THE BLOG
11/26/2013 12:18 pm ET | Updated Jan 26, 2014

Grief, Tears, Laughter: Coming to Terms With the Death of My Husband

This blog is about an ending and a beginning -- all at the same time. Robert Greenebaum, my soul mate, lover, best friend, business partner, husband -- did I mention best friend? -- and oh so much more died on Sept. 26, 2013 after a two-year battle with cancer. We thought we were winning. We were wrong.

We fell in love in high school and married in college 42 years ago. Now I'm struggling to understand what this means. What being alone means. How to wake up each day without him next to me.

I was lying in bed last night reading and noticed my heart pounding pounding pounding pounding. Loud, hard and fast. Not a good thing. Immediately took a pill.

As I'm feeling my heart continue to pound and race, I am struck with the undeniable fact I am alone. Totally alone. Completely alone. What do I do? Go to the emergency room immediately? Wait to see if the pill works? How long do I wait? There is no one to debate with. Except myself.

I realize I should head out. It is so easy to fall into the "Going to ER" mode -- in the middle of the night, on a weekend. We had done this journey together so many times before. It is like a worn comfortable sweater. It is reassuring. It is calming. It is familiar. It is normal even. Gather a few overnight items, grab my large briefcase, computer, charging cord, magazine and book and I'm ready. I mean you never know.

Driving to the hospital in the dark is strangely comforting. Cannot count the number of times I've done this. Although never alone. But in the dark that does not seem to matter. How many times had we driven these roads, sitting side by side, each in our own worlds, holding hands?

It is like I am in suspended animation when I enter through the big sliding doors of the ER and describe my racing heart. They order an "immediate" EKG and I wait. And wait and wait. Think about what I'll tell the nurse in triage. "What brought you in tonight?" A broken heart.

I am trying hard to stay connected with myself and yet the past emergency room visits are flooding in. The nurse comments, "Oh you haven't been here before." Of course I have! Numerous times. "Your birthday?" I can spout Robert's much easier than I can remember mine. "Medications?" Have Robert's list down pat. Mine? Have not a clue.

See the form with the empty fields that she is slowly filling. A blank form? I am so used to seeing Rob's overflowing form. And it hits me hard. This is all about me. I have never been here for myself. This is one of those "it is all about me" moments. Not quite what I had had in mind for an "all about me moment."

After tests and blood work I am told my heart is fine. No evidence in Western medicine of a broken heart. Their equipment does not detect the hole in my heart.