Sudden Death / Running / OT Long Post (Read 282 times)

    I do not mean to bring any dark off topic subjects here and have only posted once before regarding training. After taking the advice I received about training for 5K's I decided that increased mileage would be the best way to train, and on Saturday morning February 3rd I ran 5 easy miles for the first time and felt great. I had targeted a late March St Patrick's 5K as my first race of 2018 and felt I was on the right track. My wife was having our taxes done that same morning and I noticed I missed her call at 12:39 PM called her back at 12:47pm (no answer) and took a shower. Received a call from the hospital that she had entered into the ER and was very sick, I needed to come down. I drove there thinking she had the flu. The Dr. met me in a closed waiting room asked how she was that morning (seemed fine), why was she at Urgent Care?(I had no idea / located in same strip mall as tax office) and that her heart stopped there, and the Urgent Care, Paramedics nor the hospital could get her back. On February 3rd 2018 my beautiful wife Beth died suddenly from cardiac arrest.


    My life as I knew it was over in a flash and since that time I have had not one single moment of peace or happiness. For two weeks I could do nothing, lost 16 pounds and finally decided I have to control something and went to the gym and ran 1.5 miles outside and felt like absolute crap. Took another try at a 2 mile run the next week and again felt nothing but pain and emptiness. A week later finally decided I had to get out and ran the same 5 mile loop that I ran the day that she had died (it actually goes by the Urgent Care) and for the first time, by finishing that run, felt like a small weight had been lifted, the exhaustion and pain from that run took a slight edge off my grieving. Finally in March my weekly mileage went from an average of 4 to 8 and in April I ran 78 miles averaging about 19 miles a week.


    I have felt so alone and lost but the running was the one thing that has really has helped me cope with this and I was seriously considering quitting as it reminded me too much of my wife. I was always excited to share with her my running times and improvements from when I started this back in November. For my birthday she got me a Runners World magazine and KT tape (I was dealing with shin splints) & those are two things I will always keep and cherish as a reminder of how thoughtful she always was. No was more excited to have gone to the first race I competed in and she was looking forward to cheering me on this year as well. The thought now going to those races alone is not something I can bear to do right now but I am hoping to find the strength in the future. 


    What I was hoping to find was anyone here who has gone through something like this, something so traumatic & sudden, or could reach out to me to let me know how they got through this, or things they did to help or recover. I hope to one day again be able to race in her memory and move forward in life as she would have wanted.


    Beth E Widisky 9/9/64 - 2/3/18

    Jay Thomas

      Sorry for your loss.


      We all run for different reasons.


      Some runners spouses/significant others realize the importance of the run in their life. (lucky ones?)


      As friend reminded me this morning, "we are fortunate to have the opportunity to run"

      Get off my porch

        Sorry for your loss.

        I have not had anything as traumatic happen, but every time I've had some deep emotional distress such as a death of family or friend, or pet, or even break-ups, running has been my panacea. I find it to be a form of mediation.


        I'll admit that when I see the scene from Forrest Gump, I still get close to crying. Too close to home.


        55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

          Man, I'm really sorry for your loss.


          I wish I had more to offer. But I'll just say that coincidentally I posted this elsewhere today to mark a fairly meaningless (in the grand scheme of things) running milestone and maybe it will make sense and help in some way:


          On the positive, running has saved me from myself more than once, kept the world from spinning out of control, kept the demons at bay just enough that I could keep up the facade of having my shit together. I still wear the same size pants as I did in high school. And, if I'm being honest, a lot of the best friends I have in this world come from the bizarre realm of competitive distance running -- or, more realistically these days, semi-competitive jogging.




          None of us has this figured out. We're all out here doing the best we can. I think having the goal of one day racing in your wife's memory is a good goal to put out there. But it's okay to not be ready for that. It's okay to not be okay for a while. Just keep moving.

          Runners run.

          One day at a time

            Jay, I'm so, so sorry.  I can relate a little - I lost my 20-year-old nephew to suicide a couple of years ago.  No warning signs, even in hindsight, and he didn't leave any notes or clues.  It has ripped my entire family apart.  I pretty much fell apart for over a year.  Anti-anxiety meds helped.  This year, I've finally gotten in a place where I can run again, and it's helping a lot.  I started a running streak on January 1, and that's been great.   I'm very slow and don't run that far, but it is making me feel whole again.  Going to the gym three times a week has also been therapeutic.  I'm feeling strong!


            I've been meaning to get a calcium scoring test - it tells you if you have any blockages in your coronary arteries.  My husband had it done and he has no blockages.  He keeps bugging me to get the test.  Your post has convinced me I should schedule one right away. I don't have any family history of heart disease, but that's the point - a lot of people who have heart attacks don't!


            Hang in there.  I think it's a wonderful idea to run a race in Beth's memory.

            Cirque du Sore Legs 2019

              Jay, so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you are going through. It's going to take a long time to heal, but I'm glad you are finding comfort in a good run.


              There was another runner here who lost his running partner during a run. They were running together and he collapsed. I've never forgotten that. I hope he'll see your post and reply.


              Good luck!

              "Don't feel like running today...suck it up and run ...you're an athlete." (John Stanton, founder & owner of The Running Room)


              Three half marathons later, I got a number. Half Fanatic #9292. :)


              Mother of Cats

                I don't have much to contribute here, but did want to express my sympathies for your loss.

                Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.


                And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.


                  Sorry for your loss, you have my sympathies as well.


                  I lost my Mom back in 2012 due to a hip surgery that led to multiple strokes. One of the last things that I remember her telling me is that I she believed that I would run the Boston Marathon someday. I had never run more than a 5K when she said that, but at some point, I decided to  use running as a vehicle to send the pain of grief away. The more I ran, it seemed the better I felt, and consequently, the faster I got. I recall tearing up on many runs when thinking about her. I qualified for Boston in my first marathon and then ran Boston for the past four consecutive years. I imagine her smiling down upon me.


                  Hopefully, you can use running or some sort of physical exercise to also help with your grief. Thinking of you.


                  PR's - 5K - 17:57 (2017) | 10K - 38:06 (2016)  | 13.1 1:26:36 (2017)  | 26.2  2:58:46 (2017)

                  2018 Goals - Sub-2:55 Marathon                                Up Next: Broad Street Run, Chicago Marathon


                  Feeling the growl again

                    I am so sorry for your loss.  I don't have direct experience to offer but I am watching a friend go through this same thing...40-something wife died suddenly on her birthday from an aneurysm, no warning signs.  He is having a hard time with it....and that's normal.  Like you he is just trying to keep moving forward each day.


                    I've always found running therapeutic.  My running has fallen apart in recent years and I think I'd be better off if I put it back together.  I wish you the best in finding your path.

                    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


                    I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills


                      I am very sorry for your loss. I had lost my daughter (27 years old) back in 2010 due to an chronic illness she had and lost my dad last year but he lived a full life 86 and 7 mos. I can't imagine losing my wife like that. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

                        You and your family have my deepest sympathies.  I can't help as I have not experienced such a tragic, sudden loss.  I wish I could give you a real life hug.


                          So sorry for your loss.

                          I recognize loneliness and sadness, but never experienced the sadness and loneliness that you must feel.

                          I wish you well and pray that the ocean waves calm over time, but also recognize that the waves will always be present.


                          The story from this link helped me when I was going through some grief over the past couple of years.





                          2019 Goals:

                          #1: Do what I can do (250+ training days, 300+ aerobic hours).

                          #2: Race (Hurt the Dirt 1/2 marathon - 4/27, Grand Rapids Tri 70.3 - 6/9, MSU Gran Fondo - 6/22, ODRAM - 8/10, Michigan Titanium 70.3 - 8/18, Grand Rapids Marathon - 10/20)


                            I have nothing special to add other than my sympathies as I can't imagine what you're going through.  When things in my life have gone even slightly sideways, running has always been really therapeutic for me.  I'm glad you didn't give it up and hope that it can help you find some simple joys again as time passes.

                            2019 Goals:

                            • 3000 Miles 
                            • Sub 1:16 HM 
                            • PR in 5K


                              I just read this and teared up. I’m so sorry for your loss


                                Something similar happened to me this past November. My dad passed away suddenly from a heart attack a few days before Thanksgiving (age 53). There were no symptoms, no signs, just- boom. My mom and him were married 32 years, he has 5 kids and 6 grandkids. I recall doing the same thing as you, trying to run and feeling like crap. Running and crying, running and screaming. It's only been 6 months and I am no where close to ok. I find that just getting out and running (even when it is the last thing I want to do) has helped. It's given me some kind of structure and something I can control. I've also taken up different hobbies/crafts as a result of insomnia from all of this. Maybe sign up for a race-- to give you something to work towards?