I want to tell you how happy I am to hear that you, Darla, are processing your husband's death and are able to be constructive here. In fact, my father died suddenly in August 2007 of a non-related issue, and the stress and reaction that my Mother dealt with was all-consuming. She grieved and stayed in that mode, transfixed in a way that was possibly unhealthy for her.
Other circumstances added to the situation, and in retrospect I feel like the cholangiocarcinoma was given fuel. Stress is extremely difficult on the body. In turn, and given both deaths being so close together, I struggle with the stages of grief for them both. It is an amazingly difficult time for what is left of my family. Both my parents were merely 61 and I actually worried about them aging (well beyond their 60s).
I am trying very hard not to stay in fight or flight in my own reaction to my Mother's death, and to process these emotions and not turn it all inward, letting the stress of the situation impact my health.
At 61, my mother had just weeks to comprehend that her disease was extremely advanced and that she would loose her battle. Later, it seemed a relief for her to let go and leave this complicated world. I ultimately respect that, but promised not let her sudden death destroy me, to remain positive in the face of adversity, and to focus on my own health and balance my life... to go on living with her in mind. Losing parents has an amazing impact on a child. Losing both in less than a year informs you that you must live fully every day.
We are survivors, here, joined by a common disease. Our new goal should be to care for ourselves well and to appreciate that we are alive today.
Hugs to you all. -ljg