Fri 12 Feb, 2016 09:43 pm
Hello, my name is Doug, I live in San Diego, CA, and my amazing beautiful loving caring Wife Leslie passed away on November 17, 2015 of cardiac arrest. I am 40, she had just turned 50 (plus 13 days) so she was my "Cougar," although, she preferred "Puma," lol. We met March 15, 2003 when we were matched up by mutual friends, and I can honestly say with 100% certainty that, that was the day my life changed for the better, to this day. She had been married twice before, her 1st was physically and emotionally abusive, her second was a con artist, so she always said that "3rd time was the charm." I was married once before in my early 20's, but it was only for 1 yr 3 days, as that relationship was built on partying and partying only. About halfway thru our marriage, we had multiple things go wrong, signs if you will, that we needed to stop the lifestyle and we both got sober, then realized that we really didn't know each other, since we never really cared about anything, except where to get high or drunk. Once we realized this, we decided to get a divorce (Amicably) and I only wish her the best, but we never did stay in contact, except for maybe 6-8 months afterwards, just to check on each others sobriety.
So, with that said, Leslie and were in no hurry to get married, but we had an immediate spark the minute we laid eyes on each other. Our lives were meant to cross paths, and I and her truly believed that. We finally decided after 7 years, to go ahead and get married, because we both knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, and we were literally the best of friends and were the happiest when we were together. We got married in Vegas October 10, 2010, or 10-10-10, AKA (XXX in roman numerals) so we had just had our 5th wedding anniversary when she passed away.
Now, the back story on her health, will explain a lot, yet I was so naive and/or in denial that nothing would ever happen, so I never envisioned a future without her! She was born with 3 holes in her heart, she had 3 open heart surgeries before the age of 7, and had been on heart medications her entire life, yet, she was so strong that nobody outside of our close circle of friends or family knew the truth.She never wanted anyone to worry about her. She was the most selfless person I have ever met. Even though she had these issues, it never deterred her from caring about everyone else, especially me, before herself. She would go out of her way to make sure that everyone around her always had a smile on their face, or if they didn't, she would ask what was wrong and always try to be comforting to whoever it may be at the time. We only had 2 "fights" in almost 13 years, and it was over such trivial stuff, that we realized it very quickly,and moved past whatever it was at the time. We really were happy with each other all the time, and she taught me what "True Love," really is!
I am the assistant coach for a big local university (Not this semester as I work thru this) and I only bring this up because I was required to receive CPR/First Aid/AED in order to be on the coaching staff, and it came in handy the morning of November 17, 2015. We worked different schedules, I got up at 5:30am every day, and she didn't have to get up until 8:30am for her job, so we had our normal morning routines, which I will explain here shortly. That morning, I got up just like every other day, and had my morning ritual of reading the news on my phone while I did my thing in the bathroom. Well, when I returned to the home screen, I noticed that it was 30 degrees outside, which is NOT normal at all for southern Calif, especially where we live, so,I took a screenshot at 6:01am (Which I never do) and before getting in the shower, I went into the bedroom and put an extra blanket on her, just in case she was cold. Well, as I placed the blanket on her, she grabbed my arm (she was a very light sleeper) and said, "thank you honey." I did not respond, cuz I wanted her to be able to go back to sleep and I wasn't trying to wake her. So, then I went in and shaved, showered, and got ready for work, just like every other day. Then, right before I left, I got my lunch out of the fridge and put it by the door, and headed back to bedroom to kiss her goodbye and tell her to have a great day, and that I loved her. Again, this was our daily routine. Except, this time when I put my hand on her shoulder, she did not move, so I shook her a little bit, and said honey I'm getting ready to go, just wanted to say goodbye, and then I shook her again, much harder this time, and still nothing, that's when I finally realized that something was not right and even said, "Honey, you're scaring me, come on wake up Babe!" That's when I flipped on the light and saw that her lips were blue and that she wasn't breathing, so I immediately called 911 (at 6:57am) and started CPR on her, and everything becomes fairly blurry at that point. I just remember crying out, no Babe, come on, come back to me, please don't leave me, FIGHT, STAY AWAY FROM THE LIGHT!!! The 911 operator had me go and unlock the front door, and as I did, I have no idea why, but my bluetooth was right next to my wallet, so I grabbed it and put it on, because I was having a hard timing holding the phone with my shoulder and doing chest compression's on the love of my life. It was like I was on auto pilot. Then before I knew it, there was an army of paramedics and firemen that appeared and took over for me, and I can honestly say they did EVERYTHING they could do to save her life, but I knew that after 10 mins, it's not good. This is when I was absolutely started losing it, asking God to please not take her, I can't live without her, She was/is my world, please, why is this happening?!? She was ok, just less than an hour ago, WHY?!?! I called my Dad, and I don't even remember what I said, but he said that he could barely understand me, but wanted to know where they were taking her, so I told him, and he said he'll be there as fast as he could (He lives about an hour away) and we hung up. I went to the hospital and was alone, besides all the Doctors/nurses, etc that were doing everything they could possibly do to bring her back, but each minute that passed, I knew in my heart, I had already lost her, but would not give up! I kept talking to her, telling her please don't go, I don't want to live without you,as I kept my hands on her legs, except when they shocked her, and after almost an hour, the Dr. looked at me, and said, "I'm sorry, but she's gone, we tried everything." And then looked at the clock and pronounced her dead at 7:54am. I went completely numb, and fell onto crying uncontrollably, trying to grasp what the hell just happened and they left me alone with her, and my Dad and stepmom still hadn't shown up yet, or her older brother, so I was still alone with her, and time just stood still, I could not comprehend what was going on! I could not formulate my thoughts, I was literally just numb!
I am able to recall that morning so vividly, because I have not had a good night of sleep since then, because when I close my eyes, that whole morning keeps replaying over and over in my head, and I always question what I didn't do, or what more could I have done. I have since come to the realization that I did everything that I could, as did the paramedics and doctors, but that was only after seeking professional help. I have been seeing a grief counselor thru my work's EAP and it has helped, but this whole experience has brought me to my knees. I am a shell of who I once was. I had an identity before that day, as a loving and caring husband, and now, in the blink of an eye, I'm now a widower. We did not have kids, although we had gotten pregnant 3 times, and each time, her body rejected the baby, which in hindsight was probably best, but it destroyed her emotionally cuz we both wanted kids. But, the strain of carrying a baby to term, would have been too much of a strain on her heart, and it had to have been her body doing what was necessary for her to survive and live longer. I say that because the day of her services,her Mother told me that, after her 3rd surgery as an adolescent, she would be lucky to live to the age of 30. Her and I met when she was 37, and I NEVER knew this, but, it would not have changed anything, cuz I loved and will ALWAYS love her. She was the strong one in the relationship, I'm ok with that, I have always worn my emotions on my sleeve, and have literally cried everyday since this all happened. She was able to hold things in, I was not, and still can't.
Well, sorry for the long introduction, but once I started typing, my fingers just took over.
I am looking for people that are currently experiencing what I am feeling to talk through this,cuz all our friends and family mean well, and try to say the right things, but, unless they've lost their spouse, they have no way of knowing what we're feeling or even what to say. That is why I am here. If you've read this far, thank you, and please help me get thru this, and I will do my best to help whoever I can, by just being there for you, and I ask the same.
My heart goes out to you, I am so sorry for your loss. I haven't experienced the pain you're going through, nonetheless I can emphasize, and feel your loss. You're post is long, yes, but very well written and if it helps you in any way, please continue writing.
@CalamityJane Thank you! Yes, it helps immensely to get my thoughts out, whether it be typed, or written, as I've kept a journal at my counselor's urging as well. I tend to write novels when I get started, so thank you for reading it all the way through.
Hang in there Doug. I've read your post all the way through and it's served as a reminder that there are people who are facing *real* losses out there.
This might not sound like supportive words but it's 4 years back that we've experienced the closest loss of loved ones -- it was of a brutality that makes one realize how fragile the odds, and yet how lucky human life is to even exist -- in dealing with that I hung on to this thought: "we're not the first, we're not the last to go through this. we're special to each other, but there's nothing 'special' about us. life itself is fighting the odds too, and it does what it must, when it must, for as long as it can."
Hang in there, and aim to get back on your feet.
Thank you for sharing that Doug.
I don't think there is a right thing to say when someone you love dies. Maybe somewhat better and somewhat less awful?
Your loss is very recent. I'm amazed by your ability to express the details so well. It must be difficult to have it remain so fresh.
The only thing I know, on the less awful side, is that the good and positive memories do help - once you're able to focus on them.
Courage to you, Doug. You can honestly say you did everything possible for Leslie.
We're here to listen, and to say what are probably awkward things.