Sunday, January 27, 2008

Can you help me?

As I mentioned, I get letters all the time from widows/widowers and I was talking to Robin, the widow who wrote this letter, and I asked her if I could share it with you and she agreed. I’d like you to let her know that she’s not alone. Can we reach out to her please? Here’s her letter:

Bum – isn’t that a funny name? My grandsons named Jon that and he wore it so proudly. He always said that if he was in a crowd and heard the name Bum, he would know it was him they were looking for.

December 20th – like every other morning, Jon took his shower and got ready for work. This morning was different – he came to me with the usual kiss goodbye and said, “You know what? I am going to play hooky today and stay home and help you wrap Christmas gifts.” Wow – that was not usual for him – he never stayed home.

We spent the day at home – wrapping gifts and him working on the computer. In the afternoon my grandmother called from California and since he was home, he got to be a part of the conversation. Then it was close to dinner and he called his mother to go for a ride to pick up subs. They had a nice chat.

He came home, we ate dinner and at 8 the grandsons, ages 5 and 3, call to say goodnight. Well, Bum decided to call them a little early – around 7:30. He first spoke with Brandyn, I hate to admit – but he is our favorite. Jon said, “Goodnight B, I love you.” Then we waited for Kameryn to get on the phone. He’s just 3.

Jon was sitting on the couch with his laptop on his lap and I was about 5 feet away on the recliner with my laptop on my lap.

Suddenly I heard a weird gasping sound and looked at him. His head was back.

He was gasping. I figured he just had a cramp in his back or something. It’s happened before. I said, “Jon, what are you doing?” He didn’t answer. I jumped up and ran to him. I grabbed the phone and tried to get Kameryn off the phone so I could call 911. Kameryn thought we were playing with him and he kept laughing. (That still haunts me.) After a lot of screaming – I just hung up hoping the line would disconnect.

I laid my hand on Jon’s chest and told him he would be alright – that I was there. I looked in his eyes and saw his pupils blow. I knew it was bad. I felt for a pulse; there was none.

I checked the phone and I was now able to dial 911. I told them my address and that I needed an ambulance right away. The lady just kept saying, “Calm down so I can help you.” I just wanted a darn ambulance! Stop telling me to calm down. We live a half hour from town and there is no time for you to keep talking – get to an ambulance.

I ran to unlock the door and ran back to pull my husband off the couch. He is a big man – well over 250 pounds and I am disabled so I had to do a lot of pulling and tugging. I finally got him on the floor and started CPR. I didn’t know the numbers and asked the lady and she told me 30 and 2. So I started. You never know how hard doing CPR is when you have to do it to your own husband and you are screaming, crying, trying to reassure him and making sure you tell him you love him.

I knew he was gone. At the hospital they said what happened to him was the same thing that happened to the young athletes on the field. Nothing could have saved him. He died immediately. He was only 51.

I am devastated. I am alone. We were not from here so I have no friends – not one! There is no bereavement group in the area – no help. I never knew that sad could be so painful. I feel everyday like I am in a haze – my world is over.

Can we help Robin?


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I too lost my husband (he was 58) totally unexpectedly. It was awful and I know the feeling of being alone.

May I ask what community or area you are in? If you prefer not to say I understand.

A few suggestions, call the local hospital and find out if they have a widow/widower group. I found one near me and it was a life saver, literally.

If they don't have one ask if the can recommend places for you to contact.

In addition, if you have a family doctor you can also contact that person for information on support groups and resources in your area.

Don't be afraid to reach out and let people know you're lonely, need company, whatever. While people don't always think to ask you themselves, mostly just becuase it doesn't occur to them, I found that when I reached out to friends and family they were very wiling to reach back.

If you friends and family are not nearby ask them to check in on you by calling. I had many people who would call me weekly, some daily and it made an enormous difference.

Do you attend a church or synagouge? They can also be places of enormous consolation and help and may also have groups. I have a friend who actually started a group in her church and in that way helped herself and others.

Please know that you are not alone, and you will survive. I know it's terribly hard to believe, but it's true. Be good to yourself and I hope you find some solace and comfort

Anonymous said...

I hope Robin reads this:

Robin, in 2004, I lost my fiancée much the same way. He was older than I, in fact it was a 40 year age gap, but I never cared. I was 22 when I met him and almost 32 when I lost him. He passed on Nov 7, 2004.

He had been sick, not feeling well for a few days and I had called him Saturday asking if he needed anything. He said no, still thinking it a virus of some sort and didn't want me to catch it.... he called me Sunday morning asking me to take him to the hospital. I dressed quickly and sped over to his apartment (about 15 min away from me.) It still haunts me to this day why I didn't just call 9-1-1 or why didn't he call them first.

When I came in, I called his name, and turned the corner into a nightmare. He was lying face-down on the bedroom floor. I grabbed the phone, calling 9-1-1 even as I turned him over, begging, crying, and trying to perform CPR.

I wish I had words to make it better but I don't. I was devastated to lose him. He was an amazing man, and such a huge part of my life. His love made me the person I am today.

I will tell you, time heals, but not overnight.

I started dating again towards the end of 2005 and met a man in January of 2007. i prayed that new Year's as the clock turned 12 and 2006 turned to 2007. I prayed to God and to Alan, saying how much i missed him and I knew he didn't want me to be alone, but that no one even came close.....and I wished God would send me someone that I could love again and that could love me.

And then I met Ron on mine and Alan's anniversary. And I knew this may be the start of something special....and it was. This past Christmas Ron proposed.

Robin, I wish i could give you a big hug and be your shoulder to cry on. One thing I will suggest to you, try a local church. Many have widow/widower groups and it DOES help, especially if you do not have family around.

Good luck and May God bless you and keep you in this difficult time.

God Bless!


Anonymous said...

Hi Robin,

This is the first time I have commented on a blog so here goes. I lost my husband much the same way. He was only 53. Our son had just started his senior year of high school. That was over a year ago. This past Fall, our son started college so for the first time in 48 years, I am alone.

Fortunately for me, I have alot of wonderful friends and family close by. I don't know what I would do without them.

The only suggestion that I have is to try and stay positive and busy. I feel I am one of the lucky ones because I had 22 wonderful years with a wonderful husband. Some people will never know what that is like. I have gone back to work full time and am getting involved in volunteering.

Take care. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


Anonymous said...

Hello there I am 32 and a mother of 3 I also lost my husband who was only 27 on 4/10/2005 while pregnant with our third child. He passed very suddenly and we had to wait for the autopsy result to finally find out that his heart was in need of a transplant and that he had a massive heart attack.
I don't remember anything about that first year except the birth of our little girl so the haze your talking of is completly normal and will eventually pass. I also live in a small town so I would have had to travel quite a ways to attend a group and with a new baby it just wasn't possible. I finally found and this site of course and am not sure I would have made it through without them. Feel better.

Anonymous said...


These women all have great suggestions - there are people out there who care for you and want to help you - reach out to them and let them be there for you. I understand that you feel alone in your physical area, but the first poster had some smart ideas about taking steps to find others like yourself.

That said, I went to a support group only 3 months after my husband died and it was too early for me. The others in the group had been widowed for at least a year and I wasn't in the same place they were at all. They were very sweet and supportive, but maybe my pain was too raw right then to be able to fully appreciate the group. I read a lot of books on being a widow - almost every book out there. I read them immediately and one after the other, and most of it went in one ear and out the other. But it was something to do and parts did stick in my memory, there are things that come up occasionally that I remember reading about and I realize that I'm not the only person to feel that way.

I remember one book, "Widow to Widow," and the author wrote something like: "one day you will get ready for bed and realize you haven't thought about him that day." I remember calling my friend and reading that to her and crying "That will never happen. Ever." But you know what? It does. Not that you don't think about him at all, I think about him every day, see his pictures around the house, of course think about him. But not in the same way that you do in the beginning, not with tears and pain and despair. For me those feelings eventually did subside. I understand that at this tragic time you think they probably never will. But I hope they do, I hope you reach out to friends and family and read books and websites and find others who share your experiences to commiserate with. And I hope that some night you too will go to sleep and realize that the day passed without the painful thoughts of your husband, only the good thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Robin, please know that it does get better. You never get over it, but you get through it. The loss is totally overwhelming and numbing for the first year. My husband died 21 months ago and I still feel the loss every day. Try searching on to look for widow support groups. I did, and found a FANTASTIC group of friends who could support me when I needed it and make me laugh, too. Take for yourself and feel the grief, then take every dayas it comes, an hour at a time. Sometimes that's the only way you can get through it.

Nanram79 said...

I was married in March 07 to loose my husband to cancer in July 07. Though I only knew Joe for 3 years, I am luckier than most.
I read your story and just want you to know that you are in my prayers. It's been 7 months for me and I have a moment every day. Sometimes I cry out loud and others I have a tear. I have many fond memories as you do as well. We don't have a choice but to cherish those memories with everyone that will listen to us. I agree with the others that you should reach out to your church. Also, the hospice centers around you would be more than happy to help you with your healing with the groups they offer.
Loss has been our journey, I lost a very close friend 3 years ago to an epileptic seisure, and another one 5 years ago to a murder, never got to say goodbye. I don't think I grieved with those losses and when Joe passed I grieved enough for all those that passed. I sware, it was so sad and tragic, but I know God has put these people in my life for a purpose. I've learned, as you will the why's?
Lisa teaches us that time doesn't heal us, just helps us cope.
I believe I was Joe's angel to take care of him in death. To be there when he took his last breath, just like you were.
I will keep warm thoughts and I am here if you want to talk.
Blessings. Nancy

Sue said...

I also lost my husband, Al, Christmas morning 2005, much the same way, a massive heart attack. I tried CPR to no avail as well. They did take him to the hospital so that the coroner would not have to come out to our home on Christmas morning. AS we were leaving to go to the hospital, my neighbors were praying that he would be alright..ironic really.
The pain does lessen with time, no one has a timetable that fits every single person for grieving. You must do it in your own way. Stay busy, but let your emotions go when they'll be better for it..and most of all take a little time for yourself, even if it's only five minutes.

Fewks said...

Robin, Everyone gave you great suggestions and I feel I can only add what I did to get me through after losing my husband of only 2 months. I read a lot of spiritual books and listened to tapes and watched comedies. That said, I still cry for him but know that I'm where I'm supposed to be and we are all one in spirit. I wish you healing of your spirit self! Love, Patricia

Melissa said...

I lost my husband suddenly in 2005 while we were working in the yard together. I was 37 yrs old at the time and had a 7, 11, 15 and 17 yr old child living at home. It is numbing at first as it needs to be. Work mechanically thorough it and as time passes you will start to feel again, a bit at a time. This is how the plan of grief works. Please know you are not alone even though you may be in a small town. We are all here with you every hour of every day.
Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

We can help you get through a day, perhaps, but it is you that will have to be strong enough to make it.
My husband died the way yours did, one morning just after we awoke and were just lying in bed. He was the love of my life, my children's father and I knew I would be with him for the rest of my life. I wanted to die many times, but, of course, my children need me.
It's been almost 2 years and although nothing will ever fill the void and repair the hole in my very being, I have felt alive again. I tried antidepressants, I did drink too much for a while, but sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to just get through the day.
Now I find my husband lives inside of me. It's hard to describe, but he seems always there, really inside me. I am dating, although it is very hard, but it helps. I have financial problems, I live in a very rural area so I cannot get out much, I have to work full time just to survive, I have 3 stepchildren that have made our lives hell and I still don't have all those legal issues resolved. If I dwell on these things, I go down fast! I am a very black and white type person so I see it as having two choices, live or die and, unfortunately, only you can make that decision. Life does go on, and I am living proof of that. Hang in there.

Robin said...

I just got home after a 2 week stay at an Adult Crisis Unit. I am ashamed to say that I am not doing this grieving thing very well.

I miss him so and am feeling so alone. I have done a massive search for a bereavement group adn there are none to be had. Believe me - I searched everywhere.

Thank you so much to everyone that has said prayers and such kind words to me. You are all more than welcome to e-mail me at

I am sad to admit that I do not have the family and friends we are supposed to look to for support. Jon was my friend and I always felt he was enough.

Anonymous said...

hi. I to lost my husband on aug 9 07 we were out of town visiting my mom. when he went out to her garage to help change her breaks. about 15mins went by and I heard my stepdad screaming when i got to them my loving husband for over 30 yrs was lying there in the floor lifeless we called 911 i started cpr try to tell him to hang on but i they put him in the ambulance my heart told me he was gone. I was told it was his heart he had seen his doctor the day we left home 2 days earlier. i never got to say anything else to him or tell him i loved him [we married when i was 15 he had always been the love of my life]. he was only 49 You know that mourning i slept in i never miss our coffee til then he spent the mourning telling my family how great our church was and his lord and how happy he was that we found a church to call home with a great new faily in it.I dont think i would have made it thur the next week or months after with out them.I just cant seem to find a way to go on or find joy without himI just feel so cheated sometimes. but i try to remember gods plans our better than any we can make. there was over 400 people showed up for his wake and services which we live in small country area [ about 500 to 600 max]everyone loved him. so now all i have is a great memory of our love which people tell me that they always seen in us. but at 46 ive never been alone and didnt dream that i would be. I was very lucky to have him and all our friends. I just need to find a place to start. I have 2 grown boys a 11yr old girl and 3 grandkids, plus raising a 16 yr old niece I got to pull my self together. anyone with ideas Please help

Robin said...

I am sad today. I miss my Jon.

I am looking for a way to answer, "How are you?"

People ask and I can not say, "Fine". I usually seem rude because I say, "I no longer answer that question."

An honest answer would be, "Sad and lonely" but do they want honesty?

Another thing that bothers me is when people ask, "Is is getting better?" or "Is is easier?"

It is never better and it will never be easy.

Just because I am not crying 24/7 does not mean that I am not in tears, inside!

Anonymous said...

Laura - 38 Gary- 55

Robin I know what you mean I just lost my husband Gary on the 9th of this month. We were starting to get ready for winter and then my husband Gary wanted to go to the store and out to launch and after launch we got back into the car and pulled out of the parking place, we made it about 4 parking spots from where we was. He had pooled over and stoped. then the car started rolling again so i said to Gary that we was rolling then i looked over and his head was back. Befor i know it we had crashed into a parked car and it ran into another car. I grabed the gear shift and put it into park. Then i jumped out of the car and went over to the drivers side and started CPR. There was some laidies that saw what was going on and called 911. I had him breathing when the police showed up but when they pooled him out of the car he had stoped. They would not let me go in the amb. with him because of the crash. about 30 min. latter they told me that he had passed. I thaght that me taking the news and telling my 2 sons Raymond- 16 and Boby- 9 that there daddy was gone was the werst
part but then when i got into bed i could not sleep, so i got up and grabed his robe and hugged it untill i went to sleep. I still have to have his robe to sleep.

I am wandering when dose it get easer.

If you need a freind to talk to my e-mail is