Overwhelmed

A few weeks ago my husband died suddenly and unexpectedly. We had been side by side on our computers at home just like normal. I went down to make coffee and when I came back he said he had some pains in his back and was going to run a bath, I ran the bath for him but then called 999 as he quickly couldnt breathe. I was talked through first aid and CPR which I did, it was the hardest physical thing in my life as I had to perform the CPR for a long time until the first paramedic arrived and then he had to put his PPE on for Covid before he could take over, every chest compression I thought my body was about to give out but I managed to keep going due to my love for my husband… I collapsed in the street afterwards when running to get the next ambulance but got up again. Sadly 50 minutes of the paramedics effort following mine was not enough and he died.

During the time when the 5 paramedics were working on him they had moved some of the bedroom furniture to get better access. The next day when moving the bedroom furniture back with the help of close family we discovered they had knocked an electric socket out of the wall and it was arcing. When being replaced the electricity had to be shut down and this switched off the router.

My husband was an avid home electronics expert and everything in our house works on home automation, curtains, blinds, fire alarm, doorbell, cameras, lights… motion sensors and a myriad of other sensors and smart plugs on most things. I can barely work it when he was there and left him to it as he enjoyed it so much but now it is making everything even worse that my home feels against me and i cannot do simple things like change channel on the tv (the first night was stuck on BBC2 all night) or switch on a light.

Today I finally worked out where the plug for Christmas lights was (in a hidden compartment within the boiler cupboard! Until now my mum and I have been sleeping in the front room with Christmas lights on. There are still many other lights that have been on for almost two weeks that i cannot switch off.

I am also trying to organise the funeral, there had to be a post mortem due to the sudden nature of the death and that was completed in recent days. I have no idea what i am doing there and it costs so much.

My mum has a lot on her plate and before this i was worried about her (my grandmother is terminally ill and my mum has also been ill all year in addition to a full time demanding job and lots of other things). Now i am another of those things putting more strain on her as she tries to help me.

I dont drive but have a car in the drive. My stepdad took me to my mums house for a few hours a couple of times and i feel a lot better and safer there, despite i love my house it doesnt feel like my house now with my husband not there.

My mum said i can stay with her but have four cats and dont drive (we live around half hour drive apart) so i can’t go and stay with her and also i live in a bad neighbourhood where i am certain the house will be robbed without anyone in it (and maybe in it which leads me to another thing, i am terrified here when on my own which i need to get used to i guess but I am not sure anyone will buy this house due to that in the past i had to make a lot of anti social behaviour reports to the police/council).

My husband had put so much work into this house over the last 5 years making every detail perfect for me so we had a wonderful happy house. I love him so much, we were together 17 years and i feel like i dont even have time to think about this aspect because of all the exhausting details. I don’t think i can feel happy or safe in this house without him as everything is gradually breaking and i cannot work my own house (sleeping under multicoloured christmas lights on for 11 days, it is only going to get worse when more stuff starts to go weird like if the wired in smoke alarms go off or the cameras that help me feel a bit safer go off and i dont know what to do).

How on earth can i go forward here… i’ve no idea…

Hello Fleur debLis.
My word, what a quandary. The only think I can suggest, (.and this will depend on your financial situation) is to call a properly qualified electrician in to put the electrics back to how they were.
Then you might be able carry on with the rest of your problems. Sitting under Christmas lights sounds lovely, but I can see the attraction would wane after a while,
God luck xxxxxxxx

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Hi Fleur. I can relate to this as my husband was also a techie - mostly he kept everything going via his computer, he left passwords to all his accounts but not the computer itself, so I’m stumped. Did you husband have a friend who could come round to help you out? If you know any teenagers s/he could probably work it all out in a moment.
I totally empathise with things breaking - I’ve been so clumsy since my husband died because of the shock about what happened to him.
What about renting the house out if you can’t bear to stay there? That way you can return if you change you mind. But underneath it all there’s the loss of your beloved and that will hurt wherever you are.
The shock must have been awful. Sudden death brings a sense of unreality. Be very kind to yourself. Take time before you make a major decision.
Hugs, Cxxx

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Thank you both. I now managed to turn off the Christmas lights after spending some time following the wires around.

Other lights are still on and I worry that something will break I can’t find a solution for. I don’t know how to trust someone to mess with my husbands computer and things. I am also afraid to let local people know my husband is not here as I feel scared without him and don’t know people here. Had to choose clothes to dress him in today as going to funeral directors tomorrow. I was supposed to choose three songs for the funeral too but didn’t do that somehow…
Thanks again for the advice and taking time to read my long ramble x

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Wish we lived closer…my son in law is an electrician…very clever man…I’m sure he would be able to sort it all out for you…my husband passed away June this year :sleepy: it’s still unreal…for us all…the songs we had for his funeral were … opening music for when we entered the chapel was The Eagles …The best of my love…
We had in the middle of the service pictures of my husband on 2 big screens…the music for that was … Coldplay …A sky full of stars … when the service was ending we had Coldplay again Adventure of a lifetime…David loved that song… it was a wonderful service and tribute to him… he would have loved it…:sleepy: take care of yourself… you will be strong it’s going to be a struggle at first… we are in this together :heart:

Dear @FleurDeLis, I am so sorry about your devastating loss. Life can be so sad, one minute you’re sitting with your husband, and the next minute he is taken away from you, forever changing the life you cherished.

Are your cats adaptable? Do you think they might adapt to your mum’s home? Or does she have her own cats? Do you have a neighbour who you trust who can check your house every day? Maybe you could get one of those automatic light switches that switch the light on when you’re not at home to give the impression that you are? Sorry, I don’t know what you do next, just don’t like the thought of you living in a place you don’t feel safe with your husband not around, I was raised on a very bad council estate, so know all about how unnerving it can be, especially for women. Please take care.

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thank you both so much for comments which I’ve read several times on different days before I could write back.

I chose the songs, photos, so many other things and info for the minister to say over recent days. mum is sleeping next to me right now. She is unwell and I am making her worse. My elderly stepdad has been driving to my house twice a day… I’m making him worse too.

Today I feel the worst I did so far. Can’t see how I can do this. I allowed them to put chemicals and make-up on my beloved husband as people said they wanted to see him (I don’t as I don’t believe its now him and I was with him when he died doing the CPR so I have seen him dead already). Now those people won’t go anyway due to covid texts.

His brothers and sisters are coming over from the country he is from on Monday and they want to come to the house to try and help me with this home automation but lso to see my husbands house as two had never been. I don’t think they can and what if they make it worse. Also its against covid rules which I don’t want to break as I don’t want to help spread this virus. The same for after the funeral. We are supposed to just get in a car separately and just go after 30 mins despite they flew here.

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Morning… you can’t help the way you feel … you’ve been through a traumatic experience … I would have thought your parents would understand what you are going through… regarding your husband’s relatives … they should understand the covid situation … House automation? Do what you think is right … I did go and see my husband at the chapel of rest …they didn’t put any makeup on him at all… he was as pale as pale could be… he didn’t look like he was before :sleepy: please do what’s right for you … look after yourself XX

Morning Deborah, thank you for the advice. Actually I am not sure if they put make-up on my husband but was just horrified at the thought, he was always careful to avoid chemicals in life so I felt like he would have been horrified that I allowed them to prepare him for the Chapel of rest.

I also gave a choice of two sets of clothes one was an outfit he would have worn (polo shirt and pants). The other was a long sleeve shirt and smart pants and he hated long sleeve shirts but I wasn’t sure if the funeral director might think it was necessary as it had been two weeks since my husband’s death.

Your comment made me feel better that I won’t go to the Chapel of rest.

Going to have a shower now and my stepdad will come pick us up to go to my mums so she can get their funeral outfits ready and I will go in their peaceful front room I think meanwhile and try to pretend none of this is happening. Thank you x

Dear @FleurDeLis, it is an awful situation to be in. You were not prepared for this, and it is so much to cope with. Please do not think you’re making your parents worse, you’re not. You talk about flashbacks, that is very common in this early stage, if they keep occuring after many months then you might need to speak to your GP as you might be suffering from PTSD, but at this stage, it is normal, hopefully they will reduce over time. Don’t really know what else to say except that I realise what a horrible time this is for you, and that I hope you’re able to look after yourself.

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Thank you Abdullah. Your comments have helped me think.

My mum has one cat already but we talked about that my four could move with me to hers. My brother has also moved back to the family home in recent years as he got ill, it will be crowded with four people and 5 cats but doable. It will be returning to how I was as a teenager which is not that welcome but I know I am very lucky to have this option and my lovely family even so as I know many have to do these things alone. I don’t know how they do but I guess the answer is the same as all the things I find myself somehow doing lately… Because we have no choice.

I hope it won’t come to visiting my GP but that is good advice thanks, you help me put in perspective that only a couple of weeks ago I had this massive trauma and living hellish and tiring days full of nothing familiar and all these unexpected and very important sudden tasks without my husband to ask. When I think about it like that I’m letting myself mostly have a day off today, I feel so tired.

Dear @FleurDeLis, that is good that you think your cats will be able to settle down with your mum’s cat. I also love cats, so did my dad, I had to move five years ago and leave a cat behind, it was so difficult, but that happens.

I am sorry to read that your brother has had health problems lately. I personally do not see a problem with moving back in with your parents, I think there’s a lot of stigma attached in society with that, but if you have a mum who loves you, why not? It will be nice to be with people who love you. I wish my mum could live with me, as I miss her terribly and love her and my deceased dad more than anything.

Yes, you have suffered one of the worst things that could have happened to you, and it all happened so suddenly. Your life has sadly been changed tragically, and you need to give yourself time to recover. The fact you have additional worries, like where you will live, what will happen to your home, your husband’s family visiting etc make things all the more difficult. Recovering will take time. You will never truly recover from your loss, but the hope is you will recover enough to be able to live a meaningful life. You just have to be patient, I know you said that you loved Christmas with your husband, and that is something that will make you sad, so you need to live day by day, hour by hour, and try not to think too far ahead in the future. I did that when my dad died and it made things worse, when I started living week by week, I felt slightly better and less anxious. Please keep posting if you think that helps.

Abdullah, thank you very much. Yes I am lucky that I can have the chance to live with my family again whilst they are still here. I left the family home at 17 but went back at 23 when my husband-to-be moved to England to be with me whilst we saved for a wedding and first months rent deposit. Now I’m 40 it seems like going back in time like my life since didn’t happen to go back but that is the least of my worries and I am truly glad to have this option once I can solve all those problems to make it happen. I know I am very lucky to still have my family and appreciate them every day.

I am very sorry about your father’s death. Is your mum still living but far away? I know what you mean about thinking too far in the future, that panics me every time so I think that is good advice you say that hour by hour is best and today I got a lot of comfort from this site, your posts helped.

I will soon go to bed and just hope I can maintain this calm mind I had for these last hours whilst on here. It is hard to be sensible when waking in the night. In fact I am dreading it even though I am very lucky that I even have my mum with me these days. Still then I find it almost impossible to not panic so I really feel for those of you without such a comfort. I hope you can get a comfort somehow from something and wish that for you.

P. S is there chance you can rehome a cat again from cats protection or something yourself? My cats along with my family are keeping me going.

Dear @FleurDeLis, I totally understand how moving back home can feel like a step back in life, as when you left home you never expected to move back one day to live there again, and it can feel like you don’t have anything to show for those years, but you have the memories and love for your husband that will always remain. It is good you appreciate your mum and stepdad so much, and that they care for you, it’s very important to have people we can rely on in time of grief, I feel sad when I read how some people have no family and grieve alone.

My mum lives anywhere between an hour and a half to 3 hours away depending on traffic on the M25. I want her to live with me in the future, but I don’t know where I will be living myself in the future, as I want to move abroad. And I would like to get married and settled down as that never happened before and I don’t want to leave it too late, so that complicates it even more. So I don’t worry about it at the moment, and will think about this next year. I do miss her terribly, and hate the thought of her being alone at home.

Sadly I cannot get a cat as I live in a houseshare and the landlord doesn’t allow pets. I used to go and feed strays and stroke the cats sitting outside when I would go for my walk or run, and and take photos to send to my dad, but since he died I lost the will to do this, and so haven’t stroked a cat for many months. It will just break my heart that my dad isn’t here anymore for me to send photos to. That’s great you have your cats and they give you some happiness, do any of them sleep with you? Yep, night time can be quite bad, it can make our anxiety worse, hopefully you will be ok tonight. Take care.

I close the door to the cats as they make my mum’s breathing worse so can’t have them in the room now on her bedding. At my house normally my cats could come on our bed but at my mums they will have to become more outside cats. Before bed though I was playing with two of them downstairs and that was nice. the fireworks had been scaring them as here in this estate there have been very many loud fireworks all week. many rattling the windows and scaring us too!
thats a shame you can’t adopt a cat or bear to stroke the neighbouring cats anymore but I understand why.

I don’t want to encourage you to think far in advance but I wonder if you have a country you’d like to live in already or is it simply to escape this country?

I was asleep for around 1 5hr I think but then one of the asb neighbours woke me up with their car and a group of them in the street talking. then I start thinking I need to look through my clothes tomorrow for what I can wear to the funeral. also thinking about them in the street mixing against the covid rules led me onto what to do about the 4 family members flying over Monday. they want me and my family to go to their air B&B after the funeral to eat together. they say its a large house so we can socially distance but I bet there is covid in such an air bnb and I am frightened of my family who all have health issues catching it from there or the funeral (mum breathing, stepdad cancer in remission, brother serious auto immune disease).

I want to go for a walk after the funeral in the air if I feel like it but don’t think my husbands family will like that.

also I think I should have told people attending the funeral that some may have to stand outside due to covid and that id prefer charity donations than flowers but I forgot to do that.

also a couple who my husband and I had been good friends with for 10 years but offended us a lot this year and last so we’d grown apart and they exhausted me in the last week with several phonecalls about them asked me to ring yesterday and I didnt. seems a lot to do tomorrow then but I cant when so tired.

need to one hour at a time but its hard.

Awww @FleurDeLis, I am glad that you got to get some time with your cats last night that you enjoyed. I totally understand how they will have to become more outdoor cats when they move, hopefully they will enjoy their new home.

That isn’t good that you have neighbours that are inconsiderate. Hopefully you will be out of there soon. It isn’t nice living in a place where you don’t feel safe. I do hope you have some neighbours on the estate who you trust and who you can rely on if there is an emergency.

I don’t want to interfere in your family’s affairs, but I would refuse to take my family members to their place. It isn’t worth the risk. I hope if you decide this, that they are understanding.

Are you all going to be social distancing at the funeral? Is your brother also going? Will you all be wearing masks? Masks only really work if everyone is wearing them, especially the person who has the virus, so I really hope your in-laws wear them at all times. Hey, I don’t want to sound all pessimistic and make you worry, you already have enough worries, but my dad got Covid and he died, and I just hate the thought of anything happening to your family. We can never be too careful when it comes to our family’s health.

You should go for a walk after the funeral if you want to.

Well, if it hadn’t been for Brexit I would have moved to Germany, Netherlands or Belgium - maybe France. It was a decade ago that I was living and working in Paris, but the problem with France is that too many jobs require French, whereas in Netherlands or Belgium most jobs just require English. Spain is a country which my mum would have enjoyed living in with me because of the climate, but not that many Software Dveeloper jobs in Spain for non-Spanish people. I could have taken mum with me, and then we’d just come to the UK for her health appointments or when she wanted to stay with my brothers. Now because of Brexit I can’t take her with me, as she won’t have the right to live in the EU. So I just don’t know what to do, I really don’t want to live in this country but feel as if I have no other option if I want mum with me. When Khabib gave his after match speech after UFC 254, he told Gaethje “Be close to your parents because one day it’s going to happen, something, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, you never know”, his dad who he adored had died this summer, and he is correct, my mum is now 67 and has some health conditions, I don’t one day want to wake up and hear she isn’t here anymore and regret that she didn’t live with me, I have to have her living with me.

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Hi FleurDelis
I have been following your posts with interest and can I say Please just take a breath and try to focus on one thing at a time. I know exactly what it’s like. I rushed ahead with sorting everything out and had so many things at once going that I all but burnt myself out. Write down everything that is a worry to you and sort it out one thing at a time. Don’t be in a mad rush and don’t let everything become a burden. Your electrics, where you live, your cats, what to do with your house, your relatives health as well as sorting your husbands funeral is just too much to take in all at once. Visit your GP if you wish but there is no quick fix, no medication that will ease grief but you could consider counselling, which Sue Ryder can help you with also. Talking everything through, being helped to prioritise might help you.
Your Electrics sound a nightmare and obviously a worry to you but a good electrician should be able to work things out for you.
I have some understanding as my husband had an interest in having everything electrical but he was also very possessive about it all and never taught me how to use these things and to be honest I wasn’t much interested. I was left with searching for plugs and what things did. I still have some plugged in and no idea what they do.
So Calm down, take a deep breath and don’t put yourself under more pressure worrying too much. You will begin to sort out everything.
Take care
xx

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thank you Pattidot for this advice which I know is right. I am in a panic and making it even worse on myself. Thank you really from the bottom of my heart. I am now thinking about this and I will write a list and try to be easier on myself as these next two days focusing on the funeral is enough.

I chose my funeral clothes, I was originally thinking I needed to make effort to wear skirt, shirt, heels and be smart like a wife at a funeral on tv to not shame my husbandfor some reason then I realised I should be comfortable as my husband would have said in real life. I’ll wear work pants, boots and my husbands favourite walking comfy top under my coat to try and help myself. also then I don’t need to iron anything!

thanks again.

Abdullah thank you very much for your reply. I read it earlier and it gave me a lot to think about which I will add into my new list.

I am really sorry to hear about your father dying from this awful pandemic and I agree with you that I don’t want to help this virus towards more people.

It is very difficult in your situation, maybe this country will improve again in the future now the world may start to swing back again with all the recent events.

My husband was from the Netherlands and my work is in Scandinavia, sometimes in recent years I found being British not so easy as we had received some abuse from neighbours that we should go back to the EU and this kind of thing (even though I am English anyway, I don’t have the local accent!). It made us feel unwelcome sometimes.

I had to go halfway through editing that post and now it won’t let me continue Abdullah but what I was trying to say is that it is very difficult in your situation, maybe this country will improve again in the future now the world may start to swing back again with all the recent events. then maybe you may no longer want to leave so badly?

My husband was from the Netherlands and my work is in Scandinavia, I didnt travel that often but when I did i felt sorry that our lovely country was left behind in so many ways. Sometimes in recent years I found being British at home too not so easy as we had received some abuse from neighbours that we should go back to the EU and this kind of thing (even though I am English anyway, I don’t have the local accent!). It made us feel unwelcome sometimes and like we should move country but once we finally bought our house it was too much our home to leave.

my husband also did all the tests to get citizenship and his first British passport came through last week, he would have been so pleased.

Maybe time will make a way where you are happy to live here and your mum can be there too. I hope the answer will come to you in time.

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