Sudden tragic death of husband

My fit, active ‘healthy’ husband aged 73 suddenly died in a single minute, whilst driving my car on the motorway. My brain just won’t let me fully accept what has happened. He had a heart attack, I took control of the car and managed to get in a layby. I then spent 30 mins doing cpr with the guidance of ambulance crew over phone. I knew my husband was already gone. Paramedics came but had to shock him 4 times, he had been too long without oxygen. He stayed in intensive care for nearly 2 weeks where each day we were told to either prepare for the worst or there had been small improvements. Eventually they let him pass peacefully, due to brain damage. It was my birthday the day they let him pass. In my mind though, he died in the car, with me by his side. The Dr told me that Keith had died then, it was extremely quick, in less than a minute. He was driving and, said ‘I feel faint’, the car drifted at 70mph, I took the wheel from the passenger side and his last words were ‘don’t grab the wheel’ and he was gone. Consultant told us after a few hours in the hospital that Keith had 2 completely blocked arteries in his heart and an almost blocked one and that his heart had started growing a new artery! Dr was as shocked as we were that no one knew. Keith was never ill, never had pains, absolutely nothing, except he was on blood pressure tablets and did have statins for cholesterol, but no one ever checked or found heart problem. Its been a month since it all happened, and keith passed on 10th March, my birthday. I am back at our home now, 200 miles away from my family, my oarents are elderly and dad is very ill. Keith’s 2 sons from his first marriage are not very good at keeping in touch. Their mum died suddenly from leukimea back in 2009. The whole event is extremely tragic. There was no Will, so already money and property is being talked about. I have got a solicitor to start probate. I am finding it very hard to realise what has happened. I’ve known Keith 12 years, we got our house just over 4 years ago, our own paradise and we were so happy and in love. In 2021 we got married. I am so proud to be Keith’s wife. I’m 52, he was 73 so we did expect he would go first but not yet, so sudden without warning, its like he has just vanished somewhere. When I talk to friends I think, hang on, am I making this up, have I got it wrong, he can’t be dead, I look at his photo and think no, surely he is just gone somewhere and be back soon. Then I have moments when I realise I will never see him again. I talk to him around the house but not felt him here yet. I am incredibly sad but tyring to focus on what we have had, rather than what we won’t have. I am deeply saddened that I will have to leave our home, sell up and move on without my Keith. The funeral is in a few weeks time and I am dreading it. I have to drive nearly 200 miles alone, and then come back alone after. But, I can do it, I will make my Keith proud.


Dear Lou38, I am so very sorry. I can’t begin to imagine how awful that must have been for you, I really can’t. You are still in deep shock and nothing seems real at the moment.
It is so bad that money and property are being discussed and sad that you are having to start probate and go through all of the stress while in deep grief. I am so sad that you are saying you will have to leave your home that was your paradise, maybe it won’t come to that.
You seem a very positive person, your Keith would be so proud of you.
Take care and sending love and hugs xx

Thank you, yes he will be proud, I have done so many things this last month I never dreamt I would have to do. I am quite an anxious person who lacks, some confidence and, I relied on Keith being by my side to boost me. But now I am stepping up and doing what I have to do. All the time I am busy I can just about cope. As soon as I stop, the tears come, the surreal feelings and loneliness. I know it has to come out sometime, but I am keeping myself busy and having reasons to get up in the morning. I don’t work, only bit of ebay selling so have a lot of time alone, but have 2 cats which is a great comfort. I spend a lot of time talking to Keith which sort of helps. I say to him don’t scare me if you suddenly answer! But so far nothing.

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How strange, you seem very much like me. I don’t have much confidence and find it very hard to do things by myself. I did depend on Ron a lot but like you, I have had to start doing everything on my own. I also feel proud when I manage to accomplish something new. I did manage to start the petrol mower last year and keep the lawns tidy but have had to give in this year and buy an electric mower which I haven’t used yet.
I ask Ron to come and talk to me but always say don’t come when it’s dark or I will be scared.
I don’t keep as busy as I should as find it hard to motivate myself. I still cry most days but not as badly as I used to. I also find that I look forward to certain times but am happiest when at home.
Sending hugs xx

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This is a strange moment, Keith’s name was Ronald, middle name Keith and thats how he was known all his life. I mowed the grass today, with the petrol mower, but that’s fine as I was a gardener so no problem. Life is so weird. I am very reluctant to go out especially alone, would hate going shopping alone. But I did go to solicitor on my own. I love being home, I am incredibly homely person, so I don’t mind being here all the time, just wish it wasn’t alone. My biggest loss in life before this is 4 previous cats, which devastated me, so this loss is new to me and I am amazed at how I am coping. I know we all grieve in different ways but ‘nice’ to talk with others going through the same thing

I also sleep with the light on now I am alone! Not scared of Keith, just always been like that.

Firstly I’m so sorry you have lost your darling Keith. These sudden heart attacks with no warning seem quite common for those of us on here. I lost my darling husband, Richard, last April when he suffered a coronary embolus after playing his weekly football. He was 60, slim, strong, very fit and with no symptoms whatsoever in his physical daily life.

You were so quick thinking when it happened which saved on life and that of several others I’m sure. You made me think about how much worse it could have been in Richard’s situation as he was a driving instructor.

The shock from such a sudden loss is HUGE so I’m not surprised you are doubting yourself at times. That will gradually ease but then the reality of it starts to bite. Many people begin to feel worse then so don’t worry if that happens. Having said that there is no pattern grief follows so you can only take one day at a time.
You sound to be doing so well with everything thrust upon you and I now meeting busy helped (still helps) me, but we also need time to cry and grieve for our loved ones so don’t shut that out too much.

You will find support here from many people who have lost the love of their lives and it helps to know we are not alone and not unusual in what we are experiencing.

I have never felt my Richard around me although I talk to him often. I am lucky to have a faith which tells me he is at peace now and that we will be together again some day. He is also such a part of who I am as we lived our intertwined lives and adapted to each other during that time. Many things I do are because of him so I think of him often in daily life.

Sending you love and prayers
Karen xxx


Hi Karen, thank you so much for your kind words, really does help and I’m so sorry for your loss too. It’s still very very early days, it’s just 18 days since Keith passed, but as I say he died in the car, it was Feb 25th,. It feels such a long time ago since it happened because so much has had to be done since, and I was away from home for 2 weeks living out a bag with only overnight clothes at my parents house, 200 miles from home. I ve been back home for almost 2 weeks but feel like I have done months and months of paperwork phonecalls searching for items seeing g a solicitor already, and funeral is in 2 weeks time. It’s just been non stop. As I say I’m better keeping busy but I know at some point I will have to slow down a little. Keith and I were never really more than 100 yards apart every day for last nearly 5 years! Which makes it harder. We just chilled out doing our hobbies here in our paradise, he enjoying his well earned retirement and me loving being a housewife and home maker whilst pursuing my craft hobbies to sell. Everything was perfect. Which again is what I must focus on. Keith had a great life apart from his own sadness losing his first wife, but he had a new chapter in life and we made the most of it. I hope things get easier for you… Lou


Hello Lou
I am so sorry for your loss of your husband Keith
You are so strong what you have been through especially in the car you can cope with anything
Just loosing him is bad enough
When my husband died out of the blue my whole world fell apart I went into autopilot having to deal with the funeral be strong for his parents and mine when inside I just wanted to die and be with him
I too like you could not believe he had gone it took me months to come to terms with it
It’s been 5 years since he died I have got stronger with the help of google and YouTube they help me get through the challenges of life as David was the IT expert the diy handy man the love of my life xx
I’m not saying it gets easier in time but you do learn to cope with your heartache
It is so early for you in your grief but please only do what you feel you can cope with
Come on her and share your thoughts as sharing does make a huge difference
We all understand your feelings we have all been there
Keep strong
Sending my love

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Thank you, really means a lot. I think I am seeming like I am rushing things but as Keith died without leaving a Will I have some pressure. Although we are married nothing is in joint names. We were going to sort out a Will and we know what we planned to do, but it’s not written down legally. So he died intestate. My 2 step sons, 34 and 37 are not happy with intestate rules and already made it clear they want a 3 way split of Keith’s estate. Hes not even been dead 3 weeks yet! This is why I have had to get a solicitor to start proceedings. I know that I can’t stay in our home as its only Keith’s name on the deeds, I have no money. I just have all my belongings. So slightly panicking. Keith wanted me to sell this house and buy somewhere smaller with the money, then when I die his 2 sons inherit the house from me. But they want it all now as they say I could out live them and it’s their family money. They don’t seem to have any feeling for me as their dad’s wife. Their own mum died from cancer in 2009. We have always got on but now they are showing their true colours. So as I am on limited time I am doing all I can whilst I can, then I can grieve later.


How dreadful and tbh disrespectful to their Dad and you. As if you aren’t going through enough as it is.
I feel for you. I wonder if there is a way that you are able to stay on in the house. A friend of mine had a similar thing happen when she married her present husband. His two sons wanted a share of the house that had belonged to him and their late mother but the solicitor said they were not entitled until her or his death. It might be worth seeing if there is anyway you can keep the house.
You have been so strong so far. Sending lots of prayers and strength xx


Oh Lou
Nothing is straightforward having to cope with all this hassle while coping with your grief
I say my late husband but David and I were not married but were together for 25 wonderful years
In the eyes of the law he was divorced and I was single
I had no right to anything I couldn’t even find out when the direct debits went out in his account the banks did not want anything to do with me it had to be his next of kin that they would deal with which was children as we had not made a will - we never thought that David would die at 49 !!
I totally understand what your going through with his children
I was lucky we had a joint mortgage thank god - it was his private pension that the children wanted
I had to prove that David and I were dependant on each other and not the children on him
You are different to my situation you have rights as you were MARRIED and that means a lot in the eyes of the law
Take your time and please don’t rush about and do something that you may regret
don’t feel pressured into sorting out your affairs get the right advice
He loved you ,you loved him he would probably be disappointed in his children they way they are
But when it comes to money people change
Right now you have to be selfish and put yourself first like you said they will get the money when you die
I have a great relationship with his son even though he wasn’t entitled to his pension but he understood and he knows that when I die I will leave everything to our grandchildren

Sending my best wishes

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Thank you so much for your reply and sorry for your loss. Its 3 weeks now be feels so much longer, like 3 months. I have got so much done and feel that now after the funeral in 2 weeks time I can take time out for myself. I also need to find, a way to earn some money. I have just sorted out council tax and will ask for help paying it. My solicitor has begun proceedings and I have had the house valued for probate. I used the same agent that sold us the house almost 5 years ago, as it was an easy smooth affair and Keith was really happy with the way it was dealt with, so it felt right to get in touch with them. I’m using my instinct and going with what feels right and comfortable. Everyone I talk too is so shocked and upset, the man that empties the cesspit came and I told him what had happened and he stayed and chatted for half an hour as he saw I was upset, as was he as he always chatted with Keith. Everyone loves Keith. Such a friendly helpful lovable man. I’m finding these last few days I am crying a lot more and it’s starting to hit me now what’s actually happening.


I read all your posts and you are in exactly the same situation as myself.
My partner 62, fit, healthy, never smoked or drank and no warnings or symptoms died out of the blue from a sudden heart attack, he arrested 3 times and his heart stopped for 20 minutes, he was on life support for 4 days, he passed on 2 march. The medical team said if he had survived he would have had brain damage. Jim too didn’t make a will and his 2 boys have been really cruel to me. The only blessing is the house is mine as he moved in with me 15 yrs ago. He bought a flat where one of his son’s lives. They stopped me seeing him as they are legally next of kin so I never got to say goodbye, previous to all this happening we always got on, or so I thought. Money is the route of all evil. I don’t want anything as I have my home but they have been spiteful about his funeral, etc. I met Jim when I was 10 yrs old so 54 yrs, 40 years before the eldest was born.
My heart goes out to you having to deal with this because it hurts like hell and that’s without the grief added into the mix.
I am totally alone, no family and no children so all I have is memories of my soulmate but they can’t rob me of those.
My partner had his heart attack on the 26 Feb 4 days after his birthday.
I am still in shock and angry at everything. Life can be so unfair. We never got to enjoy retirement. I have 2 yrs to go and it now fills me with dread.
Sending you a big hug
Lyn x


Dear Lyn, yes sounds similar and I am sending you big hugs too. One of his sons came to pick up his suit and family photos yesterday. It’s, a 3 hour drive each way for him and he was here barely an hour, when normally he would stay over. He was business like but his girlfriend was friendlier and asked how I was and gave me a hug as I was crying talking about Keith. When James got home he did text though and said thanks, and sorry they couldn’t stay and if there are any big jobs to do house or garden, to let him know. So either he is hiding his emotions or felt a bit sorry for me or his girlfriend said something. I don’t know and I realise they are grieving too but just be nice to comfort each other.


I think because it’s their first major loss in life, they can only see and feel their own pain. They are oblivious to mine, I doubt I will even get a mention at his funeral which believe or not is the 20th April! He died 2nd March, I can’t believe this is the waiting times. Can’t bear the thought of him at the hospital morgue but the funeral directors morgue and chapel of rest is full to capacity. I can’t grieve properly until I get to say my goodbye as I was denied that from the day the ambulance arrived. I have been signed off work for 6 weeks but that will be extended to 8 now as I can’t go back before his funeral and interment of his ashes. The internment is another issue but I am powerless to express any of my wishes for him. It’s all so surreal and incredibly sad. I still look at the front door waiting for him to walk through

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Sarlyn and Lou
Oh I feel for you both so much
What’s so sad that you both loved their fathers so much and had made a life with him and them
And the children well adults can’t see you made their dads happy
The problem is like you said Sarlyn they are coping with their grief too and men don’t share their feelings
They have loss a father but if they are not careful they will loose a step mum too with their actions
Can you both not talk to the children try and meet face to face to air all your feelings and concerns as you both seemed to have a good relationship before their dad died
The problem is MONEY it is definitely the route of all evil
But money can’t buy you love and that is what you all need right now love and to be able to comfort each other at this difficult time
It’s sad but I do feel some people in life are givers and some are takers
So I do hope the children think before they make things worse for you two

Reading everything your both are going through right now has brought back the nightmare I went through 5 years ago i did get through it and so will you both in time
I’m not the same person now I will always be heartbroken but nobody can take away the happy memories I made with David and the same goes for you both

I know right now you both are in a completely different place to me but I just wanted to assure you if you can cope with loosing the love of your life the person that made your life worth living you both can cope with anything else this awful world can throw at you xx
I sincerely hope Sarlyn the children contact you about their dad’s funeral and you are a part of it

Sending my love to you both