My husband died suddenly a year ago - I came home and found him on the sofa, he was only 56. We had been together for over 36 years, we spent every minute of the day together and I am completely lost without him. If it wasn’t for our dogs I don’t think I’d even have the strength to get out of bed every day, I just feel so drained and exhausted all the time. I can’t go out, even the thought of it gives me flashbacks of coming home and finding him, doing CPR, making those phone calls to our children … To make things even harder he is a body donor and is currently educating 400-500 medical students and his funeral won’t be until around 18 months after his death, although we did hold a memorial service at home for him. I never expected to be a widow at 52, and although our children have been a great support, I feel at such a loss and I don’t know how to get through it. I’ve been on bereavement support group, podcasts etc but I don’t feel as if I can even begin to grieve without a funeral. I just feel so numb, and frozen in time, unable to even attempt to pick up the pieces of my shattered world, knowing that it’s going to be smashed to smithereens again in a few months time. Has anybody else had any experience with body donation?
Sorry not to be able to help with regards to body donation @WCN but I wanted to send you my love and best wishes anyway. This is such an awful time under any circumstances and anything which adds further distress must be heartbreaking.
I lost my husband suddenly, which was my hardest bit to comprehend as he was a slim, fit, very active and strong 60 year old. How could he have gone out to play his weekly football and never came home after suffering a coronary embolus.
I do hope you can find some peace in your heart knowing that this was what your husband wished to happen with his body.
My wife donated her body a year ago but my experience seems to be very different. Firstly, it is typical of her to find a use for something she had no more use for. Secondly she had no wish for a funeral. I was lucky in that her passing was no surprise. She had had terminal illness for 5 years. I thnk that sometimes I am lossing the plot because although I watched her body be taken from the house I feel her spirit present with me every day. I do not feel a complete person without her but having her spirit by my side is my great comfort. We .have planted a tree in the local park in her memory. Just try to remember that you have lost something that many people never experience - true love. You are lucky. You have 36 years of lovely memories.
I don’t see why you think feeling your wife’s spirit is you losing the plot. On the contrary, I believe the spirit of our loved ones was not contained within their body and still exists somewhere.
I too am grateful for the time I had with my amazing husband.
As I’ve said to people, neither of us were perfect but we were perfect for each other.
From reading many of the stories here I wondered why I did ot feel that bad. But as my daughter pointed out today I and my wife grieved for the last 5 years since her diagnosis. We were able to talk freely and grieve together. The result is that I am left just with our love and our memories. I feel more content than ever. You are right, the spirit exists apart from the body. That is a revelation to me.
It simply has to @Miken, or amputees would not remain the whole person would they, yet they do? Our bodies are not who we are.
@KarenF and @Miken thank you for your replies. It was the first time I had shared my story online and I kind of fell down a hole afterwards. Thank you for sharing your stories, and I’m sorry we are all in the sh1ttiest of clubs, I know that everyone grieves differently, and there’s a difference between anticipated and sudden death, and maybe that’s why our experiences of body donation are so different @Miken.
I feel that the prospect of the funeral looming months ahead is a huge weight that I can’t get out from under. I suppose it doesn’t help that I spend so much time alone, which I’m not used to - my daughters have now got term time jobs as well as families to care for so they’re super busy - and I don’t go out. I suppose it doesn’t help that the last few months have had Christmas, New Year, the first anniversary of his death and his memorial and then his birthday. The next big thing will be the funeral, and then maybe things won’t seem quite so hopeless.
Take care of yourselves
Maybe having started to talk about what happened and about how you feel will begin a bit of healing. I do hope so as it’s such a huge loss and so sudden. Keep talking and messaging as and when you feel the need. We’ll be here for you.
My beloved husband, Keith passed very recently and it was only this year we were talking about organ donation, he didn’t say either way what he wanted, but you have to opt out now when you renew driving licence. At the hospital when me, his wife and his son, my step son were told he would not make it, his son asked if he could be a donor as its what he would of liked. I was slightly taken aback as I was not consulted and I knew Keith was not sure about it. But what could I do, it’s their dad and I dint want to upset them at a very sad traumatic time. They said there would not be much to donate due to his condition. The day after he died I had a phone call from organ and tissue NHS, I had to make a decision, I rang them back after chatting with my aunt about it. I was not keen but we agreed that Keith would carry on helping people as he did all his life and its what his son wanted. It was a very hard phone call and I was told exactly what they would do which I found very upsetting and was asked many questions some extremely personal and intimate, but I guess all for a good cause. We have been sent a certificate and a gold pin badge in recognition of what Keith has done to help others. I still find this hard to deal with but again telling myself that he is here with me watching over me, although no signs yet. It’s just a body that will be at the funeral. I think it depends perhaps in what you believe whether the funeral is the final confirmation that they have gone or accepting what has happened. But this is all new to me, 18 days on from Keith’s death, but it’s how I’m feeling right now. Just think of the great thing your husband is doing helping many others, and all the happy memories and what a super special man he was to do that for others. And soon when the time comes he can be at peace when he has finished doing great work.
I’m sorry for your loss, and how traumatic you found dealing with the issue of organ donation. I think, for me, it’s the issue of having to wait 17 months until his funeral, knowing that no matter how I’m coping it’s all going to be brought back and I’m scared of being catapulted back to the wreck I was. I know I did the right thing by honouring his wishes, but we didn’t even consider how difficult it would be, having it hanging over me for so long.
I am not sure o the difference but my wife ordered full body donation for the purposes of research and training. This we both did 10 years ago. Although very gregarous she had a fear of being the centre of attention and had no wish for a funeral. I seem to notice a rise in the number of simple cremations nowadays with more and more people opting out. I was given options when her body was accepted over a year ago but decided that all would be left up to the University. I have not regreted it in any way because her spirit is with me. Our house is her memorial and I have planted a tree in her favourite park. I miss being able to reach out to her but nothing else because for me she is still here. I may be going off my rocker but so what, I am content.
I think its nice that you are content, thats all that matters.