Author Topic: 13 Days -- Is This Shock? Numbness? Distraction? Sociopathy?  (Read 76 times)


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13 Days -- Is This Shock? Numbness? Distraction? Sociopathy?
« on: March 20, 2018, 03:28:32 PM »
My husband died 13 days ago. He was 38 years old and in great health. He was coming back from a work conference on a Thursday afternoon and banged his knee with his suitcase, tearing his ACL and meniscus. By Monday night, unbeknownst to us, he had formed a huge blood clot in the leg and experienced a saddle embolus, which he survived but mistook as a panic attack. We went to the hospital Tuesday morning, and they apprised us of the situation. They put him on blood thinners, but he'd survived, his vitals and breathing were normal, and both my husband and I thought we'd caught it and gotten lucky. Wednesday evening, he felt good until it shifted suddenly and he was probably dead in a matter of five minutes, though I watched them work on him for 30.

I cried over his body until I couldn't anymore. Then I made the phone calls in the room next to him, packed up our stuff while they tagged and bagged him, and then had a friend drive me home. Since then, I've been collecting passwords, tracking down credit cards, responding to facebook, planning the funeral, scraping together money for obituaries, and generally handling our business.

I'm functional and I hate it. People keep telling me how strong I am and how proud they are of me, but I don't feel anything and it feels like a betrayal. That's not entirely true... sometimes I feel a flash of deep, black tar guilt about all the ways I was a bad wife. Sometimes I feel painful stabs of regret that I didn't think harder about asking about sperm recovery in time. He was 38, I am 34, and we'd planned to start a family in May after he'd had laparoscopic hernia surgery. He was excited about it. Sometimes I cry because of how terrible I feel about how little I've cried and how productive and functional I have been. How little it feels like it matters to my life that he's dead.

People tell me I'm still in shock and/or numbness, but when I read about being in shock or numbness, it doesn't describe me. I have people around me to help, but there's so little for them to do. They keep waiting for me to crumple into a ball of depression so they help me, but I'm still functional - I donated his tissues, shopped 3 funeral homes, met with lawyers, crunched spreadsheets of our assets and liabilities, made most of the funeral arrangements myself, cared for our dogs, done my own laundry, helped my in-laws make travel arrangements, blah blah blah.  I'm sleeping normally. My appetite is returning to normal.

I'm not emotionally disconnected. I smile or laugh at things that are funny. I had a fight with my brother. Every now and then it feels briefly like I'm grief-constipated. I see something or hear something and I well up like I'm going to cry. I think "Here's my grief. I do miss him. I knew I did." and then it subsides before it takes hold. I keep thinking about my future, will I marry again? Will I every have the children I want SO BADLY? How? I worry that I didn't actually love him. That I wasn't as invested in our marriage as I fooled myself into thinking. I wish I was a lump of tears in bed so I knew my love for him was real.


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Re: 13 Days -- Is This Shock? Numbness? Distraction? Sociopathy?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2018, 04:17:25 PM »
Hi Birdie-

I'm so sorry for your loss of your husband. I see myself in quite a few of the things you write about and know you are in the early, early days. I too cried and cried over his body until I was limp. And then I got on with arrangements and plans and making sure everyone else was ok.

And it sounds like right now you are busy and distracted and a lot of what you are doing are things you know how to do- like  you are on autopilot.

Later the quiet times will come and things will change. I remember being glad for the opportunity to fall apart when everyone was taken care of and had gone home and arrangements were made etc.

Grief is a long marathon and it truly is different for everyone but I think it is safe to say everyone does have to go through it to get to the other side.

Try not to get ahead of yourself. Take this a day at a time. Don't feel bad about laughing- it is a human thing to laugh and to find humor. Not everyone does but I sure did.

I'm sure to the observer I looked like I had everything nailed down and tidy. And then when I crumbled it was so hard to find a way to get all of my pieces back into any semblance of order. And I've known widows who were basket cases at first and who stayed in tears for a very long time with no signs of feeling and doing better until they finally found a way to survive.

Others will comment with their own advices. Until they do I wanted you to know I read your post and I hear you. Keep posting and reading here. It can be so, so very helpful.

There is a section on being childless and there will be others there who can help you with that unique situation.




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Re: 13 Days -- Is This Shock? Numbness? Distraction? Sociopathy?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2018, 04:20:51 PM »
You are in what I term as crisis mode where you work like a fiend to get things done. You are essentially doing everything and are determined to do everything yourself. You are keeping yourself crazy busy that you can't process,the death, absorb the situation. You can also see this as survival mode. I think this is normal for some of us. I was a lot like this and when it hits you, it hits hard. You don't want to feel the pain because it hurts. Does it mean you don't love him? Of course not! But be kind to yourself, allow people to help you when you know you need help. Time moves differently for people like us so take it easy, vent on us as you need to, sometimes typing it all out helps you work through what's on your mind. So sorry to have you here with us. Hugs for you...


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Re: 13 Days -- Is This Shock? Numbness? Distraction? Sociopathy?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 06:14:05 PM »
I am so very sorry that you lost your beloved husband.  I have been widowed twice and my experiences were very different.  This experience is yours - similar to others, perhaps, but uniquely your own.  Please do not fret about your reactions at this point.  You love your husband and you will grieve in the way that you grieve.

Hugs to you,

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

Empathy  Developer  Responsibility  Adaptability Connectedness


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Re: 13 Days -- Is This Shock? Numbness? Distraction? Sociopathy?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 08:50:59 PM »
You are in what I term as crisis mode where you work like a fiend to get things done. ... You can also see this as survival mode.

Ugh. Yes, you're right. This is exactly it. Thank you for naming it. I am and have been in crisis mode because I am and have been managing a crisis -- and I'm pretty functional in a crisis.

With my husband being so young, and me having a pretty clear idea of what he would want... I felt an immediate responsibility to make sure his funeral would be on point and to make sure his friends and family were taken care of. People keep saying to me that this is mostly about me or worst for me or I'm most important in this situation, and it kept ringing false to me... we all lost him. But this makes sense now.... I'm depersonalizing the situation to manage the crisis because I feel like I owe it to him.

Its not a fantastic place to be, but its freeing to know what's going on with me. TY