Monday, June 08, 2015

Bethany Bugay, 1960-2015

I wanted to let everyone know that my wife, Bethany, died suddenly on Friday, of an apparent heart attack. We celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary a week ago today (Monday, June 1). For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that she was diagnosed with a form of leukemia almost exactly four years ago, and she had a bone marrow transplant in December 2011.

She had a very difficult recovery from that, but she seemed to have recovered completely after a while. Indeed, these last three years have been a beautiful time for us, a true gift.

Recently, she has been feeling very good and healthy (after almost three years of being totally sedentary), and she started doing work in the yard. I think this became the thing that ultimately killed her.

She worked in an “assisted care” living center – not quite a nursing home where patients required medical care, but they were old and frail enough to require lots of other care. She loved the people she cared for, and because of her medical training, she was even able to save a few lives through the magic of CPR.

She had worked the prior evening, from Thursday night to Friday morning. She came home and slept, as she usually did, and I put in most of a day’s work. (I work at home). She got up, we chatted around the house, I was getting droopy, so we laid down to watch TV and we both dozed.

I slept about a half hour – she cuddled up close to me and we just fell asleep watching a Mafia documentary on NetFlix. (She was a prolific TV watcher). When I got up, I made some more phone calls. By 5:00 when I was done, she was up and about. I poked my head in the bedroom, and she said, “I hope you don’t mind, I ate all of the cabbage soup you made (it was a one-time experiment, making cabbage soup. But she loved it).

We went outside for a bit; we talked a bit about what I had been doing at work; she smoked a cigarette. She has been enjoying life greatly the last couple of years. In recent weeks, she has felt strong enough to do some yard work for the first time in years. (And of course, she loved protecting her yard work and garden from the local vermin). She had been digging up Yucca plants, and if you go to her Facebook page, you’ll see that she had posted photos of this titanic struggle. I think the combination of her sedentary life these last years, and the new (and quite determined) exertions led to the heart attack.

While we were talking, she said, “I feel funny”. It seemed as if her heart started racing, she got cold and clammy. She said “I have to go to the bathroom”. While she was sitting on the toilet, she said, “get me a baby aspirin, and call 911”. I said, “are you sure?” She said “yes”. She knew what was happening. I hesitated because we don’t have good insurance, and I wanted to see if it would pass.

I got the aspirin and water for her. She went into the bed to lie down, but all she could do was to crumple in a pile on the bed. She said “I can’t move”. That’s when I got the phone and called 911. In the meantime, she had gone back into the bathroom. I found her on the toilet, and she said, “I think I crapped myself”. While I was on the phone with 911, they were asking me for symptoms, so I was asking her. And she was telling me ... “sudden heart rate, shallow breathing, cold, clammy skin, a pain in the center of my back”. I tried to gently rub her back. 911 told me the ambulance was on their way and so I put the phone down and went back to help her.

She said, “I’m going to have to lie down, get some towels out of the cupboard, spread them out, and help me lie down here”.

When Beth was nine years old, her mother had the first episode that had led to her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. She was in a grocery store with her mom and her little sister, when her mother fell down and lost her bowels and made a mess. She was a little girl, asking for someone to help her mother, and no one seemed willing to help.

I got a blanked and rolled it up to make her head comfortable, then I got some scissors and proceeded to cut off her panties and clean her up with baby wipes. I had her all cleaned up; her head started to twitch. I could see that her eye had rolled up into her head and she took her last breath. I kissed her and said “I love you”. Then I heard the ambulance, and I ran out to get the attendant. I told her it had only been about 30 seconds since her last breath, and so they commenced CPR. They said that they had gotten a pulse maybe some 20 minutes down the line, but it didn’t matter.

More links:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/06/thoughts-on-25th-wedding-anniversary.html

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-day-2011.html

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/search?q=beth

54 comments:

  1. Very sorry to hear about this great loss. May God bless you and your family in your grieving.

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  2. John, I'm so sorry. I'm praying for you.

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  3. Hi John,
    just wanted you to know that even way over here in Sweden, there is at least one T-Blog reader who is sorry for your loss and is praying for you. May God bless you.
    /Isac
    PS. Sorry if this is a double post. My phone is acting up.

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    1. Hi IWK, I don't doubt the global reach of the Internets. So far I'm just seeing one post. Thank you for your concern and your prayers.

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  4. John, I'm so sorry. I'm praying for you.

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  5. My condolences, John Bugay. Just prayed for you.

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  6. John, I have enjoyed your postings on Triablogue for a long time. I have always appreciated your clear writing style. My father had chronic leukemia and from diagnosis to the end was more than 15 years. He went home to the Lord in 1995. I understand in a small way your experience, although it was my parent and not my spouse. I am so grateful that when believers pass over that we are not without hope. We WILL see them again. May God fill you and your family with His Comfort and Grace to enable you to pass through this trial. Whether there are many who comment here or not, you can be sure that MANY will be praying for you in the days ahead. God bless you.

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    1. Kent, when I spoke last night, I mentioned a line from the song by Journey, "Faithfully". It's a line that I held close when she returned from Iraq, and it's a line that I am thinking about now: "I get the joy of rediscovering you". I get to go through her "stuff" -- which she never permitted me to do. I am so grateful to have been a part of her life.

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  7. I am sorry John. It is hard to lose a loved one. I will be praying for you.

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    1. Thank you Pseudo-A -- it is immeasurably hard; but the burden is lightened immeasurably as well by the love and prayers of those around us.

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  8. I'm sorry brother.

    Much love in Christ.

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  9. That is very sad. My prayers are with you, John.

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  10. John, prayers for you and your family, brother. May your wife see the face of our Lord forever.

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    1. Thank you Jim -- that she is immersed in the joy of knowing her Lord brings me great joy as well.

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  11. John, so sorry to hear about your loss. May you be comforted by the Lord's grace and by the blessing of the memory of the time that you had together.

    Peace to you.

    Eric Anderson

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    1. Thank you Eric -- you know, I am surrounded with "Bethany stuff", and my memories right now are a huge comfort.

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  12. Dear John Bugay I am truly sorry for your loss. God be with you.

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    1. Brian, thank you -- God is certainly faithful.

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  13. Your posts have been such a blessing. Im so sorry for your loss. Ill pray for you.

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    1. Michael, thank you for your prayers!

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  14. I want to thank Bethany for indulging your time online which has blessed so many.
    I hate what's happened. I hate it for you.
    May the Lord keep His promises to you both.

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    1. Hi RJ -- As someone has said to me, "there is no such thing as a "good death". It is a horrible and hateful thing.". We are not made for death, and even we who are survivors rebel mightily at such a thought. I am certain that the Lord will keep his promises to us!

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  15. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Cor. 1:3-5

    “O death, where is your victory?
        O death, where is your sting?”

    The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God,who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    1 Cor. 15:55-57

    Grace and peace to you, brother.


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    1. Hi CR, thank you for bringing these to mind. We sang a song last night that contained the verses from 1 Cor 15. It seems to me as if several hundred people came through yesterday, and there were maybe 100-150 for the memorial service last night. It was an amazing thing to be a part of.

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  16. My many prayers for Bethany were not wasted. My prayers now go out to you.

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  17. My many prayers for Bethany were not wasted. My prayers now go out to you.

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  18. wow . . . so sorry John; I am praying for you.

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  19. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss John. I can't imagine the pain I would have if my wife passed away, especially so suddenly. I come from a private family, so I was a little surprised at the details you shared with us but I appreciate it. Hopefully this account can help someone save a life later on down the road.

    May God Bless you John. Keep fighting the good fight.

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    1. Thanks Zipper ... I know this was a little personal -- I had written most of this to the other writers here; it's just something I think that's a part of life. So I don't mind to share it, it was a big concern of hers.

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  20. Thank you for sharing this with us, John. Our hearts break through continued prayers for you.

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  21. 2nd Corinthians 5
    1-For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2-For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3-inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4-For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5-Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

    6-Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7-for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8-we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9-Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10-For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad...


    2nd Corinthians is the comfort and encouragement book. Thank you Lord for the assurance my brother and his family have in your faithfulness in bring our sister home. Never to shed another tear.

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    1. Tiribulus, we can't even imagine what joy she is experiencing now.

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    2. Amen. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard.

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  22. This was a very beautiful post, John. Will be praying for you.

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  23. I'm very sorry to hear this, John. You are in our prayers.

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  24. I'm very sorry to hear this, John. You are in our prayers.

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  25. I'm very sorry to hear this, John. You are in our prayers.

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  26. John, after reading your post I felt I should comfort you with mine. In no way is this post meant to take away from Bethany's passing. I want you to know I too felt hesitation leading up to my fathers passing 7 years ago. I remember these moments crystal clear.

    I went to work on a Friday, my dad had an appointment with his doctor. Rachel (sister) drove him to and from the house.

    His appointment wasn't the normal Saturday dialysis - this was to check his body over. On the way home from his appointment they stopped at McDonalds.

    I came home around the 6 o'clock hour and shortly after he complained of chest and arm pain.

    I'm sure you know of my dad's stubbornness and so after a few attempts of convincing him to call 911 he refused.

    He, like Bethany, requested Aspirin and a drink.

    He took his Aspirin and lied down - this around the 7 o'clock hour. While he rested I took to the phone and called Ashley - explained what had happened and her advice was to call 911 regardless of what he said.

    I decided NOT TO CALL and go about my business for the evening and eventually to bed.

    It wasn't until 12AM, now Saturday, that I woke up due to my dad yelling "JIM get me a wet washcloth"

    I was awake, understood what he wanted, however not the one to immediately wake up and know what the hell is going on...

    So I rush to get him a wet washcloth and as I made my way to his bed, which I must say was next to mine (livingroom, slept on the couch).

    Before I could give him the washcloth it was too late he had muttered his last words and breath.

    The entire episode lasted only a few minutes.

    I didn't know what to think or do and instead of calling 911 I threw the washcloth on his bed and went back to sleep.

    Sleep was not in the books for me and as you may be feeling right now being awake the rest of the early morning knowing damn well what had happened, crying and wishing it was not true.

    Somehow I managed to cry myself asleep and by morning light .... Cried more, validated his passing, called Jake (brother), called 911 and waited...

    Sweet loving Bethany, yourself John, and the rest of the Bugay dynasty came to my aide, my families aide with a cooler of huggies and warm arms ready to hug!

    After reading this John I'd like you to take away a couple of points.

    First, have comfort in knowing you aren't alone in hesitations.

    Second, have comfort in knowing you DID call 911.

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    1. Thanks for sharing this Jim; I did not know all of these details.

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  27. Hello, my very godly father went to be with the Lord three months ago and I am grieving. The only words that bring comfort are God's assurances that I will see him again. May you also find comfort in God's promise:

    1 Thessalonians 4.
    13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
    14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
    15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
    16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

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    1. Thanks ProveAllThings. I am sorry to hear about your father. Yes, God's Word is full of assurances. Sometimes it is hard to bring them to mind, especially, as I'm finding, my emotions get all stretched to pieces over all kinds of different things.

      I've found that I have some really good friends who have taken it upon themselves to keep reminding me of these things. I am totally out of my element here; it is hard to sleep, hard to focus, hard to just simply move some times. It is taking the people around me to help lead me through.

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  28. Sorry to hear it, John. Best thoughts and wishes.

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