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Sudden Witnessed Death of Spouse

8 years ago

I am new to this forum. I found this site after Google search for sudden death support forums.
I have been reading many previous posts and my heart breaks from each and every story. Especially now that I have experienced intense grief by the passing of my husband on 2/3/14. He was only 56 years old.

What I haven't been able to find is any supportive information on witnessing the death of your spouse or loved one. I suppose a sudden death is a sudden death, but I feel like witnessing his death was even more traumatic. I now have flashbacks (PTSD) of him dying and my inability to save him! I'm a nurse which makes it even more unbearable to be totally useless in this kind of situation. We were sleeping, the second night in our new home, and he woke me up by hitting me with his arm. It happens every now and then when he would turn over. Anyway, this night was different. He roused me with his arm movement but what "hit" me was his breathing pattern. For a second I thought he was having sleep apena. Then I heard his gasp. As an RN, there is a term for that kind of breath and the name sounds as bad as it is. Aginal breathing. With the first breath, I jumped out of bed, turned on the light, took one glance at him while dialing 911. I held his head to open his airway and attempt CPR. He had about 2 more aginal breaths before he was gone. I could tell from his eyes.

I did CPR, somehow rolled him out of bed and onto the floor as instructed by the voice on the phone. He was tipping the scale at 300 lbs and I am all of 130 lbs so it was a struggle to get him off the bed. I have no idea how long it took me, when the first responder came or even how he got in the house. It is all a blur. We had no clocks in the bedroom. I had no idea how long he had been down. I vaguely remember the ambulance arriving and me instructing them where they were but don't know when the Coroner/Sheriff arrived. I called my brother's cell phone as he had just left at midnight to drive home. He had been there to help us move. I remember I couldn't breath. I felt like I was going to die too. I remember the Coroner telling me that there was nothing they could do. I remember the EMT's leaving and none of them looking at me. I remember not being able to go back into the bedroom to be with my husband, just to hold his hand while waiting for the Funeral Home transport. I didn't understand why they wouldn't let me be with him. Weeks later it dawned on me that my bedroom and become a "crime scene" as he died at home, young and no documented medical history. Then the autopsy gave no obvious cause of death...which leads me down another frustrating path. Weeks of waiting for the toxicology results for a conclusive cause of death. Natural Causes. Really? He was 56. How can this be Natural? Most likely a fatal cardiac arrhythmia. He had no signs or symptoms of a heart attack. No warning! Yes, that what really bothers me is the NO WARNING. I never had a chance to say "Goodbye", never having time to even say "I love you". He was just gone, taken away, just like that.

Sorry for all the detail. I have so much pain, heartache, guilt, sadness, longing, and disbelief. Just like everyone. We were only married 18 months. Both of us had divorced our previous spouses after we met and discovered that WE were destined to be together. God had lead us to each other. We knew each other for 4 years before we got married. He had a great job, one he loved and was held in very high esteem in his company. But more importantly, I held him in very high esteem too. He did more for me than anyone I had ever met. It was always about ME. He wanted to please me, all the time. I miss him so much. How does anyone get through this grieving pain? It is so hard to see anything in front of you. Where is the future? It was supposed to be with him. Now it's gone. Suddenly. It's been 7 weeks today and I'm still numb and disbelief still creeps in. But it's real and it's happening to me. I started seeing a grief counselor to help me deal with all this. What else can I do? Any suggestions? I journal, I read, I talk, I pray and I cry. That's my life now. So sad.

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