Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: birmingham, alabama
Re: Loss my husband of 16 years
as I read thru your story I am amazed at the similiarities between us. My heart feels for you as I understand how lonely it can be once the cards and calls have stopped. People do go back to their lives, partly because it is simply easier than trying to think of something else to say. Being in the limbo of grief and anger is a difficult place; I don't think I could have imagined it, had I not been there to.
I was married for twelve years, the last five of which were spent probably very much like yours were. Like you, I was at the place of recognizing I could not save him....no matter how much I wanted to. He had asked me in late May if I still loved him, after thinking of how I would answer his question without being as hurtful as he had been to us, all I could do was turn away. Love? No, what I felt for him was not love. Our daughter was eight, old enough to know his behavior was not "like the other daddies". It had gotten much more difficult to make excuses for him and her little heart was beginning to know he somehow placed his friends, his highs, before her. And so probably just like you did, I made the decision to make him leave; for neither of us, it was worth having him at home. We were going to the beach at the end of July, there would be no need for him to unpack.
It was the Fourth of July. I received one of those calls asking me to go to the ER, they weren't sure what had happened to him. You probably had the same feeling I did, even before seeing the chaplain waiting at the ER door. He was on Life Support.
I never found out exactly what happened but from the autopsy report and the paramedic report(s), this is what I know. Paramedics arrived to find him in the floor sometime after midnight. His face blue, his skin clammy and his tongue bitten into following symptoms of a seizure, he had no heartbeat. Paramedics note "homeowner states Mr. /// had been down for 45 minutes ?" Something about the ? at the end pretty much said it all. The defribillator was used three times, a faint pulse; transported to the ER. Finding his insurance card, along with his ID, ER staff restarted his heart, his pupils remained fixed and non reactive. His BP 25/17.
None of his "so called" friends who seemed to fill the ER would tell me what happened. I don't guess they had to.
From the autopsy report his blood showed lethal levels of Methadone; I'm not sure where he got it from...unless it happened to be from the homeowner.....a Methadone clinic patient who only that week had tested clean.....instead of having to take his Methadone onsite, they allowed him to take it home. And so on the Fourth of July, perhaps a Methadone fireworks party........he suffered a Grand Mal Seizure following a Methadone overdose. While the homeowner and whoever else was there that night got rid of the drugs in the house and the MJ growing in the back room, someone called 911 some 45 minutes later (or ? later)...only then, it was too late. I had to make the same decision as you, life support was disconnected and he died July 4, 1995. Amid the whispers, they all went home, not a one of them bothering to say they were sorry.
It took me many years to get past the what if's and the guilt I felt I was supposed to feel. Surely I could have done something differently, even if it were to give him one more chance.....I had been too hard, too cold, should have answered his question differently......it had to be my fault.
Years of silent grief, I mean how do you tell people your husband died because he made a selfish and stupid mistake by chosing drugs over his daughter. No one would understand anyway......so as you are asking yourself this same question, know that I understand. And there is really nothing that can be said anyway.
It wasn't my fault. There was nothing else I could have done. Yes, I know about addiction ......but he made the initial choice to take drugs......his fault, not mine. And if this is your husband's story, not yours.
My daughter will be married in December; he won't be there. His choice. So to answer this part, your daughter, like mine, will be fine; please consider counselling as even the best of mothers cannot answer questions like these. My daughter was angry; I did not want this to be her only memory of her Dad. You too, will not want your daughter to only remember the ending.
I have done, and will do, the best that I can to help my daughter remember how her dad was before drugs. He was a funny guy, heart of gold, first in line to be there for his friends.....even this same homeowner who a year before wanted to kill himself when he went thru a divorce. And I did still love him in some strange and distorted way.
I have forgiven my husband, but most importantly, I have forgiven myself for making the choice to leave.....I did the right thing......I could not save him, I saved my daughter, I saved myself.
And so I understand where you are now. To say it will get better or that your husband is in a better place, no, I'm not going to do that, but I will say You are a strong woman, you saved your child, you saved yourself. You will get thru this and you will be okay..............only not now. Now and no matter who you felt about him, you must grieve, you must say goodbye. Do this in your own way, not how people will tell you to do it. The most important gift you can give yourself, is the return of your heart. For me, that place is a in a box on a shelf, beside the one I had when I met him and before the one he gave me when he died.
PM me if you need to talk, I remember what it was like. And I am there with you.