My Widow Blog: 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 ten 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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