The young sudden cardiac death of a partner is pulverising. The present, with lifeless options, offers no respite. The future, carefully crafted through a maturing relationship, has been destroyed in an instant. Unlike the memories from birth that exist for a child or sibling, partners can often only reach into their recent past to relive excruciatingly precious moments that must sustain a lifetime of grieving. The pain may soften in time, but will never be extinguished.
The funeral compresses what was and what might have been. A heavy responsibility for one half of the pair – cleaved so brutally apart – to express and share their love with friends and family. Organising the funeral becomes fearfully entangled with recollections of planning their wedding. A final opportunity to emphasise the unique relationship there was. Would always be.
Moving forward into a future built for two seems a betrayal of the love shared. Every step embedded with risk. Endeavouring to again find the independence that had been discarded like a loose unwanted spare skin, becomes part of the overwhelming nightmare each moment represents. Flashbacks haunt dreams and the future lies cold and uninviting; reflecting becomes a passport to despair. The person who relished the security of a deep loving relationship suddenly facing life’s hazards with no-one at their side. No more a pair. No longer a future to plan, nor family to dream of. No-one to grow old with. The aching emptiness of a life without them in it.
Losing a partner to young sudden cardiac death rewrites the expectation of life for the one who is left behind. Nothing is safe. Life can turn in an instant, leaving a trail of destruction and desolation. Scrutinising the cherished past, with their back to the solitary future awaiting them. Reluctant to turn and face the prospect of the bleak life ahead and agony of what might have been. Reminded, by their empty bed each night, that they are now alone.
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