Sudden Death Shadows

Well, I made it through the long three days of Mike being out of town for work the other week. He made sure to text or call at every turn so that I knew he was safe - which helped so much to keep the panic at bay a bit. So no, he didn't die. Much to my relief. Although I will say, the whole ordeal of having to cope with my new person on a work trip after my previous person died on one, has stirred up a lot. In fact, Mike is currently fixing my car and as I watch him underneath 3000+ lbs of metal, the thoughts just come again. Before I know it I’m imagining the entire thing crashing down on him and me, standing there, not knowing what to do. Or what if it crashes down on him and kills him instantly, and there I am, standing there, my whole world flipped upside down again. Only this time I have a kid and no job. How will I take care of her? How will I get a job to pay for everything? There goes my mind... off on it's own horrific adventure. Although this is all highly unlikely, you all know, that doesn’t stop the stories in my head, or the physical reaction. 

I wish I could do something about this. I wish I could go back to not knowing what that would be like for my partner to die suddenly and instantly have my entire future taken away. Most of all, I wish my body didn’t remember the trauma. Seven years later, the thoughts, feelings, and sensations are quieter though. Or at least, I have gotten much better at calming myself and just allowing it to mildly be there.

It still sucks though. The most everyday events like a quick flight to Chicago for work or climbing under the car for an hour send currents of panic into every last nerve and synapse. It’s more than an emotional or mental reaction. More than thoughts and stories running in my mind. It feels like my body is literally aware and holds a memory of the trauma of Drew’s death and it pulses with an electric sort of alertness any time these death stories begin to play out. I suppose that’s normal, especially for those who lost someone suddenly. So, I try not to worry about having these reactions, and instead just let them happen and try to focus on comforting that part of me that is scared the best I can.

And so, instead of sitting in the house writing this… I am parked out in the garage, watching Mike fix my car and making sure that if anything went wrong, I am right here to react. In the time I’ve written all about my death fear, in fact, he’s already fixed the problem, lowered the car back down, and indeed is not dead. And probably had no idea any of this was going on in me the entire time he cheerfully tinkered around under my car. 

Sometimes, not only does death suck, but sudden death really, super, majorly sucks. When each of my parents died, I was not left with these kinds of reactions, because they died from illnesses and it was at least somewhat expected. Drew however, was already gone when I got the phonecall. On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon.

The trauma associated with sudden death is something that I think will just always be with me, and something I am working to learn how to accept and allow to be there. I think the more I learn to allow it, the easier it becomes to cope with. As long as, you know, this one keeps not dying.  


Showing 4 reactions

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  • Rosemary Taylor
    commented 2019-10-20 20:32:52 -0700
    My husband fell down dead while we were walking to our car in the parking lot. Traumatized? Yes! So much so that my brain will not let me remember what happened after that.
  • Lynda Birmantas Beam
    commented 2019-10-20 18:54:30 -0700
    Trauma is very good word for. My whole body was affected by the sudden loss of my husband
  • Trudie Moses-Sandberg
    commented 2019-10-20 18:34:02 -0700
    I know that panicky feeling and fear too. The memory and fear from that trauma stays with us. My husband died in a motorcycle accident on his way to work one morning when another driver in a suburban pulled out in front of him. We never had a chance to speak to one another or to say goodbye.
  • Emma Pearson
    commented 2019-10-14 00:20:01 -0700
    There goes my mind… off on it’s own horrific adventure.

    You had such scary experiences, lovely Sarah.
    And one of two of my widbuds did have their spouses die under a car as they were repairing it. Shit definitely happens.
    I like that you just sat where you could watch Mike. Still traumatic but possibly a tad less than if you’d been inside worrying and not seeing
    And I am glad Mike texted you at every corner
    Big breath… <3