Lightening Strikes Twice


Sue Gabbard

They say lightening doesn't strike twice! But within the space of 10 years I have lost two husbands - the first was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1986, and my second died in Sept., 1997. I think the hardest thing I've ever had to do was to tell my son, 3 weeks before his 9th birthday, that his daddy wasn't coming home. I remember coming home from work to find a State Patrol Car sitting in my driveway with my son playing outside. I sent my son to his friends and then said to the State Trooper, "My husbands dead, isn't he?" Those first days after the accident are a blur - I remember going to the funeral home, going to the attorneys, and answering the question "What Happened?" a hundred times. We had horses and that is why I got out of bed everyday - to feed the horses, because I knew my mother would feed my son but no one was going to take care of the horses the way I would. And, once I was up I might as well stay up. Paul, my husband, was killed in a hit and run accident by an illegal Mexican alien and I couldn't understand my almost uncontrollable rage when ever I would see a person of Mexican descent - it was all I could do to keep from running over them with my car or smacking them in the face. I thought I was going nuts because I have never been a prejudiced person and why all of a sudden did I feel like committing murder of a person I knew had no responsibility for Paul's death? This feeling went on for several months and it wasn't until much later I realized that anger is a normal part of the grieving process and I wasn't nuts! Three years after Paul was killed I met my second husband, Dennis (Den). Den spoiled me rotten - brought me coffee in bed every morning for the 7 glorious years we had together, did the laundry, helped with the housework. He was every woman's dream husband. Den was not only my mate, he was my best friend. I went to a business meeting and came home to find him dead in bed - it was quite a shock and my first reaction was "No, this can't be!" But, it was. Since I had already experienced the loss of a husband I understood the grief process and went through the stages quicker. This isn't to say I don't miss either one of my husbands, because I do, but life does go on and so must you. When I Den died I not only lost my mate, but I lost my best friend. We live in the mountains of Colorado and have horses and heat with wood and so I spent a lot of time last winter being angry at Den for having to get the wood in by myself and feed the horses when it was 40 below zero! But, in his own way Den was looking out for me - I was cleaning out the garage and found this old plastic sled that I didn't know where it came from. My son called (he'd joined the Navy 3 months before Den died) and I asked him where it came from - he said he and Den found it alongside the road and picked it up. That sled was my lifesaver! It hauled my wood, hauled my hay, took my trash to the dumpster and, if I was feeling really silly, even took me for a ride down the hill! And now spring has come, the grass is green, the wildflowers are blooming in the meadow on the mountain where I scattered Den's ashes and Life Goes On. There will always be a special place in my heart for each of my husbands I have lost, but there is also room for a new love someday.

Sue Gabbard



You can send email to Sue at: avonlady@theharddrive.net
mail welcome


anniversary date
date of post 07-24-97

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW