Navigating a new reality

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I’ve been pretty silent on the blogosphere. I’ve reblogged a few gems from some of the smart ladies that I follow, but otherwise have not had a lot to say. Mainly because life was becoming blissfully normal and really, who wants to read about the day to day musings of a 50 year old woman?  Nothing to see here folks.   I had planned to blog on the one year anniversary of my sister’s death.  That is coming up  on July 10.  Actually I planned to reblog the post I made about 10 days after she passed.  It’s not like anything has changed in that regard. She is still gone and we still miss her.   I was contemplating an update when I see my oncologist in July.  Truthfully I don’t expect anything new to come from that visit so unless something horrifying or hilarious happened on the way to the center it would be a pretty boring entry.

What I never in my wildest imaginings expected to be blogging about is the unexpected death of my husband.  On 4/29/13 we welcomed his new grandson in Texas.  On 6/1/13 we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary with a trip to the coast that included eating lobster and looking for “treasure” in flea markets and antique shops. I looked for things to sell in my ebay business. He looked for vinyl and other collectibles that he could display in his “man cave”.  On 6/5/13 I spent the day setting up a charity lawn sale and when we both arrived home at the same time I told him I was too tired to cook and asked him to pick up sandwiches.  He did and we had a quiet evening.  He called a close friend and talked for a time, then called his son.  About an hour and a half earlier than he normally went to bed, he announced he was “freezing” and was visibly shivering.  I felt his forehead.. no fever. He was not sweating.  He had no other symptoms.  We both went to bed and slept normally. The next morning we were planning to visit our daughter in law before she flew home (she’d been here for a funeral) so he had the day off. We both slept a little later than normal.  When I got up he was in his recliner under two blankets. I asked he if was still cold and he said no, just achy and really tired.  While I made coffee he got the paper.  He didn’t touch his coffee or the paper and at one point just got up and went back to the bedroom. I asked if he’d gone back to bed and he said “for just a bit”.  I checked once, he was on his side facing the wall.  Fifteen minutes later I heard what I thought was loud snoring and went in. He was now flat on his back. I could not rouse him. I could not move him.  He appeared to be choking so I called 911.  While on the phone, he stopped breathing.  He was gone. Just like that. The EMTs were there in minutes and worked for over 45 minutes.  On 6/6/13 @ 8:26 a.m. my life changed forever.

Within hours my house was full of family.  My kids stayed with me for  more than 2 weeks (leaving in stages).   I had some wonderful quality time with the new baby.  I hated to see them all go, but my new reality involves living alone and doing for myself. I would love to hide under the covers or sit back helplessly and let others do for me, but that just prolongs the inevitable.

On the practical side there are decisions to be made, bills to pay, I had to buy health insurance for the first time in my adult life as we were always covered under his work plan (thank God I’m through with the expensive part of cancer treatment). I’m looking for work because even though my small business is making money, working alone is very isolating.

I guess I do have plenty to say after all. Huh, who knew?  Those of you who followed my journey through breast cancer are invited to follow my new journey through early widowhood.  I promise it won’t be all doom and gloom.  As is typical in our family there have been some hilarious moments that have you laughing/crying at the same time.

Remind me to tell  you about the financial institution that had me convinced someone had stolen my husband’s identity, had named names and was insisting I file a police report.  Only to find out it was their mistake after all (which I had been telling them for 2 days).  That’s a long story for another day.

They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.  He can stop any time now. I’m not the bad ass He makes me out to be.

In spite of it all, I remain mainelyhopeful.

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71 comments

  1. rachaelsladylumps · June 27, 2013

    I hate these words but I have to say them, “I am so very sorry.” I am. Where I have never met you, I have followed you through breast cancer and you have followed me. You have given me advice and hope during the toughest fight of my life. And now, just when you should be celebrating you are dealing with an unimagineable pain. If I could hug you I would. Please know that I will be reading your every word (as I have been for what, almost 2 years)? And please know that I am praying for you, your family, and the amazing angel God called home June 6th. xoxo
    Rachael

    Like

  2. eddiesandcurrents · June 27, 2013

    Oh my, I am stunned! I am so, so very sorry. How much can one human being go through in a year, 18 months? You have my prayers and support through the ether. I just can’t believe what you’ve experienced. It seems impossible. I’m sure you feel that way even more.

    Best wishes for your new enterprises, I hope that the blessing of the new grandson helps you through this really, really hard time.

    Like

  3. abd22mah22 · June 27, 2013

    Reblogged this on shafaqalam and commented:
    Navigating a new reality

    I’ve been pretty silent on the blogosphere. I’ve reblogged a few gems from some of the smart ladies that I follow, but otherwise have not had a lot to say

    Like

  4. Brice Harris · June 27, 2013

    You are absolutely a woman to look up to; as I always have anyhow. The irony of it all, I am a funeral director who has dealt with it all over past years, but I have no control over my own emotions in certain crises’; especially when they affect people I have known for years.. Sure I am strong when I have to be, but it is a strong wife who helps me hold it together. The part that pains me so much right now, is not being able to just….listen to you in person. Instead, reading your blog is akin to hearing your voice. My wife is the one who consoled me oon Skype when I expressed my frustration of Hank’s passing, the passing of Deb last July, and the trifecta: your bout with cancer….I was like Barb, “this woman always put others before herself, where is the logic behind all of this ?”….She agreed with me, and as she said, “she reminds me of myself, someone who lives for family and an appreciation for life”…However, I wish I had the powers to make your heart smile again one day; however, I am satisfied knowing that your daughters, your step-son and his wife, your mother and father, your mother-in-law and last but not least, your little grandson Fox are the candles of light that continue making you. Besides, I would not trade your uncanny ability to bust my bubble (when I least expect it) for the world; i.e., like my post of the “Men’s Rules” for openers, that I posted a year and a half ago….Please continue, as I love your wit, that has had me pegged since high school…. ; )

    Like

  5. Carolyn Mustian · June 27, 2013

    My Dear Pink Ribbon Sister,
    Please accept my condolences. I would give anything for wonderful words of comfort to ease your pain, magic words to change your new reality, but I know that no words are adequate in these ways. My heart and prayers go out to you. And just one small thing: I don’t think God thinks you are a bad ass. We just live in a broken world. It’s complicated, but I pray for you to find hope and peace and blessings in the midst of a perhaps confusing and certainly challenging time. Thank you for trusting your blogging community to share your burdens and pain.

    Like

  6. goldeygrad97 · June 27, 2013

    I am so so sorry for your loss.

    Like

  7. decisionsformyfamily · June 27, 2013

    There of course are no words. I saw your post and was excited to see you and then I read your words. My heart aches for you. My prayers are with you and your family. I have read many of your posts and I would say that you are indeed a bad ass (in the best way of course)! You have faced some very dark days and have risen above them all. I can not begin to imagine how you are feeling but know that you have touched so many of us, if nothing else I send to you positive energy and the best of wishes. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · July 1, 2013

      Congratulations on getting through the past year, yourself! It’s easy to be brave when you have no choice. Talk about bad ass!

      Like

  8. lmw · June 27, 2013

    I read through your post with tears and a heart breaking for you. Words seem to fail miserably in a time like this. Ugh…I am so very very sorry. Sending the gentlest virtual hug your way. As I navigate my own season of heartbreak and rebuilding I find myself repeating…one day at a time…it wont always be like this. Someday. xx L

    Like

  9. Susan · June 28, 2013

    So very sorry to read this Susan. I hear you about God not giving you more than you can handle. Did not lose my husband but he has been put into a nursing home at age 60. So I know. I do know. Bless you and I hope the days to come will find you able to cope with all the things you will no doubt have to contend with.

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · July 1, 2013

      In a way, you lost your husband too. I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

      Like

  10. YAPCaB · June 28, 2013

    So sorry to hear this. Your strength amazes and uplifts me.

    Like

  11. Janet · June 28, 2013

    Cancer teaches us to embrace every minute and take nothing for granted. May you always cherish your memories and feel the prayers of so many of your pink sisters. Allow your feelings to be expressed on your blog for us to laugh and cry with you.

    Like

  12. marketaz · June 28, 2013

    I “liked” but I really do not “like”. I just want to add my condolences and just to say I am so sorry.

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · July 1, 2013

      Thank you and I get it. I have “liked” many posts just to let the author know I hear them.

      Like

  13. myeyesareuphere · June 29, 2013

    Love and prayers to you. I am so sad to hear this. Xoxoxo.

    Like

  14. Planet Bananas · June 29, 2013

    I am so sorry that this happened. Sending comforting thoughts with the knowledge that sometimes comfort will be elusive. May angels watch over you.

    Like

  15. prettygirllost · June 30, 2013

    I can’t imagine how horrible all this must be. I am so sorry. Sending up a prayer for you. What an amazing lady you are.

    Like

  16. miltonia10 · June 30, 2013

    OMG – I can’t believe this. I am so very sorry for your loss. How quickly life changes … and we have absolutely no control over it. My heart goes out to you. Enough already – k? Somebody has to be listening.

    Like

  17. miltonia10 · June 30, 2013

    Reblogged this on My name is Patricia and commented:
    How much can one person’s shoulders bear?

    Like

  18. Pingback: Navigating a new reality | glimpse joy
  19. Marie Gagnon · July 1, 2013

    Susan, you can’t possibly know how much strength I get from you. That strength, from God, is what will keep us going. My deepest feelings match what you so excellently wrote. We have a common bond, both in our loss from his death, and in being a cancer survivor, 10 years, for me. With hope, the pain will be less acute some day (or will it?) with our prayers, inner strength, and ongoing great love between you and I and our wonderful families.

    Like

  20. Wife After Death · July 1, 2013

    I found your blog after you found mine. I’m so happy to have found it – it’s why I started mine to be honest, hoping to reach out to others in this situation. Your story is chilling and vaguely reminiscent of my own. I’m coming up to 17 months since my husband dropped dead aged 37. I too am dealing with it with dark humour and a keyboard. It’s impossible really, but what can you do?
    I’m with you all the way. X

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · July 1, 2013

      37. That’s insane. Dark humor definitely gets me through most things in life. I’m glad to have found your blog

      Like

  21. gozzygirl · July 1, 2013

    When I saw the e-mail that you had posted something new, I hoped it would be something funny, not bad news. I cannot imagine what you’re going through. If I lost my husband, I would be lost. I don’t know you, but your blog has inspired me. Maybe cancer does make us stronger and that strength will help you with your loss. I am so sorry that you have to deal with this too.

    Like

  22. sebaroni · July 1, 2013

    I just got notice that you found my breast cancer blog and clicked in to read yours. I was shocked to hear you have an even greater challenge ahead of you. I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. I cannot even imagine what it must have been like. Since I am new to this whole blogging world, I will keep this short and just pray God gives you need.

    Like

  23. valerianfields · July 1, 2013

    It’s been a few days since I read your post and still, I can’t figure out what to type. There are no words to make it better. I am happy, though, that you have a new grandchild to help.

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · July 1, 2013

      There really are no words. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you are doing well.

      Like

  24. hopeforheather · July 2, 2013

    WOW. Just wow.

    All the words….they are just words….”I’m so very sorry.” But I truly mean them.

    Like

  25. Tracy · July 2, 2013

    I am shocked and saddened that you have lost your husband so unexpectedly and at a time when things seemed to be returning to some kind of normality. You are in my thoughts Susan, sending you love and heartfelt condolences.

    Like

  26. breastcancerat40 · July 3, 2013

    I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you must be going through right now. I pray that your husband’s soul rest in peace, and I pray for your journey to be filled with strength and courage.

    Like

  27. Deb's Healing Support Team · July 3, 2013

    Hello my friend. Susan. I just read this. I’ve been away. Like everyone, my heart sunk to read of your loss. I will light a candle for your husband, for you and your family. Bless you all. My deepest condolences to you, and so much love, strong and precious woman. Love, Deb

    Like

  28. Scorchy · July 4, 2013

    Susan, my heart is heavy for you. There is absolutely nothing I can say. Please know that you can write to me if you need a shoulder to cry on. You have been there for me so many times; please let me be there for you now. xoxo

    Like

  29. lianne cawood · July 7, 2013

    I love to read you and I too have been absent. After celebrating 5 years, my musings also just seemed a tad ordinary. Who would want to read the rambings of the mundane of a nearly 50 year old. So, I’ve just been absent. Then I read this. I do not know you but I just felt so devastated for you at your loss. There are no words. My heart is so sore. May you continue to be so strong and real and may the pain be a little more bearable everyday.

    Like

  30. The Presents of Presence · July 8, 2013

    Oh my friend, I am so sorry. I’m here when you need any help. xo

    Like

  31. rachturner · July 8, 2013

    Oh, Susan! I am just now catching up on reading some of my blogs and saw this post from you. I can’t even tell you how sorry I am for you and your family. It certainly does not seem fair that some are “given” so much difficulty to handle in this life. It just doesn’t make sense. You are strong and you will get through this, but I know your heart is heavy with pain right now. I am praying for you and your family.

    Like

  32. Michele · July 9, 2013

    Dearest Susan, I don’t know what to say. “I’m so sorry” seems so inadequate but know that you are in my prayers. I was also a young widow; at the age of 36, my 43 year old husband died from leukemia. The difference was that he had been sick for some time, and we both knew it was coming. I have always said that a sudden, unexpected death has to be the worse, and your story reaffirms that for me. Like you, I wish God didn’t trust me so much. How is it some people just seem to get more than their fair share? I know you are a strong person, and you will get through this. The sun does come up every day, and you have that beautiful grandchild to pour your heart into. But allow yourself time to grieve, to cry. It’s ok, and it’s healthy. My heart aches for you. Please know that I am here for you on the other end of this crazy blogging world. Feel free to email me if you need to vent to someone who can relate. Peace to you. Michele

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · July 9, 2013

      Thank you for sharing your own story, Michele. I had no idea. I’m sorry for all you’ve been through.

      Like

  33. Renn · July 10, 2013

    Behind on my blog reading, this morning I caught up with yours — and am stunned to read about the sudden loss of your husband. I’m so very sorry. Words fail at times like these.

    Huge {{{hugs}}} from the blogosphere my dear.

    Like

  34. theempathyqueen · July 12, 2013

    You are a survivor and sound so brave. The fact that you can write so beautifully through trials that no one should have to endure amazes me. I do want to hear about a 50 year old woman. I want to hear about a breast cancer survivor, a grandmother, and impossibly, a widow. Obviously there are a lot of other people who support you, in spirit, as well. Sharing your stories is a blessing for both of us. I hope you have moments of peace in the midst of the unfathomable.

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · July 13, 2013

      Thank you for the kind words and for following along. I have just discovered your blog as well

      Like

  35. Aum Nicol · September 22, 2013

    I am sorry I missed this–caught up in my own angst and …now…you, you brave woman. You gave me hope when I was so alone, so hollow and my body crying. Please recieve my heart and my embrace that sends love to hold you now. Here, in my pity party today I searched you And found your life altered even more. And in your pain…you are stil mainly hopeful!! God–universe….embrace you, my dear!! Be held up by the bloggers you’ve helped. We are connected and I share your grief..while late…I am here. Love, Aum

    Like

  36. lightscanceraction · November 23, 2013

    Wednesday night my husband went to the ER. He was feeling dizzy at work, with some numbness and tingling, and a few other symptoms. The one that really hit me, though, was that he talked about being cold. I thought of your post and immediately made him go to the ER (he was about 45 minutes away). They did admit him and, after running a slew of tests, they didn’t find anything. My husband was annoyed by the whole thing, saying he shouldn’t have gone to the hospital. So right there in the hospital, I pulled up this blog on my iPhone and read it to him. He was silent for a few minutes and then said “thank you.” I believe your story may have been the scare he needed to make some serious changes to his lifestyle (diet, coffee consumption, etc.). I just wanted to thank you again for sharing the story. I know it’s painful; please know that I think of you often.

    Like

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