I've lost my Bear

by Judy
(Rockledge FL)

I’ve lost my Bear.

My husband Barry died on 11/28/09. He had been ill and in some hospital facility for 75 days. He should not have died from a routine heart stint placement but he did, not from the heart procedure, but from catching MRSA in the hospital. It settled on his artificial valve and they could not treat it with antibiotics. He was scheduled to go to the research hospital in Gainesville for a complex heart surgery to replace the valve, but they could not get him a bed in time. He tried to send me away so I would not have to be there when he died, he did not want me to be upset, but I would not be sent away. I was there with him and told him it was okay to go, I would be all right. I told him I loved him as he drew his last breath. I made sure the priest got there in time. I know he is in heaven now.

I am very angry at the hospital and the medical system for not figuring out earlier that the MRSA was on the artificial valve and for the insensitive way they treated me. They moved him three times without telling me, so three times I came to the hospital and found his room empty with no warning. I will never go to that hospital again.

Barry and I were friends since high school but re-met in mid-life. We had 9 ½ years together. He was a life-long bachelor and I had come out of a long, mean marriage. He is the man I should have had all my life. He was quiet and sweet, romantic, generous, stubborn as an ox and wretched with money but loved life and always made me laugh. We had a great friendship and a great marriage. He saw life as an adventure and brought me to see it that way also. I do not like this adventure though.

I feel like my life is in a chaotic state, emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially. We both thought that with my job, the Social Security benefits and the Army survivors pension, I would be okay. Surprise! My job pays too much for me to get SSA benefits so they are “suspended” until they collect back $1 for every $2 I earn! The Army did come through with the pension we expected but it barely covers the car payment. I don’t think I am going to be able to keep our house, because I do not make enough to cover everything and the house payment is more than one of my paychecks. I have tried to get a modification but no luck yet and the market is bad and we are underwater with our loan.

All of this makes life uncertain.

It’s been almost five months now. I miss him every day and find myself talking to his picture sometimes. I miss him at odd moments, like when I’m driving, grocery shopping or see a cardinal land in the back yard. I still have episodes where something will set me off and I will have a crying spell. I am alone here in Florida, all our true friends and my kids are in California. All I have here is my work colleagues and the kind folks that attend our little church. I must stay here because I have a job here, but it is a lonesome time.

I have had no luck finding a grief support group in this little town so this website has been a life saver. Thank you for letting me talk.

Comments for I've lost my Bear

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May 04, 2010
Five months gone now
by: Judy

Barry has been gone five months now. It seems like an eternity and like yesterday at the same time.

This period is worse for me than immediately after his death. The numbed shock is gone and the reality of his not being here is so painful. I took the day off today to do some business, take his name off the cars etc and I have been teary the whole day. Enough time has passed that everyone is back into their lives and really don't notice I am still really grieving.

The worst is that no one ever mentions his name. It's like he never existed at all. The thriving email correspondence he had with friends all over the country has disappeared - I guess I don't exist for them. Even our close friends, except one, rarely mention him. I suppose this is because they don't want to upset me but the opposite would be true. This is so lonely. I guess this is the feeling of abandonment that the counselors talk about.

I tried going to social events by myself twice. The grief counselor said this was like going to the gym-you didn't want to do it but you are glad you did afterward. Well, I didn't exactly enjoy either event. First I went to a dinner at the American Legion but everyone there either showered me with false good cheer or ignored me. I went to a fundraiser at church and that was ok until the dj started playing oldies and all the couples started dancing. That just made me feel more lonely so I left then.

When I was divorced I wanted to be single again. I don't want to be single now. I really don't like this life. I don't want it. But I have it, so now what?

Apr 23, 2010
Thank you everyone
by: Judy

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts.

It is amazing and a little frightening to hear that others had similar bad experiences with the hospital and medical systems. No one seems to have the time or inclination to keep the family in the loop in any meaningful way.

I am trying to bob along, letting life happen and trying to adjust to living alone. Part of it is wonderful since I can do anything I want, but part of it is very sad. I have no one to share little moments with, or comment on the news or feed the dog for me.

Lately I have been angry at everything that crosses me in even the smallest way, work, other drivers, people who are pokey in the grocery store line. I'm not angry at Barry because I know he would never have left me if he could have stayed longer. I'm angry because I'm not in control of much of my life and it scares me. I want to be in control of my life again even if it means I make a bad decision. I'm just having trouble making a decision on anything. It's less taxing emotionally to do nothing. So I just bob along.

Everyone says you are doing so well, blah blah blah. They don't know the cost to me to keep up that front!

It is so wonderful to read about others who are in this strange place. What hard work it is.

God bless and comfort you all.

Apr 19, 2010
I too lost my husband 11/3/09
by: Anonymous

I too lost my husband in Nov 09, he was 57, was having a heartmateII operation, died of sepsis, so the hospital says. I saw too much too much while I was there , I will be telling my story here.

Please let me express my deepest sympathy at your loss. I have just passed that five month mark. I feel sadder, the tears come suddenly just as you said, I broke down over a cardinal in our yard too. My husband loved his cardinals.

We moved to SC away from our families to be with my daughter who was pregnant. Now she is all I have here. She has moved in with me to help with the bills, and like you I cannot sell my house in this economy, I am not sure what would be a safe way but I would love to talk to you. This is a wonderful site. I will pray for us. Please read my story I will be posting it tomorrow night.

Apr 18, 2010
I can relate
by: Sandy


I can so relate to what you are saying. I lost my husband last year and my anger at the hospital will never be over I don't think. They treated me in a way that I never knew they would or could. Boy did I learn a lesson!!! When you say that the crying comes on at odd times, I can relate to that. I was having panic attacks for a while and they would come out of nowhere. Some little something would trigger them. Please know that you are not alone...we will see them again some day. Please take care....

Apr 18, 2010
You're Not Alone
by: Down Under

Judy, my condolences on the loss of your husband Barry. I understand your frustration and anger at the hospital, we went through the same with my father at a hospital in Australia. I have decided to not let them get away with it and am in the process of putting pen to paper and making them all aware of what went wrong; including the state new health minister, let's hope some good comes out of it. Maybe this will bring me some comfort and allow me to move on. You are lucky that Barry came back into your life and sounds like you had a wonderful relationship. Keep those happy memories alive and keep writing on this website, I found that this has helped with my grieving process, just to see that there are others out there who feel the same and that I am not going insane. Take care Judy.

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