Can a Widow Have Broken Heart Syndrome?

During the past two months, I gained a new title, one that I never wanted, I am now a widow. My precious husband of 38 years passed away suddenly at the young age of 64 during the first week of August. He has been a diabetic for many years, and has had 2 heart attacks, 2 cardiac ablations, shortness of breath in recent months that was not addressed by his doctor when he told him about it, and has been on several medications for years. It is his health that inspired much of my desire to learn more about Nutrition, but there is only so much that a loving wife can do when trying to convince their partner to eat better. Not that he didn't try, he did, but it is so very hard to be consistent when you are a lover of food. 

Am I 100% sure that he had a heart attack? No tests were done to verify it, but there doesn't seem to be many other reasons why we would have spent a nice day together, gone to bed laughing, and then my finding him gone a few hours later when I got up to use the bathroom.

Needless to say the weeks since have been excruciatingly painful for me. I am physically and emotionally drained. My heart has felt literally broken at times, and I feel like I'm carrying around a heavy weight. I never would have imagined that grief could be so painful.

Can the stress from the loss of a loved one literally cause heart issues? Yes, but generally, they are temporary. It is a condition called broken heart syndrome. Mayo Clinic explains that the shock of the loss disrupts the normal functioning of the heart for a period of time. You can read more about it at the above link, or in more detail at the American Heart Association website.

I was already on a Beta Blocker medication for high blood pressure, so have a feeling it protected me somewhat from this, but it was interesting to find that such a condition existed. My daughter's friend told her to have me take a baby aspirin each day for a while. That is what a doctor had her mother do. I had some around the house, so for a while took one every other day, but will not make it a regular thing until talking to my doctor at my next appointment.

So I have the long journey of grief ahead of me. Though things are working out financially etc., I wish I had been more prepared mentally and spiritually for loss. Few of us want to take time to prepare our minds for such a possibility, and because I wasn't prepared, I was caught completely off guard, even though I knew this was a possibility with his health condition. It is all so surreal to me, though slowly, I am processing, crying, crying, and crying some more, as I learn to accept this new reality. My entire life has changed, almost every aspect of it was touched by my now-absent husband, and I feel it acutely. If you have a loving spouse, love him/her deeply in return. You would be amazed at all the "I wish I hads" I've had to deal with since my husband's passing. Regrets are a natural part of grief, so I try to keep them in perspective. I am glad we had a happy last day together and the last sound I heard from him was his laughter. I will miss him deeply until we meet again.

7 comments:

  1. While I shed a tear for you while reading, I had to break into a genuine smile when I read that the last sound you heard from your husband was his laughter. For that joyous sound you must truly be grateful. And I believe you will one day hear him laugh again. God bless you, Claudia.

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    1. Yes, it is good that our last time together was a happy one, and that I don't have to regret any foolish words, and I'm glad it gave you a smile. In time, there will be more smiles than tears with the memories, or so they say. In time...

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  2. Oh Claudia I'm so sorry that you're going through this. I don't think I'd survive if anything happened to my husband. I think I'd die from a broken heart. Sending you strength to carry on and lots of virtual hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. It is easy to not be concerned what happens to me any more, I miss him that much, but that isn't the way he would want me to be thinking. I got a hint of how he'd want me to live when I commented about how a friend who lost her husband looked like she was having too good of a time...he said "she is making the best of things now that her husband is gone, there is nothing wrong with that"...and she did love him very much and does miss him terribly. So I know he would want me to move on and enjoy life again...right now it is very VERY hard though. But maybe with time....a LOT of time.

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  4. My heart hurts for you. Please know that I am praying for you. I care.

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    1. Thank you, it is good to hear from you, thank you so much for caring and for your prayers.

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