It was 2 days before their son’s 12th birthday. Joanne’s husband Andy went to lay down for a nap and never woke up. Faced with running her business and raising their two children alone, Joanne found herself experiencing many firsts. Watch her heartfelt story.
When I started this, I promised myself I would be open and honest. My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few years ago. We received the call one night at 2 a.m. that she had passed, and was asked to come to her apartment. To this day, I don’t know why I didn’t think this through. When my wife Gloria and I walked into the apartment, there was my mom passed away on a hospital bed. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that was the way it would be, but I didn’t.
During my mom’s funeral home setting, I don’t recall seeing her in the casket. All I remember is seeing her as I entered her apartment. I talked to Gloria about it and said, “Please, I never want to be put in that situation again.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly how I found my wife Gloria—passed away in our bed. I cannot get that out of my head. The person I loved more than anything passed away. This sticks with me to this day.
One night when I was drinking by myself at home, I opened a bottle of liquor to go along with my beer. After finishing the bottle, I went in to our bedroom, sat on the bed, and thought about how I would never get that sight out of my head, and tried to think how I could. I came to the decision that the only way to get it out of my head was to commit suicide.
I grabbed the gun and the bullets, and then loaded the gun. I decided I didn’t have to write a note, because I would be found on the bed where my wife died and it would be self-explanatory. I thought all my kids are big enough, they all have kids, and they don’t need me anymore. Then I thought of who would find me. The one person who checks on me is my stepdaughter Alecia, and she has a key. So Alecia and Heather would be the ones who find me.
I realize that drunks aren’t smart but I was thinking, Chuck, you can’t handle finding Gloria passed away, and here you’re going to run from your problem and pass it on to the two girls.
Needless to say, I don’t really drink anymore. Alecia asked me to get the gun out of the house, and I did. I will just deal with this the best I can.
Written by Chuck Andreas. Chuck’s wife Gloria died unexpectedly from heart disease in 2014. Read his full story in Grief Diaries: Through the Eyes of Men.