The end of everything I knew

My husband passed away 1/1/2022. It’s amazing how fast everything went in the final 24 hours.

I wrote about helping him transition to the other side here, just so I don’t have to repeat everything.

It was an absolute honor and privilege to help him make that final transition. It was also by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, bar none (worlds harder than giving birth to a 10-pound baby without an epidural.) That’s such an extreme understatement but I can’t even find words to describe it.

It’s the kind of shit that changes your life forever.

I had stayed up for most of the past five days and finally last night, I just crashed hard. I slept so deeply and soundly that I don’t think anything could have awakened me.

I had to fill out the death certificate yesterday, which was so unbelievably heartbreaking and grueling. He’s really, really gone and I will never be the same again.

My kids are stepping up beautifully. Chloe has possibly been my greatest source of support, though all of the kids (plus Amy’s boyfriend) have just been amazing.

J’s sister is here too and she has also been a literal angel. Her husband is also here. While we’ve had some very awkward conversations, his past career as a minister came in very handy in dealing with some of the unpleasant stuff (like taking off J’s wedding ring after he passed and making sure that I got back the favorite Clash t-shirt he was wearing at the time of his death.)

My MIL and stepFIL are a whole different story that I’ll save for another post. But I’ll just say that yesterday, I walked out of the room when she was talking to me and hid in my bathroom for several hours until she left. Chloe did the same thing.

After the funeral (assuming that they come again), I may not ever speak to her again after that, but not without giving her a piece of my mind and saying the words I’ve been holding back for 28 years. But more on that later.

I was so glad that I had the money for J’s cremation and didn’t have to borrow it from anyone. Gifts from J’s family always come with lots of strings attached and I just don’t want anything to do with that.

That said, I’m still more than okay with J’s sister; she’s Good People. I love that she was here and I think her presence made J feel ready to transition to the other side (whatever that may be.)

Similarly, I can’t help but think that on some subconscious level, he wanted to die before his mom got here. I know from past experiences—like when her father died—that she freaks out and says all kinds of extremely inappropriate things.

It was just me and him in the final hours and I think that’s how he wanted it to be. OMG, it was SO hard for so many reasons. I even texted my friend Annette (a fellow night owl who has unfortunately experienced a lot of losses) at one point during the night and told her I didn’t know if I was strong enough emotionally to get through it.

I felt like the last hours of his journey were midwifing him through death. But midwifing someone through the dying process is so much harder than through the birth process.

I just felt strongly like this is what I signed up for when I took those wedding vows. I couldn’t run away, no matter how much I wanted to.

I am so relieved that he doesn’t have to suffer anymore. I don’t know what waits on the other side but if there is a heaven, he’s in it. Nobody I’ve ever met deserves it more than he does.

I want to try to communicate with him beyond the grave but I haven’t had any of those experiences yet. I really hope that I will.

I think it’s also very clear that the kids are going to have my back. We have coalesced even more strongly as a family unit. And I think that this experience is especially transformative for Chloe, who is just really coming into her own. She’s lovely and emotionally powerful and she has already proven her loyalty to me in particular.

None of us wanted this to ever happen. But it has and I see now that the way we raised them with a “family first” ideology paid off many times over.

We’re likely going to postpone the memorial service until March, I think. We just have so much to do between now and then (especially taking advantage of J’s final gift to us of one last month of insurance) and we decided that would work out better for everyone.

I am beyond sad and heartbroken. There are just no words for it. But somewhere, on some level, I think I’m going to be okay in the end.


  1. Oh my goodness, Holly I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine how you are feeling right now. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. I say that but know there is nothing anyone can do to help heal your broken heart, but know I am here for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SH says:

    Deepest, deepest condolences. I will share your GoFundMe. I’ve no words for such a devastating loss. Such love between him and you deserved a much longer duration. I’d give your MIL and stepFIL a piece of my mind. And friends will not need to know what happened to firmly stand on your side and to support No Contact.


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