by janice harnack

I lost my husband to end stage lung cancer on August 18,2013. I also work at the hospital where he died. At first I was just on auto-pilot, so I returned to work shortly after he died. A few months ago, reality set in- what can I say? I crashed and burned. Now here I am faced with the decision to go back to work at the end of this coming week. I am dreading it. How can I be moving forward in my grief journey, when I am going back to work where my husband died? I don't know if I can do it- and to keep a job just because of the money, when it causes me so much pain, physically and emotionally, is unbelievably difficult.

Comments for Janice

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Sep 04, 2014
by: ER nurse

I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my husband of 37 years. He was diagnosed in December with stage 4 lung cancer with mets to the brain and died in April. I was working in the ER that night in December when my daughter brought him to the hospital. I quit working 2 months before he died to take care of him. It has been a little over 4 months since his death and I know I can not go back to work in the ER. Too many memories and too many chances of seeing death. Take your time making your decision about returning to the hospital. You must think of yourself at this time. It is taking all my energy to take care of myself, how can I take care of others? If you do patient care, it could be dangerous to the patient if your mind is elsewhere. Making all these new life decisions are so difficult.

Aug 18, 2014
by: TAI

I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my son in Jan. I just hit crash and burn last week. So i understand. The pain in unbareable. If you work for a hospital, they must have some idea where you can join a grief group. No one else can choose where you go from here. But if I had access to a group, of ppl who where going through the same thing, I would go. If for no other reason then to be around ppl that GET it and don't avoid me for lack of words to say. I don't have that option right now so I can't. All I can say is a prayer for your broken heart.

Aug 18, 2014
Deepest sympathy
by: Lawrence

Hi Janice,
It’s so very hard trying to overcome the intense grief and overwhelming sadness at losing the person we were so in love with
You say that you can’t face going back to the hospital where your beloved husband died.
Well Janice, you will because we have to get on with our lives and try, with great difficulty to take the first faltering steps to normality, or as normal as it ever will.be without the intense love you shared.
I still sleep in the same bed where my precious wife died nineteen months ago, and that memory will never leave me, the medics doing CPR as I watched in deep shock, I think about it every night as I climb the stairs to a cold empty bedroom.
We were together for nearly seventy years and my life is so empty now, alone and so sad.
In every partnership sooner or later one of you will die, it’s called the circle of life and there is no use fighting it ,you think ”It isn't fair” but life isn't fair, it’s just life. and it’s not meant to be fair
The “GRIEF JOURNEY” as you so aptly put it has an ending, it has to otherwise I wouldn't be able to send this comment.
A year is a very short time to mourn a loved one, it’s when you can look at his photograph without crying, you will know the healing has started, it will happen,it has to.
With deepest sympathy.

Aug 18, 2014
by: Doreen UK

Janice follow your heart in how you feel. If you are finding it difficult to go back to the hospital your husband died in. THEN DON'T GO BACK! Speak to your Manager, Supervisor and let them know how you feel. You will do yourself more harm than good. What you did in going back to work was way too soon. You need to take time out.
I lost my husband of 44yrs. to lung cancer 2yrs. ago. I COULD NOT FUNCTION IN ANY WAY FOR 6 MONTHS. I took to the couch and did nothing. I watched TV and nurtured myself back in to life ONE DAY AT A TIME. I didn't know what hit me. I felt assaulted by grief. It as you say. BURNT OUT. You will know in your body when the time is right to go back to work. It is unwise to go back to work BURNT OUT. Speak to someone high up in your workplace. Get Professional support for yourself from a counsellor who will help you and sign you off work. This is the worst experience of one's life.
I had a horrendous cancer journey for over 3yrs. nursing my husband and watching him die slowly. Here in the U.K. our resources are so low that my husband did not get the pain medication he needed due to the lack of funding. He died in severe pain. This adds to my grief.
Grief is a process we go through. Take one day at a time. Don't push yourself to do what you are unable to do otherwise you will harm yourself more. We do eventually recover from grief even if this be many years down the line. But the pain won't be so strong. Please write back and let us know how you are feeling and how we can support you more.

Aug 17, 2014
TO; Janice
by: Anonymous--MI

I am sorry for your loss of your dear husband. I also am a widow and I know your grief. I know that going back to your place of work is difficult and even more so from the memory it now holds for you. We, who are in grief, are told not to make any hasty decisions as we may well regret it later on. I suggest that you try very hard to keep your job; perhaps you could transfer to another department where things will be new and different from your previous work. I know the sorrow of having to return to what we knew before our husbands died and it is not easy. Try to keep working; at least for 6 more months. I have kept going on these last 21 months only by God's grace and mercy. Ask Him to lead and guide you on this journey that none of us want to be on. God Bless you and all on this site.

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