Losing a loved one is never a dull thing, and is especially tricky when the person you’ve lost is the one you considered to be your significant other, your other half and your lifelong partner. Being a wife who lost her husband is difficult, but today we’re sharing a story about a man who’s recently lost the only woman he’s ever loved.
Juan is a 48-year-old man, who lost his wife, Kelly to a 28-day battle with acute myeloid leukemia, which is commonly known as AML. A simple Google search told him and his three kids that his wife had a 26% chance of survival, but as things later unfolded, the odds seemed to be stacked against him. She had been in an out of the hospital for what they thought was a gallbladder problem, and was only diagnosed 28 days before her passing.
It was a heartbreaking experience, but for about two years now, they’ve been active in their Church who became their most reliable support system. He shares, “My heart is tired and broken, but I find rest in my God.”
How To Prepare
As you might have guessed, there’s no absolute way to prepare for when your wife passes. Fortunately for Juan, however, he had the chance to converse with Kelly weeks before her passing, the period before she had feeding tubes that made her unable to speak. He says, “She already knew a long time ago that I would outlive her, even before she got sick.
“Understand that grief comes in waves. It is natural to feel numb at times and “normal” at others. You might continue to grieve for months or years. It is okay.” –Ashley Curiel, PsyD
It was the hardest time in our lives, but my children and I got to be by her side when she took her last breath, and we found peace in that.” If you share the same situation, do your best to converse with your ailing wife as to what she would like to happen in the coming days, when it comes to medication, treatment, who she’d like to speak to and anything under the sun.
What Will Change
The most significant change that your lives will see is that your children will no longer have a living person to identify as their mother. They will lose the person who plays the warm, accommodating and caring mother who loved them more than anyone could, even before they were born. That’s the hardest thought you’ll have to live with, but as a father, you’ll do your best to be that person for them. Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD once said, “The closer your connection and the more intense the loss, the more profound the emptiness may feel.” But you got to be strong.
Another thing is that from having a partner who you can laugh with, sleep with, split your parental duties with, you’ll find yourself having to do these things alone for a while. John shares, “I couldn’t sleep in our room anymore, knowing that she wasn’t going to be beside me in the same way.” He became the closest he’s ever been to his children. They sleep together, talk more often, and worship their God more meaningfully now.
How To Cope
The process directly after your wife’s passing is a lot of work and could be a significant stressor on top of your emotional distress. Find someone in your family you can rely on, or the closest friend you have, who can take away the burden of you. It’ll help you knowing someone can take care of administrative concerns while you ensure the wellbeing of your family.
Find a support group who will be there for you in the most genuine of ways, from the beginning and throughout your lives. There are people everywhere who would love to share their story. For John and his family, their Christian beliefs have kept their souls and hearts strong throughout everything.
Lastly, never blame yourself. “Sometimes people seem to deny, to be in a daze, but these are all coping mechanisms.” Curt Drennen, PsyD, RN said. To John, you did everything you could have done, and never gave up on her once. Things happened as they did, but you can instead focus on the fact that you gave her the best life she could have while she was alive. You gave her the gift of your three children and the joy that came with them. She’s happier now, and will always be in your heart.