Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday, I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How Grief Began





A few years ago, when my wife died suddenly from a heart condition we didn’t know she had, each night I wrote in my journal about what was going on with grief. I did this to keep me sane, and I did this to force me to deal with my grief instead of hiding it away where it would fester and grow worse. Slowly I began to notice small movements back towards life. Evelyn was in her forties. Her death still seems wrong, and I struggle to accept it. 

Journal Entry 1                    

This morning Ev nudged me awake at 5 a.m. to get up for work, and she went back to sleep. Mid-morning a call comes at work that tells me she has suffered some physical problem, but they don’t know what, only that she is being taken to the hospital.

Evelyn’s family is in the ICU waiting room when I arrive, but no one knows what is going on. Sue tells me that Ev called this morning and asked her for a ride to our family doctor because Ev did not feel well enough to drive herself. Just as they arrived at the office, Ev began having trouble breathing. Paramedics were called from across the street and they took her to the hospital.

One hour becomes two, then three as we watch other patients go by. A gurney with someone wrapped in white is wheeled by and I sense it is Evelyn. In a few minutes they allow us into a room where she lies without moving, connected to various monitors and machines.

A doctor comes over and says that he operated on Ev and inserted a stent to keep her artery open. Finally we know something, that the problem was with her heart. From how he is talking, it seems that the problem has been taken care of, and I finally begin to relax.

We’re unsure what to do now since Ev isn’t awake. Then another doctor comes over and says that tests indicate the paramedics weren’t able to get her heart restarted in time and her brain suffered serious damage from the lack of oxygen. He says it doesn’t look good for Ev ever waking up again. But they will repeat the tests in twenty-four hours to confirm the results.

One of us stays to keep vigil while the rest go home.


In the afternoon of the next day we all gather to hear the results of the test. There are no signs of any brain activity.

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