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Death of my husband

Raymond and I during happier times.

I'd known for a few months that Raymond was sick. He pushed himself all summer to water his beloved plants and trees, help our daughter and granddaughter cut the lawn, and ride his tractor at every opportunity. He started sleeping too much and having headaches that continued to worsen in September. He'd planned to attend our 17 year old grandson's first football game and wasn't able, I knew his health was not good.

It wasn't until the end of September that we rushed him to the hospital with an unbearable headache and nausea. He was diagnosed with a cerebral stroke. We were told it was a big one. He made a bit of a come back and came home a few days later, weaker but still functioning. In home rehab gave him some strength back in his arms and one leg but not enough. He was able to transfer from his wheelchair to bed or chair but not do much else. One day he did insist on vacuuming the kitchen with a new kitchen vacuum from his wheelchair and we both were pleased that he felt well enough. He always wanted to help when he could.

Our son in law build a ramp in the garage so that we might get him in and out of the house in his wheelchair for appointments. But that wasn't to be.

The third week in Oct. he had another stroke and was rushed back to the hospital. He did well for two days and we were sure he'd make another comeback. But he didn't. Each day saw a decline in his health. Two days before he died he stopped eating and sipping water. His kidneys failed as well as his heart. He had a staph infection in his pacemaker and they had to do surgery to remove it and placed a new one outside his chest, hoping to plant one inside when the infection cleared. He had a blood clot under one arm.

On November 17, our three daughters and I were with him, sitting on his bed, holding his hand, telling him how much we loved him. The last hour of his dying was unbearable. Though he was heavily sedated, he struggled to breathe. He left us at 4 pm that day.

His service was November 22, back home in West Virginia where he wanted to be.

He looked forward to his next birthday coming up on Thanksgiving Day. He loved his birthday, my birthday, and each birthday our children and grandchildren celebrated. Thanksgiving will be a sad day for me but because Raymond was always happy and smiling, I will be "happy" and "smiling" just for him. Or putting forth my best effort.


  1. Barbara, this breaks my heart. You write with such love, and such grace. What a love you two had.

  2. My heart goes out to you, Barbara. Hugs X

  3. You continue to be in my prayers daily. This is a personal journey you are taking now. Each of us experience it differently. There is no right or wrong. The one constant to remember is that the love will never die, just the body. The love is deep, eternal, and beautiful. It will help you as you take baby steps forward. Our God will never leave you, and with Him all things are possible. Much love, Carol Ann

  4. Oh, Barb. I am so sorry to hear of your husband's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May your memories and the love you shared help you through this difficult time. Take care! ((((hugs))))

  5. What a beautiful essay about a heartbreaking subject, Barb Your love for Raymond, coupled with your strength and faith, shine through. You have such a gift. Thanksgiving will be hard, but you are also blessed to be surrounded by family and beautiful memories. I will be in touch soon. As always, May God Bless You.

  6. Barb, I'm so very sorry. Your love for Raymond is so event in your writing. I know this will be a hard holiday season and I wish I knew what to say to help you. Please know you are in my prayers, thoughts and I hope you can find peace and comfort from your children and grandchildren. Hugs from my heart to yours.

  7. Thank you so much for your lovely words. We'd been married 51 years Nov. 9th. An incredible feat in itself. I'd decided I needed to something completely different on the holiday so I had planned something different. I was and still am exhausted. Thought I'd go to Thanksgiving dinner with good friends at a nearby lodge. Guess what? I have a cold, sore throat, fever, achy and feel awful. It now requires that I stay inside and alone. Think this was no accident but a planned respite.So rest is what I am doing. God bless and yes I'll be taking tiny baby steps.

  8. Reading this makes me sad and my heart ache for you. Having lost my first husband to heart attack, I know that pain and how your husband will be missed not just through the holidays, but forever. May the Lord give you comfort and rest and peace as you gather with your family.

  9. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet husband. Your post made me tear up. I will be keeping you and my family in my prayers as you trudge through the upcoming holidays.

    With love,

  10. I am so sorry for your loss, Barbara. I know your heart is aching. He will always be with you in your heart and mind. My prayers are with you and your family. Take care of yourself. Love and hugs - Janet.

  11. Ended up having dinner with a daughter and her family. Turned out very nice. We lit a candle for Raymond for Thanksgiving and for his birthday which is also today. I'm sad for me but relieved for him to not be in pain anymore. Bless you all for being so kind. Hugs.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss Barb. I have not been blogging too much and therefore don't look at blogs that much. Our son was home from Hawaii and I did not even turn the computer on.
    Is there any thing my family or I could do for you?
    Take care of yourself as times like these take a lot out of a person.
    My families and my prayers are with you and your family.

  13. I am amazed and blessed by the obvious love, and the strength of character you possess in order to write so eloquently in the midst of grief. As someone who lost a loved one during the holidays, I know the challenges of "going on" despite the knowledge that you are grateful your loved one is no longer suffering.
    Blessings and peace to you, as you continue on this different path without your husband.

  14. Oh, Barb. I'm so sorry to hear of your tremendous loss. May you find peace and the particular gifts grieving offers during this holiday season, and in the months ahead. Sending love and prayers to you.

  15. I haven't been here and was shocked to read this. I am so so sorry for you. I will be praying for you during these holidays.


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