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This can’t be real

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Home Forums Loss of a loved one This can’t be real

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  • #29318

    Hi everyone,
    I came on this forum a while ago when my mum passed away 18 months ago,
    I’m back here again as my husband of 36 years passed away a bit over two weeks ago on the 25th of March 2024.
    This funeral was on the 4th of April.
    I had been his carer for the last 17 years, he had multiple lung illnesses and was on oxygen 24/7
    This whole thing doesn’t feel real.
    I organised the whole funeral, made the slideshow, picked the songs.
    Went to the funeral, sat through the service which was incredibly difficult, watched my 4 sons carry their father’s coffin along with two Nephews and my sons mate.
    Watched my husbands coffin go into the ground BUT yet none of this feels real.
    I keep thinking it’s some kind of nightmare that I’ll wake up from.
    Like he just can’t be gone.
    These last few years as my husbands health declined he wanted it over, he had enough.
    He also became some what angry due to his suffering, and due to the lack of oxygen it affected his memory.
    I’m not thinking of any of the bad as I prefer to think of the good, there was a lot of good.
    His health declined and I was completely burnt out so he ended up in hospital and from there a nursing home.
    He was only in the nursing home about 6 weeks not even when he ended up back in hospital, a long story.
    According to the death certificate it says pneumonia, he did have fluid in the lungs and was on IV antibiotics but over the years me and our boys had seen him a lot sicker and many close calls where he nearly died many times.
    But he always bounced back, not once in all these years when he was in hospital did I think he wouldn’t come back home, except this time, I just knew it, I knew he had enough.
    After about a week or more in hospital he was talking to a nurse who was giving him antibiotics and something for fluid as he was retaining fluid.
    He said to her he had had enough, she said to me, my son and my husband that he doesn’t have to do this, that he can go end of life care.
    He kept saying he didn’t want to do this to me and the boys so we told him this is about what he wants.
    They took him off all his medications, he was on a stack of meds, they lowered his oxygen just a bit.
    He had started end of life care.
    Me and our 4 adult sons, ages 37, 34, 31 and 30, went and visited him everyday, staying for hours and hours.
    He could talk the whole time and we even had some laughs, he was not out of it until the last day where he felt agitated and hot and itchy from the morphine.
    Me and my eldest son wiped him with damp cloths and I sat there holding his hand as he fought to sleep and kept waking up.
    I told him think of the good times, think of his sons being born and the happy years.
    He fell asleep the most he had slept for the last 4 days.
    The thing that stunned us all was that he kept telling everyone that he would be gone on Monday, that Monday was the day, we just thought wish full thinking, we thought it would drag on.
    Monday it was, I sat with him all day I was exhausted and told my son I need to go home, if I was to come in here everyday I need some rest as I could barely stand.
    He was comfortable sleeping.
    I got home and about an hour later I got the call that my husband had passed away,
    I remember even swearing and then apologising to the nurse and I kept saying I shouldn’t have left but apparently from what all the nurses said that it’s very common for them to wait until you leave the room.
    Me and my sons all went back after he passed away and sat with him for awhile.
    I just couldn’t bring myself to leave, I was there for 3 hours and I told the nurse I can’t leave, she said that’s common too and that I could stay for as long as I needed but I knew if I didn’t go I’d still be there the next day, so we left.
    We went through all this and still it doesn’t feel real.
    I cry every morning and my mind some how gives me a break for part of the day then I cry every late afternoon and night.
    My boys have been helpful in the way of physical help, they set up for the wake cleaned the yard brought food BUT they don’t talk about it, they all seem emotionally unavailable, no one’s spoken about it.
    I know they are heartbroken and dealing with it in their own way but I need someone to talk to.
    I have no friends, no ones called me through all this except one sister once.
    My other sister hasn’t spoken to me since mum passed away.
    She sent flowers and honestly I didn’t understand why because she didn’t even call me and all I got was a message that she won’t be coming to the funeral.
    My husband and I became dependant on each other over the years, we did everything together and even though he was in a nursing home for just 6 short weeks he always said ring me if you need as I suffer panic attacks that are worse when I am alone.
    Now I don’t know who to call.
    What do you do when you lose someone that was not only your partner but you depended on them?
    My husband was only in end of life care for 4 days and while I am relieved that he did not suffer I also feel it wasn’t enough time.
    I kept telling the kids that this was so much harder than when I lost my mum, she too stopped treatment and only lasted 4 days, she had kidney failure.
    My mum was my go to person I told her everything, I also supported her and helped her and organised her funeral by myself as well, my heart still breaks for my mum she was 79, my husband was only 63.
    I wish my mum was still here as I know she would have been here and helped me. Losing here was and still is heartbreaking and when you think it can’t get any worse and you can’t feel any worse, well it can and it does.
    My husbands oxygen bottles are still here and his oxygen machine, we rented them and I just can’t bring myself to call the company to come pick them up, I’ll have to pay more rental on them but I just don’t know how to watch some company come take these things away.
    I’ve some how managed to make most of the calls to place that you have to deal with when someone passes away, I still have a few calls to make but they can wait.
    I lost my dad 11 years ago, then my mum and now my husband
    To many losses
    Sorry this is a long message, I just don’t have anyone to talk to.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #29344

    Hi @shaz

    I just want to begin by highlighting your courage in reengaging with the online forums here at Griefline, and to express my condolences for your loss. The shock of loss can feel like no other. The strength of you to work so tirelessly as his carer and rock is beautiful to read about. The time you spent all together as a family in the toughest of times is a testament to the power of all your love and dedication to those you care about.

    Often in grief, it can feel unreal and confusing as you yearn for times when the grief doesn’t exist. I’d like to let you know that conflicting and/or unexpected emotions and thoughts you feel in this journey are natural. Everyone grieves differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Although unique to your experience of reaching out for support, your sons just may require some more time to digest what has happened. When you and they are ready, perhaps you could work toward commemorating his memory as a unit.

    In my own experience, losing someone after illness is strange as although you ‘see it coming’, it seems to break your heart 100x more than an unexpected grief event. The way I like to look at it is that my grief (at the time) was love with nowhere to go. I was so so lucky to know and love that person, and now with time passing I have come to acknowledge what has happened, and am able to always keep them in my mind and heart.

    In terms of support, we are here for you! Our lovely volunteers are always welcoming to people wanting to chat about what’s gone on in their lives. It can be really beneficial to chat with people who have a keen, and kind shoulder to lean on. We also have a variety of online resources which may help you feel some clarity in regards to the emotions you are experiencing. I would encourage you to be patient and kind to yourself at this time. Keep the oxygen bottles and anything else as long as you need – there is no correct timeline for when to keep or dispose of items that remind us of those lost. Engage in some self-care where you can, perhaps by writing to him in a diary, or going for a walk outside in the sunshine.

    Take care, and know that you are not alone. All the best to you, and I will look forward to chatting with you again pending your reply to this post.


    Hi shaz,
    Sometimes, when we experience big, life-changing events that are too much for us to deal with, our brains kick in with a defence mechanism. This defence mechanism is that feeling you’ve described. Nothing feels real. It’s a survival tactic known as disassociation. And it’s entirely normal. Your husband died less than a month ago, the person you both cared for and depended upon for care. Nothing is going to feel the same again. But you need to give yourself time. It’s excellent that you’ve come here to share how you’re feeling. I’d like to suggest you have a look at a couple of resources on our website. These are:

    Experiences of Grief


    A gentle guide to self-care after loss: The E.A.S.T. approach

    The E.A.S.T method is particularly important at this time. Eating, continuing Activities that used to bring you peace and comfort, Sleeping regularly and Time with others, will help you to ease the burden of emotion you are currently experiencing. There is also the Helpline, which I encourage you to call, on 1300 845 745 anytime between 8 am and 8 pm AEST. We are here to listen and to support you through this difficult time.


    Hello @shaz, I am deeply sorry to hear about the passing of your husband. Your husband sounded like an amazing man, I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I also want to acknowledge what an amazing job you did as your husband’s carer. As mentioned by @VM-Apples23, during grief, it can feel unreal and confusing as you wish for times when you weren’t grieving. As mentioned by @VM-Tzimisce, it’s important to give yourself time to grieve and to be kind to yourself during this extremely difficult period. Perhaps you could create a photo album that includes beautiful memories of your time together, or you could try writing out your thoughts. These are both therapeutic practices that allow you to connect with your emotions and express your feelings. You can request a callback from Griefline at a time that suits you. You can also continue to connect with others by using the Griefline forum. It’s so important during this incredibly difficult time to connect with others who are going through grief and loss. You’ve taken a courageous first step by reaching out to Griefline. We’re here to listen and support you.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
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