for dinner. No one will call.
He is the love of my life, and I will never be the same.