Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

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I am writing this blog to share my experience of becoming a widow with two young daughters at age 45 and how I handled my world crashing in around me unexpectedly.  I am going to attempt to do that in the most upbeat way possible :).

How do I begin this widow blog?

Since I am the biggest fan of “The Sound of Music“, Julie Andrews is in my head singing “let’s start at the very beginning…” so that’s what I will do (my kids will be so embarrassed by that line).  Although I guess this could be considered both a beginning and an end…

Sunday October 9, 2011 was a typical day except that is was HOT.  High 80’s – way too hot for October in N.J. Howie and I went to watch our 10 year old daughter Lily’s soccer game (we also had a 12 year old daughter Amanda who chose not to come).

We chatted with the other parents and Howie was on the sidelines cheering the team on.   When the game was over (they won if I remember correctly), Howie said he wanted exercise and was going to walk home.  I told him absolutely not – it was too hot and our house was too far from the field.  So we all drove home together.

When we got home I started to make dinner while talking on the phone (I’m always talking on the phone).

Howie came downstairs in running shorts with his headphones in and said he was going for a run.  I rolled my eyes because I felt like it was still too hot but he ran out the door.

When he returned about an hour later he was all sweaty and said he didn’t feel well.  He laid down on the couch and I brought him a bottle of water. He still wasn’t feeling well and he didn’t look good.  I asked him if I should call 911 and he said no – he wanted to go upstairs and get in bed.  While I was uneasy watching him go up the steps, I figured if he couldn’t make it up I would call 911.  He made it up.

I should not have fought that uneasy feeling – always go with your gut.

The girls and I started eating dinner when we heard a crash.  Something told me this was going to be very bad so I told the girls NOT to come upstairs.  Howie was on the floor unconscious when I reached the bedroom.  I called 911 and the operator walked me through CPR until the ambulance arrived.

I am not going to go through all details of what happened that night.  But I will tell you a few moments that stand out in my mind –

  • Our next door neighbors Caryn and Steve are our very close friends.  When they heard the ambulance, Steve ran over to see what was going on.  I had him take my girls to their house.  He stayed with the kids while Caryn stood in my house with me listening to the paramedics.  I don’t know what I would have done without them.
  • When I got into the passenger seat of the ambulance, the driver (a woman) grabbed my hand.
  • I remember noticing the police blocking off the road so we could get through (knew this was a bad sign).
  • I remember getting out of the ambulance and seeing Caryn and Steve there.  They had left all the kids with other neighbors and followed us to the hospital.
  • I remember walking into the emergency room and when a nurse saw me she started to cry (obviously a very bad sign).
  • I remember the doctor telling me that they couldn’t save him and he was gone. I screamed and yelled that it was my fault – I should have called 911 earlier.  She sat me down and looked me in the eye and told me it would not have mattered (still not sure I 100% believe that).
  • I remember calling both my parents and Howie’s parents while Steve called friends.
  • Then I remember sitting down on the hospital floor and not being able to believe what was going on around me.  What was I going to do?  How was I ever going to get through this?

This was the beginning of my life as a widow. Continue reading my story here.

 

 

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36 Comments

  1. I think sharing such a personal story is so brave. As a nurse I see so much tragedy and have been the one walking out of the room crying. I believe you will give others strength with your words and spirit. ❤️❤️

  2. Susan Rudman on

    Read this with tears in my eyes. Stacy you are amazing and I love you so much. The girls are so lucky to have such an amazing mom and me to have such a wonderful friend. You are so strong. I wish you love and happiness always!!!
    ❌⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️

  3. Nicolle Feldman on

    I Love this! You are amazing and Amanda and Lily are so lucky to have you as there Everything! I look forward to following your blog! Much Health, Happiness, Love and Light to you always ~ xoxo ?

  4. Stacy,
    I believe it takes a strong person to do what you are doing. It’s also very therapeutic and I really admire you.
    I wish you only the best!

  5. Lisa Campione on

    Wow Stacy, such a powerful story you are telling, one that will help many. You write so well, you should send your story to the magazines to publish. It really is compelling and you are a story of strength, courage and survival! So proud of you.
    Xo
    Lisa

  6. Alice Oshins on

    Thank you for sharing with all of us. Your strength and bravery will undoubtedly help others. So proud of you!xo Alice

  7. Debbie Locke on

    Awesome! Such a well written piece. You seem very strong and to be a great inspiration to your daughters. Good luck and I’ll keep reading if you keep writing.

  8. Helaine Schnall on

    Stacy,
    You write well and it sounds like you have quite the story to tell. I hope that doing this helps you, your daughters and others in this difficult situation. I’ll keep reading – hoping for a happy ending!! XOXO

  9. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. U sound like such a strong & amazing person. I too have regrets in a similar situation. We can’t think of what we could’ve done, you will only make yourself crazy.

  10. Unbelievable , very brave of you …your girls are very lucky to have such strength to look up too…

  11. What a great, inspiring idea. I hope this blog helps you heal as I’m sure it will help others in similar situations. You inspire me with your courage every day on FB. I’m sure your inner feelings and sorrows could use this outlet. I’m not a doctor (as you know), and I don’t play one on tv, but I’m sure that your actions/inactions that day could not have changed the outcome unfortunately. You probably want a reason why this horrible tragedy occurred and it’s easiest to blame yourself, being the one who survived. You are a loving, caring person as anyone can see by your relationship to your daughters and friends. Please free yourself from blame. I don’t want to say “forgive” because you did nothing wrong, inappropriate, delayed, etc. sometimes life just is shitty for no reason. Your blog will help others in their journies to get beyond that point in a strong, positive way. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story.

  12. Marci gershel on

    Tears in my eyes. I never knew what happened. My heart goes out yo yo & yiur girls. They are so lucky to have such a strong beautiful (inside & out), mother. Thank younger sharing. Xo

  13. I read this with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes! Stacy you are very brave creating a blog like this and I’m sure it will help a lot of people. You have great courage and strength! ???

  14. Sorry for your loss and your girls…. Knowing the family since my early 20-s; i was sad the day I heard and was sad reading this. You are brave and awesome…

  15. Hi Stacy, I was just forwarded your blog link because we are in EXACTLY the same place. Widowed on my 45th birthday, two young daughters, LI/NJ connection. I’d love to connect.
    Btw, I’m a writer/journalist as well. Major kudos on the blog. And much love and health and healing for you and your girls…Andrea

    • Hi Andrea – I just saw your comment because it somehow ended up in my spam folder. Weird coincidence – I’d love to connect too. Ok if I email you?

  16. Stacy
    Wow…you are so strong and brave. It brought tears to my eyes as I read your story. You are an inspiration to all! Wishing you only happiness from now on.

  17. Darlene Barzilay on

    Stacy I am so sorry for what you and your family have gone through. I read this and I’m crying because you never know when it could all come crashing down. You did all you can do
    Sending love to you always!! Very well written too ?❤️❌⭕️ Darlene

  18. Thank you so much for taking the time to create a bog to share your life’s journey as you went through the most difficult time of your life while still having to take care of your two little one’s. Your truly an inspiration to those that are going through a similar situation as I am at this time.

  19. I just lost my husband on the day after Thanksgiving. I ran across one of your articles on another site that linked back here. He was just 46 and had a heart attack at work, he was getting ready to come home and started feeling chest pains. He called his dad and said “I’m on my way to the hospital I think I’m having a heart attack, call Tam for me.” Yes. He drove himself. He was alone at work doing paperwork and such on the day after the holiday trying to make sure they were set for Monday which would be a early day for the factory. He was their Materials Supervisor over two factories. He thought it would be faster to just drive the short 3 minutes to the hospital himself than to try to wait on an ambulance. He arrived at the ER and they took him straight back. As he was getting undressed for them he collapsed and they attempted CPR for almost an hour. We live in a rural area so by the time I had arrived at the hospital from my father-in-law’s call I got out of the car and found my father-in-law in the doorway of the ER. I called out as I ran across the parking lot, “Is he okay?” I got no response. I got closer, just a few feet and said it again. He shook his head. “He’s gone.” My world collapsed. I screamed and cried, my knees gave out and I clung to my father-in-law who held me for what seemed a very long time. My own father arrived shortly after and remained with me when the doctor’s came to talk to me. Again, in the parking lot outside the hospital, the doctors came to me. It has been 2 weeks and a day since my world turned upside down. I thank you for sharing your experience so that it can help other women, other widows like myself to get by just by knowing someone else has felt the same pain, fear, anger and worry. Your advice in the article I read on the other site helped me feel that what I’m feeling is ‘normal’ and that I shouldn’t be made to feel that I have to act or be a certain way and it may eventually be okay.

    • I am so sorry for you. Your story is so similar to mine and I know how traumatic this is. Please feel free to reach out if you need to. I’ll be thinking of you.

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