I don't know how he died

I lost my husband suddenly and unexpectedly a month ago. I don’t even know how he died… The coroners did an autopsy and then said that they needed to do further investigations. Apparently could take another few months to know exactly.
In the meantime I was allowed to cremate him etc… I think I am still in shock! As time goes on I cry more and more. I feel utterly exhausted and sometimes I have a few hours where I breathe really high and get scared.The not knowing how he died is torturing me as I didn’t react to his shouting.
I was sleeping separately in the spare room as had an early start and he had insomnia.
I woke up to shouting and was confused. I took my earplugs out and it must have stopped. Then I heard my neighbour shout and dismissed it. I carried on snoozing!? That is what distresses me. Then either 3/4 hour or maybe only 4 minutes later, I found him dead, collapsed over the bath with his face in what I think must have been indescribable pain. I cannot get the image out of my head and I blame myself for not having been with him in his last moments. Maybe I could have saved him. He had Diabetes type 2 for 25 years and we managed it together. There were at least 10 emergencies in 13 years and I was always there with him and called paramedics or got taxis to A and E. We had very few of these crisis’ in the last 4 years and then this happened. We were very good at managing what we could see. He cooked very healthy meals, I helped him with feet and leg care ( neuropathy) and he attended numerous hospital appointments for Warfarin, Podiatry ( keeping ulcers at bay) etc… We both knew he had a progressive, ultimately probably terminal disease. He was always dealing with new symptoms but could function and was still working. I have gone back to work but can only do half days at the moment. From 3.30 to 10.30 I am at my worst and full of adrenalin. I wake up with my heart beating so fast and sometimes shakey. I sometimes have nightmares where I am searching for him. I did have one very consoling dream after his Memorial service on Tuesday. He was happy/emotional reading tributes to him on the internet and I was cuddling him. It felt very real and that was the first time I remembered/heard his voice. Sorry to ramble on! This is the biggest grief I have ever experienced and I feel bereft

Hi Jolouise,
I am sure others will respond to you on this forum. So sorry for your loss and the anguish that it is put upon you. It sounds like sudden pain and there was nothing you could have done.
My father passed away 8 months ago in his sleep - he was also in another room at the time because he was a night person - my mom was already asleep and found him the next day. He had 0 health issues, just a few diagnostic things that had been identified as normal aging for a man in his 70’s. We are just as baffled as you. At the beginning, the need for an answer consumes you. Over time, the need for the answer subsides. Please be sure to eat and stay hydrated. Grief is exhausting and takes a toll on you very fast.
Ell

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Hi

I am in the same situation as yourself my husband passed away eight months ago on holiday in Jamaica and I am still waiting for the results of tests etc I was allowed to repatriate him back to the uk and cremate him, but I still don’t actually know what he actually died from as yet.
Your breathing and shaking I went through the same it’s shock but try not to panic I know it’s very frightening try to relax make a warm drink and snuggle yourself with with a blanket, I think sometimes we forget to be kind to ourselves as we feel guilty for allowing ourself time to grieve, my husband was also diabetic type 2, but we have to remember you will get stronger and hopefully get your results soon.

Take care
Annie

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I’m an so sorry for your loss. I want to reassure you that when a person passes away their face can contort badly. Please, don’t think that your love ones expression indicated pain.

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Hi Jolouise. Welcome.
I doubt very much if anyone can say a lot after only a month. The pain you are in will subside, but that will take some believing for you. Yes, you are still in shock. Trauma is a better word. This is about the worse experience any of us can go through and the pain is often indescribable. But you will find many on here who do cope and do survive in spite of it all.
No cliches or platitudes from those who don’t understand will help.
We can all look back on what we might have done better. This creates guilt, a very bad emotion, because we did what we thought right at the time. It’s no use putting ourselves through the pain of guilt because the past is gone. You can honour your husbands memeory and stll love him. He knows you love him and always will. Try and take it one day or one hour at a time, just for the moment.
You may be hyperventilating. Don’t be scared, it’s normal when under stress. This can be caused by anxiety. Have you seen your GP? It’s always a good idea to go and have a talk.
I doubt you could have done anything more than you did. Images will occur for a while as will dreams. Accept that this is the grieving process. Well, as much as you can accept, and it is very difficult.
Never apologise or feel guilty about ‘rambling on’. YOU DON’T. We all need to unload at times and that’s what we are all here for, to help each other.
Take care and be kind to yourself as well as others. Many will talk to you; few will understand, but on here we all do. Blessings. John.

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Hello Jolouise,
My husband died 6 months ago, I found him dead on our bedroom floor, I wasn’t with him either, but sometimes people will wait until they are alone until they allow themselves to pass away. I felt so guilty that I wasn’t with him. I had gone across the road to ask a medically trained friend/neighbour to come and take a look at him. Apart from the shock, I felt dreadful that he had died alone.
I was in shock for the first months until it came to his birthday on the 19th February, it then hit me like a ton of bricks, the anaesthetic of the shock has now worn off.
I feel so sorry that you are in such pain, it must have been horrendous for you, finding your husband like this, I believe that some of the members of this wonderful group have had the same experience. You could not be with your dear husband 24 hours per day, guilt, I am told, is a common feeling, when someone we love so much dies. I do believe that we think we could have saved them, this isn’t the case, your husband sounds to have been quite young if he was still working, if I am right then it makes it all the more tragic. I do believe that our departed loved ones to come to us in dreams.
I do understand when you say that you are bereft.
Take good care of yourself,
Blessings,
MaryL x x

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I’m so sorry for your loss. And you also have the added shock too. Finding your husband that way. I’ve been told by so many counsellors,Samaritans. That your first immediate feeling is so often regret and guilt. It’s part of grief and it will subside. You could not have known what was happening. If you had known you would have been there like a shot. But you can’t feel guilt about things that you did not know about. Guilt is a conscious act of doing something wrong. You did neither of those things. Lots of people unfortunately die this way. Suddenly and alone. It’s horrible for those left behind. But to go quick like that is a blessing for our loved ones.

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Hi jolouise,
I just wanted to say that my dad suffered a massive heart attack in bed 21 years ago when he was only 53.
My mum only went to make him a cup of tea but she heard a funny noise and ignored it. When she returned to him he was dead. She felt terrible that she should have rushed to him and tried to save him but it was obvious that my dad couldnt have been saved.
Eventually your guilt will pass. There is nothing you could have done to save him. If someone dies at home it’s almost impossible to save them.
My mum died of a brain hemorrhage in june whilst actually at the hospital with a team of doctors and surgeons having routine surgery for something else.
If she had been at home i could never have saved her.
I hope you find out soon what how your husband died.
Cheryl x

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Thank you all so much for writing to me! It is so o soothing and I am so relieved I had the courage to write. Even small tasks feel bewildering right now. I actually spent today with dear friends and enjoyed the distraction from constant ruminating. It‘s the first day I was able to concentrate/focus on others properly.
I have a tendency to ruminate, so at a time like this my thinking goes into overload. I went to see the doctor a week ago and she gave me Diazepam for the panic breathing. I am loathe to take anything but have taken half the lowest dose. She said I wouldn’t feel anything, but I am treating it as a mental prop. I think I am scared of being too dopey to work and my teaching makes me happy! I also don’t like having the nightmares and assume that the more I sleep, the more likely I am to have them. They usually occur just before I am due to get up…The nightmares and high breathing feels like a very cruel assault on top of the rest.
Phil was 70! I ( very big age gap between us( I think on reflection that he did quite well to make that age with 25 years of this progressive disease. There is no part of me that feels it isn’t fair because we had a few life threatening crisis‘ in the past. He certainly would not have wanted to have died from the dreaded amputations or Celluitis. He contacted the latter about 12 times. So I am very accepting, unless that is shock speaking. However, for those of us left behind,it is a trauma isn‘t it.; to have your most beloved , your biggest champion snatched away so suddenly and with no warning or goodbyes. It is not something one can prepare for. Fortunately we always told one another how much we loved each other., but I feel as though I am in an alternate reality right now. I do hope he is still present in some way. We are/were both musicians. Musicians continue teaching from home until they physically can‘t.
That probably made Phil appear healthier than he actually was. I was the same at school on Friday. Despite having to constantly hold back tears, the concentration of the teaching took over.
Thank you all so much for listening.

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I admire you that you are back at work and Teaching. I also ruminate and
Counselling has helped with that a bit. I ruminate with the counsellor. she helps me look at something a different way. Then I can stop the ruminating on that particular thought. I ruminate a lot less now. Wether that’s the time that has lapsed that has helped or counselling I don’t know.

Coming on here and getting those thoughts out of my head has helped me massively

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Such true and wise wordsx

Thank you Jooles!
I am relieved that I took that major step in getting back to my teaching. It is very difficult as I am self employed, so have lost a lot of income. I paid replacement Peripatetic teachers so as not to let my pupils down. There are about 45 of them and many are taking Singing exams in a few weeks. Of course for me, it is IMPOSSIBLE to sing right now. In fact I feel frustrated that my knowledge of breathing isn’t helping me in this situation! I haven’t sung for 5 weeks now and that is a very long time. My stamina is shot. I know my husband would be willing me to get back into it before all my progress goes. I am a freelance opera singer and was hoping to get an audition for ROH or ENO extra chorus at the time he died. All sounds trivial, but singing is like breathing for me. Fortunately my pupils don’t seem to have suffered for my absence and I am enjoying hearing them instead!
Thank you for the advice re seeing a Bereavement counsellor. I had been looking and the waiting lists were either too long, or the free charity organisations said they could not provide for my location.
My nightmares were so bad this morning that I finally took the plunge and contacted one. She is charging me the minimum rate as I am not a high earner. That gives me a very good feeling about her, as she doesn’t need to do that!
I am determined to keep taking small steps forward. The advice and support from everyone on here is invaluable. I need to keep hearing that it will get better, that I will feel more myself eventually and able to thrive again. It would be lovely to be able to celebrate and smile at memories of my husband rather than be distressed. I know he would want that for me, as I would want that for him.

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I meant to add; teaching my pupils has been very humbling for me. Several of then shared their own losses with me. Two of them have lost their mothers! One of those is also recovering from Cancer! Grief is indeed universal and I think I need to help others in some way in order to heal myself

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Hi. Jolouise.
Yes, that’s it. In helping others in pain you help yourself. This is not selfish, but if done without thought of self, then it’s about the best thing you can do. Every action, if it’s positive and done with love can help someone. If we just send love and blessings as we pass by the effect will be felt even in a small way. Prayer is abut that. Prayers travel well, and distance is never an obstacle. In the community in which I live we pray for those in need. We get so many letters from those suffering either from physical or emotional problems. The number of ‘thank you’s’ we get shows it does work.
Age has nothing to do with anything where love is concerned. Souls are ageless. This is not religion in the accepted sense of the word, but it’s what I believe to be true. There is no ritual required in prayer if it comes from the heart.
I know what you mean about an alternative reality. I often find myself ‘off with the fairies’ if you know what I mean. It’s as if it all happened yesterday when, in fact, its 15 months ago.
Now take care, and it’s good you are here and in safe hands. Blessings.

the reason your suffering so much is your blaming yourself. Did you know he was ill no did you know something would happen that night no. you are not to blame. Hopefully when you know why he passed away you can get some peace. its the not knowing. we all think could we have saved them. I came dowstairs to my partner struggling for his last breath he had been ill but he was recovering. We tried to save him and we did 13 days later i lost him it was a cardiac arrest. i slept in that morning i ask myself if i had been sat beside him instead of being in bed could i have saved him. after researching and researching i think i did the best i could with my daughters help. There really was never a high percentage he would have made it so in reality giving him cpr only prolonged his suffering. I can take the blame but i did what i thought was right it was a natural to try and save him. he tried hard to stay but his body had taken as much as it could with several other illnesses on top. We had plans and i feel cheated he was cheated too. I think if you can, go back to work there no point sitting at home thinking what if. there is nothing worse. I believe if your time is up its up i dont believe there was anything you could have done to help your husband stop beating yourself up huni he wouldn’t want that would he im sure. if he was anything like my chip he would be worrying about you now and how your feeling he lost you too so let him rest in peace until you meet again and forgive yourself you did nothing wrong xx

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Jools So truex

Sorry for my delayed response. I find that very soothing ‚that when your time is up, it‘s up! I have been back at work a whole week and it‘s been brilliant for me except I get between 3.5 to 6.5 proper hours of sleep. I am existing on adrenalin. I am not sure I really understand how my husband could have just gone! We were laughing together when we went to bed! Because there was a delay with autopsy ( still investigating death) the funeral was only a week ago and that took everything out of me. He was very well known in his field so we had to Organise the church service and Crematorium service on two separate days so that we could afford a
reception. That took unbelievable amount of time and effort. I made over 300 calls/emails. Not all bad as was very cathartic too. He was loved by so many pupils, friends , colleagues. Now, five and half weeks on, I am having to still do all the financial stuff. I get home from school and spend all evening filling in forms, making calls to close accounts, services. It is ENDLESS! By nature, I like to get things done before they build up but I am defeated by this… I am staying at my parents while I get back on my feet ( I feel weak/sometimes shakey first thing) Problem is that staying with them is so lovely that it is insulating me a bit from my grief. I went back to the flat to pick up post etc twice, and the grief hits me…! I am not sure I know the correct balance? Should I stay there full time or enjoy the support and love of my parents? My mum keeps saying they love having me. I just don‘t feel brave enough to be on my own yet. I may try one night next week. It is hard enough teaching one to one singing and not bursting into tears!

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Hi Karie
When my dad died of a heart attack in bed 21 years ago aged 53, my mum and I gave CPR in vain. The paramedics declared him dead the instant they arrived. My mum and I beat ourselves up until I joined the emergency services 5 years later and learnt that the chances of surviving a heart attack outside of hospital were less than 10 percent. The introduction of defibrillators have increased these odds slightly.
When my mum had her brain hemorrhage last june she was in the hospital. She had doctors and surgeons on hand but they still couldn’t save her.
I truly believe that when it’s your time to go, it is. No matter how hard it is and how much we are now grieving.
Cheryl x

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thank you for that. i now know his chances were very low but i couldn’t cope at the time. I think your right chip defied the odds last June and fought back and had a few more months this time i think his body just could take anymore. either way its still so hard x

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