Widowed AF

#95 - Analia Boltuch

February 12, 2024 Rosie Gill-Moss Season 1 Episode 97
#95 - Analia Boltuch
Widowed AF
More Info
Widowed AF
#95 - Analia Boltuch
Feb 12, 2024 Season 1 Episode 97
Rosie Gill-Moss

Analia shares her story of meeting her husband, their life together, and the tragic event that led to his sudden death. She discusses the challenges of being a solo parent and the impact of grief on her life.

We cover the often tricky process of dating and finding love again, as well as the importance of preserving memories and creating new ones. Ultimately, it emphasizes the resilience and strength required to rebuild life and find joy in the midst of grief. Analia's journey is not just about immense tragedy, but also about the fight back.



Web: (https://www.widowedaf.com)
Instagram (@widowed_af)
Watch on (YouTube)

Don't forget to subscribe !

Show Notes Transcript

Analia shares her story of meeting her husband, their life together, and the tragic event that led to his sudden death. She discusses the challenges of being a solo parent and the impact of grief on her life.

We cover the often tricky process of dating and finding love again, as well as the importance of preserving memories and creating new ones. Ultimately, it emphasizes the resilience and strength required to rebuild life and find joy in the midst of grief. Analia's journey is not just about immense tragedy, but also about the fight back.



Web: (https://www.widowedaf.com)
Instagram (@widowed_af)
Watch on (YouTube)

Don't forget to subscribe !

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Hello, and a very warm welcome back to Widowed AF. You're here with Rosie Gill-Moss, and I have a guest from across the pond today. I am delighted to announce Analia on the podcast. Hello! Did I say that right?

Analia Boltuch:

Analia.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

We had a conversation of Mike because Leah, as I know her via Facebook, cause we are part of what was the hot young widows club, aren't we? We are the OG members. And, um, we had this kind of chat about, like, we don't, we've not really had a conversation about, I actually don't know how your husband died and I deliberately didn't look because I like to find out. And we've talked about this before we came on and why I do it, so I won't bore you again. Um, but welcome, and thank you for coming on.

Analia Boltuch:

Well, thank you for having me. I, um, I'm nervous. I'm excited. But, you know, I think, um, It's a good thing to get the story out. I think, I think it'll also be kind of cathartic in a way, um, you know, but it's also as I've, you know, seen you grow in our group, you know, what you've achieved, um, since we've known each other virtually has been amazing, you know, taking our stories and sharing them with other people in the world who, you know, when we were in our initial stages, we didn't have this sort of resource. You know, I remember when, you know, I was first whittled, I couldn't find any sort of information. It was hard to find, um, people in my sort of situation at that point.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, it's very

Analia Boltuch:

you know, exactly. And that's, you know, that's when we turned to Facebook and we stumbled upon this group, you know, which the hot young widows club, you know, now known that the, the, the mama group and grew firmly

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Formally Attractive Jazz. Formally Attractive Group. But I liked it and I

Analia Boltuch:

um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And I think much like WAF, the name of it attracted me because it wasn't, I mean I did join Widowed and Young, which is a British support network, but I didn't feel ready for that then, but I like that sort of tongue in cheek name. And it's why I went for Widowed as Fuck for the podcast, because although I know it might deter a few listeners, I felt, I don't, if they're not my tribe, it doesn't matter. So, you know, Vibertrux, your tribe and all that jazz. Um, and I think it was the shared dark humor and the ability to find People that you could talk to in the night and people that understood and people that were around our age and people that were making massive fuck ups and, you know, doing stupid things and nobody judged. And I found it just, I think that group saved me. I mean, whether I'm a literary or metaphorical, I don't know, but I, I found solace there and to be able to meet you guys as in, you know, as it were across the screen is such an honor for me because. I, I wouldn't, you know, I can't fly around America all the time, although I did make it this year. Um, and, uh,

Analia Boltuch:

I didn't miss it, I know.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Where are you in America?

Analia Boltuch:

I'm in, I'm in Massachusetts, in Boston. The Boston area.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So perhaps we need to do another trip to

Analia Boltuch:

So that's the, when you come, take two. America trip, take two.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

we'll have to do an annual pilgrimage. I'll just have to start making money off the podcast. Yeah, that's, that'll have to have changed. Anyway, I won't, I won't hold you up anymore because we know what you're here to do and what you're about to do is brave and it's scary. And as you said, it's exciting as well because it's an opportunity. So, um. Tell us about Steve, tell us what happened, um, I know that you have two young children, similar age to mine, um, And I know that you have gone on to get your nursing degree, and you've done some really awesome stuff, that is you, isn't it, before I

Analia Boltuch:

yeah, I'm not the nursing degree one. So I did, but I did get my degree, yes. I did get my bachelor's degree, yes.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

somebody got a degree, um, well done, um,

Analia Boltuch:

all got degrees.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, I think, I think we're all just going, okay, this terrible thing happened to me, it's nearly six years since it happened. Um, what am I going to do? Who am I going to be? What's left?

Analia Boltuch:

100%. 100%. That's exactly it. It's like, okay, it's like, I need to find myself now. And that's exactly what's been going on the last few years. But yeah, all right.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Off you go. Welcome.

Analia Boltuch:

All right, so let's see. All right, so I guess we'll start with how we met. You know, that's how these stories should always start.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

always start.

Analia Boltuch:

As they should. Um, so he and I met in the time of dial up internet online. You know, before online was actually a thing. Uh, so back, you know, when we were teens, there were these chat rooms that everyone would hang out in. Uh, there were so many ones. We had like MSN, Yahoo. So they were like group weapons of the cities and stuff. So, um, we met on there and it was a funny story because he was actually talking up a friend of mine that I knew. And she's like, you know what? I think you'd like this girl better. You know, I think you'd like my friend better. And she introduced us, you know, we were 18. He was 19 or eight. No, we were both 18 at the time. 18. Yeah, we were babies. Um, and, um, so we, we, you know, it's just a matter of, you know, you're talking, you start chatting, you know, ASL, all that, you know, the lingo back in the, in the 2000s, you know, exactly. And, um, so we, we got to chatting, we got to know each other, you know, we chat online for a few weeks, actually, maybe even a few months. It was like throughout the summer. Um, And then, you know, he slowly evolved to like a phone call and then one, you know, a few months late, you know, a few months we was like, okay, let's chat on the phone and we got on the phone and we introduced ourselves. And the first thing I remember talking to him, it's like, oh, my God, your voice is so deep. He had this really like booming deep voice. Um, so, you know, we then, you know, we met and, you know, as teens date, you know, we just. Started dating, you know, we were, you know, he at the time was a freshman in college. Um, and I was, I had just graduated. Um, so, but I had not started college that fall, so I was still figuring out what was going on in my life. Um, so, you know, we, we, we went around, we, we, at the time, um, I snuck around dating. So, you know, we snuck around, we dated, you know, but as, as, as we, as we, as we grew more, I ended up transferring or applying to his college. And I got accepted. So, I decided I was going to go to Jordan. The college was not like in another state. It was literally like we, I lived in Brooklyn and his college was in the Bronx. Um, because we lived in New York at the time. So, it's, you know, it's just a, you know, an hour, an hour train ride between us or so. But at the time he was driving. Um, but yeah, so I applied to his college. I got accepted. And, um, so we were both dorming at the schools. He lived at the school as well. So we dormed, um, in in the buildings. Um, so we're both there. I, I started to, you know, get my degree there. And then, you know, after a few months or like a year later, we're like, okay, we're paying so much money for dorming. Let's. Get an apartment together. Okay, 19 year olds, you know, okay, let's get an apartment. We did that So like we literally just we started very young together We you know, he completed his degree. We you know, we live together. We both worked at that time He completed his degree. I focused more on working.'cause you have to realize we're now teens living on our own, you know, priorities shift. So he focused on his career. I focused on work. We, we, you know, we, we figured out our balance, you know, what worked for us. You know, we had a plan of how we wanted our future to be, you know, um, so that, that was our focus, you know? And as you know, we worked, we grew, we went through the ups and downs of just being together, growing up, going through, you know, becoming adults together. Um, you know, and as that as that went through, you know, we then, you know, we got better jobs. We moved to the city, you know, so we lived in Manhattan for a couple of years. We got to enjoy living in the city life with that, you know, we, you know, this was, you know, trying to, you know, enjoying life as best as you could given what you had, you know, we were growing up figuring out what we wanted with our lives. Um, he had a goal, you know, he was in I. T. So he was very, very focused in the career that he wanted. And. Or on the path that he wanted to take. While I was still figuring out which road I wanted to take. And I think that kind of, you know, happens in a way. Um, and then, so we, so this was on, we, we dated for, uh, you know, we did it for 10 years. Um, uh, you know, we, we grew, we worked, we went to school, we, you know, we, we, we did life together, you know, um, and then we got engaged and then we said, you know, at that point, we're like, okay, it's. We're at the point we were in our late twenties, like, okay, I think, you know, it's time to start a family. You know, we're thinking about those next steps. You know, we were both pretty stable in our careers at the time. Um, so we, you know, we, we got married, we did a simple, you know, city hall wedding, you know, closest friends and family. Um, you know, did some photos around, you know, kept it simple. It was just us, you know, obviously, you know, realize it's, you know, we were doing it all on our own. Um. And then, so yeah, then when you had kids, Oh wait, no, sorry. Let's edit that. I'm trying to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

do you know what? It's really hard to do a timeline, especially when you've been together for so many

Analia Boltuch:

Exactly, I feel like I'm blabbering like so much, so

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you'll know, not at all. It's lovely. I'm really, I'm getting a real feel for the relationship that you had. And, um, I'm actually gonna, if you're amenable, leave it in, but we can edit it if you want it. But, um, it's giving me, um, Ben and I lived in London when, before we had the children and we rented a tiny little flat above a Chinese restaurant in a little part of London called Blackheath, which is very, um, it's quite posh actually. So that's why we lived above a Chinese and we spent all our money just going out to restaurants and bars and gigs. And because we were earning decent money and we didn't have any responsibilities and our rent was fairly low, and we just had a blast. It was great fun. And I am so grateful that I had that opportunity to do that with him. Um, and it's a really pinnacle time in your life because you are figuring out who you are. So, um, I mean, it wasn't as glamorous as living in Manhattan, but I had that with Ben and it's something you, as you go in a new relationship, you don't get that, you don't, you never get that again, do you? That kind of innocence of youth.

Analia Boltuch:

Mm

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Sorry, I've totally gone off on one again.

Analia Boltuch:

It's exactly right. You know, it's, it's, it's, we did a lot of growing up together, you know, it's especially, you know, we both came from broken families in a sense, you know, he lost his father when he was very young as well. Um, so that, that plays a big part in, in, in my grief and, and post grief as well. Um, because I was worried, you know, obviously history repeating itself in a sense. Um, but, um, it's, you know, so it's, it was a lot of growing up, but it's, it's, yeah. Okay, so.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Can I, just out of curiosity, you mentioned there that Steve lost his dad young. Um, did that have a big impact on him? Because what I'm thinking is just the way that we dealt with grief when we were children is very different to how we deal with grief now. So. Back then, you know, it was kind of stiff up a lip, we don't talk about it. Often, I'm not saying this is the case for Stephen. Whereas now, we're much more kind of open and, and most people I know who are grieving. And, and we talk about them and they're very much part of our lives still. And I just, I'm just interested whether it, the way he was impacted by his father's death, concerned you when he died. Because I, I might be just completely making this up. Oh good, I'm on the money. Good. Ha ha

Analia Boltuch:

You are absolutely on the money, and me and his sister have talked about this, you know, because she was my youngest age when, when their dad died. So, you know, in a sense she could relate. Um, you know, uh, as to what my youngest was going through because she was in that situation. Um, you know, I won't go into the details about how they lost their dad. Um, but it was, you know, it was, it was tough on them. And I think that, um, they didn't have the same resources that we have that we have now,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I mean, even being able

Analia Boltuch:

know, not

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I tell my kids that Dad died?

Analia Boltuch:

no, but I think also not only that, not only for, you know, for the children, cause you know, they did do therapy, but I think for the widows themselves. And, um, you know, I think that, you know, plays a part, you know, because if you can't take care of yourself, how can you take care of the kids? You know, cause it's, it's, it's, it's especially as a widow, a solo parent, now you have that struggle or that responsibility, you are the sole person of everything. And it's like, it's so overwhelming at times. But

Rosie Gill-Moss:

isn't it?

Analia Boltuch:

it is absolutely terrifying and it is, it's, I think, you know, many people find it so hard to understand and relate to that if they're not in our shoes, but it is so overwhelming and so terrifying that you have to worry about every single soul decision

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And there's nobody to share it with. And one of the things I think about is when Tabby learned to walk, because she was a babe in arms. And it was when she took the first steps, and I filmed it. And then I thought nobody really cares. Like, yes, they care to a certain extent, but it's a baby, you know. The only people that genuinely are invested in it is really the mother and the father. And you've lost that co sharer of the celebrations as well as the hard times. And that's something, I think, that does take a lot of time to come to terms with. And I think it's why we don't very often like it being compared to when parent people get divorced. Which can be a form of grief and very traumatic, but often You are not the only person left, so, um, yeah, it is, it is a huge responsibility, and actually, take, tell me a little bit, take me back, so you, you've, you've got married, you've had a lovely City Hall wedding, which is totally what I'd do if I lived in New York, and, um, and then it's, it's, it's, it's children on the, on the

Analia Boltuch:

Yeah, so,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

of normal progression?

Analia Boltuch:

yeah, it's just children, you know, it's so we were, we had our first, uh, when I turned 30. baby boy. Um, so, and then, you know, um, at that point, you know, we're like, okay, he was three. I want to say we were still living in Manhattan at the time or not. We had moved. We had moved to, um, closer to Westchester at the time. Um, and we're like, you know, okay, you know, I think it's time, you know, if we want to expand our family, let's buy a house. So we went house shopping. Um, and we purchased our home in Westchester, New York. Um, when my youngest, um, was my oldest was three, say, um, and so, yeah, and then I, between my first and the second, we did suffer a loss. Um, but, you know, we were able to, um, get back, get pregnant back quickly. So we got pregnant back with our rainbow baby right after, um, and we had a second boy, um, in 2017. Um, coincidentally, my oldest had his birthdays in the same month as mine and with my youngest. So my oldest, I always joke about, I always tell this joke, um, my oldest was born by the 20th Um, and he was a labor day baby. So he said he came. Yes. Um, and then, so he was born in September and then my, my youngest, Was born in March. So when I was expecting him, the doctor was like, okay, since you've had your first this way Do you want to schedule your second? She's like, you know, what about this date? And it was my husband's birthday And my husband was like no, he can't be born on the same day as me. He can't have his own day Um, so it's funny. So we had scheduled it's for him to arrive after and then he actually arrived two days before daddy's birthday. So there his birthday is right before dad's birthday. Um, you know, so,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm in March, baby, as well. And I was, I'm the second and my dad, the eighth. So I think I was early as well. I could have landed on his birthday.

Analia Boltuch:

um, so yeah, so we each have one in our birth month. But yes, so we have to, we had two boys. Um, so yeah, you know, we we, we, We had a house, you know, after my second, um, we decided, or well, I decided I wanted to, you know, figure, I wanted to stay home with the kids, but I wanted to figure out, you know, my, you know, I don't want to just stay home. I want to do something. Exactly. Um, so we came up with a plan and I actually, um, we formed my own business, um, which I, which I ran pretty well, you know, and it allowed me to stay at home and be with the kids and, you know, do things with them and things like that. It was working very well.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

What was it?

Analia Boltuch:

I said it was working very well. I'm sorry. A virtual assistant business. Yeah. So I opened the virtual. Yeah. So I was able, you know, to, to do work for clients remotely, things like that. So it gave me the flexibility to be with the kids. Um, so. And also Steve, he worked from home, so that kind of worked for both of us, we were always home or we were, you know, we, we got to, you know, he had the office upstairs, I had my office downstairs, um, so you know, it worked because we were, we were more home based for the kids as well.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Analia Boltuch:

Um, so come 2018, the dreaded year of our group, because we are all in, most of us are in the same, uh, bracket, or same timeline, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yes. You say, we all say it's 2018 and there's this sort of collective groan, isn't there?

Analia Boltuch:

Oh, I know, I know. You know, but I think, I think that's what makes our group special.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yes I do.

Analia Boltuch:

relate. We can all, we're all going through the same thing. Um, but so, 2018, summer. Um, we are working. The oldest is at camp, summer camp. So, you know, we do summer camp. You know, so it's good to get him exposed. Um, he was getting,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that here, we really should.

Analia Boltuch:

Ha ha! I was like, you know, but it works. It's like, you know, we were working, you know, even I, you know, even though I had the flexibility for my work, I still had to work, you know, during the summer.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

be getting 75 snacks a day, can you? Yeah. Yeah.

Analia Boltuch:

I was already doing that with the toddler, uh, who was 18 months at the time. Uh, so I was still home with him, or he was still home. Um, but, um, so, it was July, and during that month, um, I had come across Um, a post of like this mom or this person that was doing like family photos. And, um, I had asked Steve, you know, I was always telling, asking for family photos and he didn't never really like taking family photos. Um, I was like, listen, it's right here. We can like do this. It's right by the park. It's like 15 minutes. You don't have to really do anything. So he gave it. He was like, okay, fine. So we, um. That weekend we I think we did the photos on Saturday. So we went to the park. We did family photos Then that Sunday I had I think I had won tickets to this Off broadway show called like the million bubble show or something Uh, it's just like basically they do all of these tricks with like bubbles and things like that So we all went as a family into the city. We went to see the show, you know, it was like The perfect family weekend, you know, everything's fine. You know, nobody was attached to their phones. Like we were just enjoying family time. Um, on our way back from the city that day, I, it was so funny. I'm sitting on the, so you take the train, the Metro North, which you heard in my background, um, that which here is called the T.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, I found that.

Analia Boltuch:

but, um, but, um, so I'm sitting on the bench. So it's like, he's sitting on the way by the window with the baby in his lap. And my youngest is here and I take a picture of them. And that's the last picture that I took of him and the kids that I have on my phone and I didn't realize that until after. Um, so this was Sunday. So then Monday we are back to work. Everything's normal. Um, Monday evening we had like, you know, we had a backyard, so we're like, you know, it was a really nice summer night. We, we had a fire. We hung out. It was a normal night. We're hanging out. Um, he was studying for a certification at that time for work. And um, I usually would go to bed earlier than him, I normally would go to bed earlier than him. So he had sent me a text that, that I saw in the morning, that I said like, don't let me sleep in till late. Too late because he was studying for justification. He wanted to wake up and you know, get everything you need to get done so that more the next morning we wake up and He wakes up to he's like, you know, he wasn't feeling too. Well, he had mentioned that his jaw and Actually, you during our time while we were dating, you know, we were healthy, you know, always, you know, healthy growing up. Um, but Steve used to have these episodes called basil bagel and this would happen, um, when When he would get triggered by something, let's say like if he, um, he was a mechanic at a time and let's say like if a hammer fell on his thumb and he split it and blood started spewing out, like the side of the blood would trigger his blood pressure and he would pass out or something like an emotional distress. What just caused him to pass out. Um, I think his sister, I think like when she draws blood, she kind of saw, um, when it gets blood drawn, like if she were to donate blood, kind of suffers from the same thing. Um, but, um, so throughout our, our dating time, um, he had like three or four episodes of vasovagal. Um, and you know, he, he, when he had told me about, he's like, you know, do this to me, like, if I fall, you know, right, I'm going to pass out, just make sure that I'm rolled over, that I'm breathing and he would like just wake up after like a minute or two. Um, so that I already knew the process of that. Um, so, um, Tuesday morning. When, um, he woke up, um, he had woken up, he had said that, you know, he wasn't feeling well, he had a headache, um, his, um, his shoulder was hurting and he said like his jaw, he said his left shoulder and his jaw were hurting. So we were like, you know, we're, you know, we're 37, we're like, you know, maybe you just slept wrong, maybe you just like, you know, didn't sleep right, you know, take a Motrin. Um, so that's what he did. He took a motion and he fell in and he took a nap on the couch. He's like, I'm going to take a motion. I'm going to take a nap on the couch. Just let it just work so I can wake back up and get start working on certification. Um, so I let him nap on the couch. And so he was napping on the couch and I'm sitting on the couch while I'm working on my laptop because I was watching some TV show or whatever. Um, and so he wakes up after a few hours. He's like, okay, I'm feeling better. Um, at that point I had put in the baby for a nap. Um, so like, it was like noon, I think it was 12 o'clock. Yes, no, it was like almost off, because between the hours of 12 and 2 are the hours that are ingrained into your, like, cement the forever. Um, but, um, so it was like before 12, he's like, I woke up, you know, he woke up, he, you know, Good, I'm gonna go up to my office, I'm gonna start working. So he does that, and so I'm, the baby's napping, and I'm sitting in the living room watching the show. And all of a sudden, I hear a thump upstairs. Uh, so, I put, like, first I call for him, and I don't hear him, so I put my laptop down, I go upstairs, and I see that he is, um, on the ground, so I'm thinking, okay, he's had a vasovagal episode, he, at that time, he was face down, so I rolled him over, I did everything that I was doing, I, he was breathing, so everything was normal, um, but he wasn't waking up, a minute had passed, two minutes had passed, Three minutes have passed.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And this is not normal.

Analia Boltuch:

He's not waking up.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

This is not normal. This is not Okay.

Analia Boltuch:

This is not normal He would always wake up after a minute or two from this episode these up these episodes of this Was not normal. He was not waking up. So I go I go get like a wet washcloth I go like, you know, maybe like, you know, he cuz he's still breathing. I hear him breathing. So I'm like, okay, like what's going on? I get a washcloth. I'm like maybe like he needs blood, you know, respect is it I lift up his legs He's not waking up. Okay, and it's just me at the house. Baby's still napping. He's on the floor So I grab my phone. I, I, I start, I call 911 because like, what is going on? So I'm like, I call 911. Um, I'm like, okay, my husband has collapsed. I don't know what's going on. He's breathing, but he's not waking up. They're like, is he breathing? I'm like, I hear him breathing. You know, so they'd like start CPR. I'm like, okay, I'm doing CPR, but he's breathing. Um, they'd like an ambulance would be here in five minutes or whatever. So like this is going on. I have to run downstairs and open the door to let the people in and I'm going back upstairs. So all of a sudden my house is invaded by medics. They run upstairs. They go to see, they ask me, you know, how long he's been down at this point. He has been down for about five minutes. still not waking up. Um, so they start, they kicked me out of the office. Um, and so I'm like, okay, at this point, like time starts like going slow motion, like literally like everything just starts like stop. Right. So, you know, I'm like, okay, what do I do here? I, first I start trying to Texas sister who at the time lives in Massachusetts. I lived in New York. So, um, She's like, okay, maybe let me text her. Let me call her. Maybe there's something. I don't know about him I've been with him for 18 years. What could I not know about his health? Um, but he was also 37 and he would not go to the doctor because he was healthy I had nothing, you know, he's like why do I need to go to the doctor unless something was actually I'm texting her. I'm like 1, I need you to call me, um, and then I'm calling my neighbor who, my, my lovely neighbor friend, um, she passed away a year after him, but she was like literally like a grandmother to my kids, she was like a mom, like, I love her, I loved her so much, um, but I'm like, I'm calling her, I'm like, friend, I don't know what's going on, Steve collapsed, can you come over here and be with the baby, I don't know what's going on, um, so she runs over, And at the time, also, we shared the same cleaning lady. Um, so my cleaning lady was at her house at the time doing cleaning, so she runs over as well. Um, so they're both at the house, they're, they're trying to see, the baby starts waking up crying. I'm in the bedroom, a police officer's asking me questions, like, what did he eat? I'm like, he just collapsed, I don't know what's going on. Um, so they're like, okay, medics are going to take him to Um, hospital. Um, I'm like, okay, let me jump in the ambulance. They would not let me get into the ambulance with him.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Why?

Analia Boltuch:

They would not let me get into the ambulance with him. I'm like, why can I not get in the ambulance with him? They're like, no, you, you need somebody to take you. I'm like, okay, I'll drive. No, you cannot drive to the hospital. Somebody needs to take you. Okay, so I'm like, okay what I do I have the baby here the my oldest is still in camp I'm the only person here who's gonna pick, you know, I'm like frantic what's going on? So when Fran is I said Fran stayed here with my baby. I called my brother I'm like, I need you to come here stay with the kids. My neighbor's here. I need to go to the hospital Something's going on. So My cleaning lady's husband, who he was an electrician. He was a sweetheart also. I love that man as well. Um, he drove, he's like, I'll take you to the hospital because her husband had called. She's like, come here, whatever. So he started me to the hospital and like the hospital is literally like five minutes away. And I swear it felt like it took like 20 minutes to get there.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Every red light, every traffic jam, I,

Analia Boltuch:

my God, it was the worst. Um, Oh, but then it gets even better. Um, because then I get to the hospital and I go to the ER window, I'm like, my husband was just brought in. Um, can you let me know where he is? They're like, okay. They let me into the ER, so now you have the bays. And they're like, um, we need to wait in front of this door. Somebody's going to let you in here. So it's called the family room. I'm like, okay, why do I need to go to the family? Can you take me to my husband? No, we need to let you in here. So, of course then, the door was locked. The nurse couldn't find the key. So I'm standing in the middle of the ER floor waiting for somebody to open this door and nobody's telling me what's going on.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Must have been terrified.

Analia Boltuch:

um, and so finally a nurse figures out the door they get me in there and I'm there now waiting and a minute later a doctor comes in and he's like You know, we've, we've tried everything we can, we cannot bring him back. He's been down too long. Do you want us to keep on? I was like, of course I want you to keep on. I don't know what happened. Like, why is he like, he just fell. Um, so they kept, they kept on trying and they could not bring, at some point, I think after I read like the records, they were able to bring him back for like a minute or two. But, um, It just wasn't holding. It was just gone for too long. And, you know, so at the point, it's like, Okay, my husband just collapsed. And at the point, the doctor had to come back. And he's like, he's been down too long. We have to make a decision here. We can't, you know, it's in the ER. Um, so it's like, you know, there was nothing else that could be done at the time. So, at 142, they had to call it. So, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

What was the date? What was the date?

Analia Boltuch:

um, July 31st.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I just, I don't know why I wanted to write it down, but it's just where you've told me the exact time, and I thought, gosh, that exact time is burned into your mind, isn't it? That 1. 42pm on July the 31st.

Analia Boltuch:

like three years after, I literally like, I needed to like black lock myself or like go to sleep for like those two hours. I would take the day off of work or something and just like I needed to just like zone out. Like I could not, um, it took a lot of therapy. To be able to, heh, be able to get through the day in one piece. Um, it's definitely been a struggle. Um, but so, then asked me if I wanted to see him. And so I'm like, okay, they take me to the, to the room and you know, they closed the door. It, luckily it wasn't like a room with just a curtain. So it was like a room with like a door, um, a bay with a door. So they were able to like close me in there. So like, you know, take all the time you need. Um, so I'm just there with him, you know, and I don't know what to do. Like my life just isn't done.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And that, and it's that, it's this suddenness, isn't it? That one minute your husband is well, and, and in your life and exists in the world, and the next minute you are being told that they don't exist and you don't know why and what, and I, I'm hearing here that you have no clue what's happened. You know your fit in well, husband is just died in your house. And I'm just, I'm, I'm so sorry. I know it's, it's a. Fairly pointless platitude, but I am so sorry that this happened to you. I really, really am. Were they able to give you a reason at the hospital? Or were you left, um, sort of with a great unknown?

Analia Boltuch:

Um, so it's officially ruled as coronary artery disease. he was a smoker. Um, but you know, based on the autopsy, you know, cause they're like, of course I would, I want, I need to know, I need to know what's in his heart. Was it, you know, what was it that, you know, what is what I need an answer. And, you know, it's a lot of stuff came in conclusive. Um, but, um, it's just, yeah, they, they have it ruled as coronary artery disease because it's like, you know, 50 percent of, of one of his arteries was clogged, but yet, like, everybody walks with 50 percent of their arteries clogged and they're walking around. How, why did this happen to him? Um, and it took a long time to accept that, you know, um, to, to accept that, you know, that that can happen, but, you know. It's it's you know, they it's something they said his heart just stopped the heart just stopped and you know, I come You know I come later to find out that there is a little bit of familial history with heart issues in the male side of the family But you know, we didn't think of it, you

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm not 37 anyway.

Analia Boltuch:

Not at 37, you know But because of this now my boys do have to be checked Um, to make sure they get heart checks and, you know, every few years to make sure that the hearts are growing okay and that everything is okay because, um, you know, it has happened. In the male side of his family, um, but so, you know, in the ER, we're there, so I'm like, okay, well, I don't even know what to do. I'm sitting there, so this is, so the next thing is going to like, uh, was, was an act of pure shock because like, I literally didn't know what to do, but like, this is just to tell you how toxic American work culture is. Um, the first thing I do is I take out my phone and I send an email to all my clients and I'm like, I'm sorry. I'm going to be out of the office for the next two weeks. My husband just died. Sorry for any inconvenience that may cause. And, um, you know, then I'm like, okay, I have to call Steve's job. Steve worked for a big IT, a big tech company. Um, so I'm like, okay, I don't know how to get in touch with its boss. I don't know, you know, if he was supposed to be in a meeting, you know, like maybe he was supposed to be like, I need to get in contact with someone. So, um, I contacted one of his colleagues, um, who, Dan, who, you know, they worked together, you know, throughout their careers, and they actually worked at the same company at that time, um, and he lived at Seattle at the time, but coincidentally, he happened to be in New York that day. He happened to be in New York that day. I called. I was like, Dan, this happened. I don't know what I need to do. I need to get in contact with, with the job. I need to know what to do. He's like, tell me where you are. I'll run up to Westchester right now. And him and his other colleague, Shiva, were also, who was also Steve's friend. Um, they both rushed up to, met me in the hospital. Um, and then. You know, also at the point, you know, like somebody needs to take you home, but they Ubered. So we didn't have an Uber. But at the point also when the doctor told me what happened, he's like, you need to call someone to be with you. And, um, okay. I'm like, who can I call my brothers with my kids? Um, my neighbors with my kids. I didn't have much family else here. My sister in law is in Massachusetts, so. I called a friend, um, a co worker, Erica, who like, we were like, we, we, we were not working at the same company anymore, but like we stayed close, you know, Facebook friends, text, whatever. I was like, but I knew she was the closest person who could get to me. So I texted, I was like, Erica, this happened, can you please come meet me at the hospital? Um, so she just dropped everything and she just ran to be by me and then her and Dan and, um, you know, after, you know, a hospital like, okay, you know, we need to take you home. Um, so they're taking me home. And, um, so, you know, his sister, I finally got in contact with her. She, at the point, was five months pregnant with her first. And, um, so he didn't get to meet his nephews or niece now. Um, um, but she just, her and her husband just rushed down from Massachusetts. They got in the car and they just started driving down to meet. Um, so it's just, I come home and like the office upstairs is a mess because of the medics. So it's like. You know, Steve's colleagues went and they cleaned up the office for me, and like, you don't need to see any of that, and like, I had like, me defrosting on the, on the kitchen because I was supposed

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Just normality.

Analia Boltuch:

like, you know, and then, in between all of that, I have the Oregon door and the people calling me. Every hour. Like, we need to know what you want to do with his organs. I'm like, what do you mean?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

god.

Analia Boltuch:

They're like, we need to know. Because the cock is ticking. I'm like, I don't know what to do. I have like family driving down from Chicago, from Florida, like everywhere now. Because it happened, you know, at the hospital. Um, one of Steve's relatives is a cardiologist. So I had to give him permission, authority. The doctor to speak to him because I'm like I need you to speak to someone who can break this down to me because I cannot understand you right now. So I gave him authority to speak to him and like everyone just started coming down like on the phone and telling me everything and so um. So, in the middle of all that, my youngest, um, not my youngest, my oldest, is home. And I told my brothers, like, don't tell him, don't tell him, Busty. Now, my husband used to travel for work, and so we were used to him being away from home, you know, three, four, five days a week sometimes, so I didn't tell, you know, for the, I held off on telling my youngest, my oldest, for two days. Um, we made it. Daddy's on a trip. Um, because I needed to figure out what to do. Like, we needed to make decisions. We were 37. We didn't have plans in place. We didn't, you know, we didn't have these decisions made. We didn't know what we wanted. Like, I kind of knew what he wanted, but I also had to think about what I had, you know. Not only what I wanted, but it's like, what the kids, it's like, you know. Did I want to have a burial and have the kids have my oldest be that the last image that he saw of that? No, so I decided that I think he unified he that's not that that's not the route that I took Um, you know, so I remember that night at the so at that point, you know My sister in law had gotten there and like she's taking care of the kids I'm like literally like just like in the days I finally had told the Oregon donor just Do what you need to do, just stop calling me, just at this point, just, it's okay, just do it. Um, because I knew what I was going to do anyway, so I was like, just, just do, you know, but luckily his donation was able to save firefighters. Um, he, he was able to donate his corneas and he was able to donate bone and firefighters for burn, um, for burn firefighter victims. So, know, he was able to do good for the world.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

He did good even after he was gone. That's something quite, I think of Billy when you say that actually.

Analia Boltuch:

mm hmm.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and his husband's heart saving someone else. And this kind of idea of being able to do good.

Analia Boltuch:

Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Um,

Analia Boltuch:

but you know, it's, it's, I was, I remember that night, like I posted on a Facebook group as an Ananas post and like a mom group, I was like, my husband just died. I don't know what to do. Like, how can I support my kids? Like, what, what can I do? You know, like, is there anything available in the area? And they had directed me, one of the people talked about this bereavement center in Westchester and was like, I got to tell you that place. like an absolute, like God said, you know, not only for the parents, but also, um, for the kids as well. You know, they would do like. at the point, you know, we had to wait six months before we were able to, um, go before we were accepted. Um, but, you know, they got the kids to like the kids in the same age group to like talk about, you know, their grief and the parents got to deal with their grief, you know, it's like you got, you know, it was really good for both of us. He got to relate to kids. His age going through the same things,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm sorry, just to interject. Was this a, um, like a, a, a recurrent thing? Because it's reminding me quite a bit of, um, something that I've utilised, which is a, quite a small local charity called Holding On Letting Go. And the children go and talk about their loss with other children and key workers. And the, um, parents, or the, whoever the adult is, they can go and they sort of do a, Um, I mean, I did it and you sort of make sand memory jars and you do craft and, and you do things that you don't normally do as an adult. Um, but it's just a two day thing. And I was just wondering whether this was a more, um, frequent thing that

Analia Boltuch:

this one was a more consistent thing. So this one kind of ran like during the school year and it was like every other Tuesday. Um, so it was like great, like they would do like family pizza. So all the families would have pizza together and then you would break up into your groups. It was really great. And then COVID hit and, and, and, and turned it all virtual, but it was amazing while it lasted and it was just such a great resource. Um, you know, um, But, so, so I remember, um, my oldest had, like, it was the end of camp, and they had like the end of camp show, and I remember I was going to see some of the moms there, you know,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

goes your train.

Analia Boltuch:

town, everyone, I'm sorry,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I said there goes the train.

Analia Boltuch:

yeah, the train, yes. Um, but, um, I, so we were all, the people in the neighborhood knew what had happened already. It was, you know, it was a small community, everyone, you know, knew, um, I, and, um, so some of the mom friends that I knew, I was like, I'm going to the show today. Joe mentioned about Steve. I haven't told him yet. I'm telling him today. I wanted him to like, enjoy his last days of camp. You know, he was five at the time. You know, I didn't want to have to break a five year old boy's heart. You know, like, I didn't even know how to do that. You know, um, and then, you know, it's, it's, it, I needed to like, get my thoughts together in those two days. Like, I was like, locked myself in the office, like, trying to figure out paperwork and this and that. And just. Where do I even start? Um, but, so, we went to, I went to the show, we came home, and I told them, I was like, something happened with Daddy's heart, you know, he died, you know, and he, you know, he took it like any 5 year old would, you know, he cried, and then like 5 minutes later he went to go play with Legos, you know.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Little psychopaths, right?

Analia Boltuch:

It's like, okay. Um, but you know, it's,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

but before the, before you told anybody this, you thought that your child was the only one that had done this. Right? And it's only when we say, oh no, my child did the same thing. They cried and then they started playing Harry Potter and I thought there was something wrong with them, you know, that they hadn't Wait. Why are my kids not reacting the way I would expect? And whilst you don't want'em to cry, but. That feels like the normal reaction, but what they do is the normal reaction, isn't it? They can't, they cannot cope with that level of information. Um, and I had a five year old actually, Hector was five. And, um, it's a really difficult thing for them to understand. It's, I, I think my seven year old was able to understand more. And my five year old actually, he's probably, he's not really processed properly yet. And, um, I do think trying to explain to a child of that age the magnitude of what's happened is so difficult. And of course the little one, I mean, they know something's happened. How on earth do you tell an 18 month old?

Analia Boltuch:

yeah, it's, it's, it's, you don't, daddy's here one day and daddy's here, not here another, you know, and it's like with him, it's, it's one of the biggest struggles I have with him is because he doesn't have any memories of dad. You know, it's like the memories that he has a dad are only the ones that he hears about or the ones that we can show him in pictures, you know, my oldest will barely have memories of him as he as he continues to get older, you know, it's like, oh, we have our pictures and like, you know, I wish I had more videos. I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh my god, me too.

Analia Boltuch:

I wish I have one video, two videos with his voice. And it's like one of them is like a work speech he's doing, but it's like, it's his voice. It's him. You know, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

My dad is,

Analia Boltuch:

but yeah

Rosie Gill-Moss:

there. My dad is a, um, a former broadcast journalist. And he, um, had this kind of, like, big camera. And he, he just used to take it around. It used to really get on my nerves because I was like, Oh, God, stop filming me, Dad. But what he has created for me, I've yet to watch it, is a catalogue of videos that I've been in. So every piece of video, That he ever got with Benin is, has been curated and kept for me. I've not been able to watch videos. Um, I said I was going to do it last year. I had quite a lot on last year, so I might try this year, and much like you, your boys, um, mine are sort of aware of the, um, the grains of sand, you know, the, the, the feeling of them slipping through the fingers, and, um, they actually have quite recently, my now 11 year old, uh, has been asking to see more, and hear more, and, Is aware and has even said the words, you know, I feel like I don't remember him and my my little one who was six months she is now reaching the point where I think some therapy is going to be put in place because For her she'll say things like oh, it's really sad that daddy didn't get to meet me. Oh my Oh my god, he did meet you and he loved you so much. But it isn't fair, and I think this lack of real memories, you know, she can pick him out of a photograph, she has a bear made from his clothes, and I even have a handprint that we made, that I did in her room, but that's not enough. It's not enough, and we bear the responsibility of keeping those memories, and it's a big weight to bear, a big responsibility, but it's something that I know that you have chosen to do, and I've chosen to do, and as a result our children will be, will be better, happier, feel safer. But, it is, this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, is to tell children that their dad had died, and then subsequently raise them through the, the fallout of it. Um, but yeah, you talking about videos, I, I, I think actually I'm, I'm gonna push this and I'm gonna make myself do it. Because, if not, it's something to do for the children, if not for me.

Analia Boltuch:

Exactly, I think I think I've although I haven't been greatest with the videos. I've been more attentive of taking

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yes.

Analia Boltuch:

with the kids

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And not deleting everything where you don't look perfect, you know, just keeping them in your phone.

Analia Boltuch:

It's like, you know what, it's, it's, it's me with the kids. It's us because you know, I, I want them to have that, you know?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Not just the filtered selfies, you know, I want them to have the pictures of me playing with them and just take pictures of me, don't show them to me because I'll hate them, but just take them and keep them somewhere.

Analia Boltuch:

yeah, exactly. You know, it's, it's, it's, it's tough, but you know, it's, it's hard because at that point, you know, you're, you're struggling with your grief, which at that point, you don't know what it is, how you're even dealing with it, what you're processing, you know, the people that I had to call after. Um, the decisions you have to make, you know, arrangements and this and, you know, other other documents. It's like, you're just like thrown into like just this massive

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a full time administrative job that you don't have any training in.

Analia Boltuch:

Exactly. So it's like you're trying to figure everything out and it's just, then you're trying to manage that and then trying to manage your children's grief as well.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And you're broken

Analia Boltuch:

And then like, you know. Like you say, you know, you're making sure like is the reaction normal? Are they okay? Is there something wrong? Well, you know, so it's like it's a lot

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It is. It is, and it's something, um, and I think we will probably worry about it forever. We'll always be looking for signs that they've been impacted horribly. I did an interview, um, this is not a self promotion, I promise, but I did do an interview, there's a, a, uh, there's a, um, a, uh, therapist called Julia Samuel, who's quite renowned in this country, and she's worked And I spoke to her and I, I did ask her and I said, would I know by now if my children had been irrevocably, however you say that word, damaged by this trauma? And she said, yes, we would know by now. And I took quite a lot of comfort from that because my therapist has also said to me, I know you worry about fucking up your kids. I'm going to tell you that you already have because everybody fucks their kids up in some way. It's all varying degrees of damage, but it's just the importance of keeping them feeling safe and loved and able to talk about their emotions. And those are the real key things. I think I believe in, in enabling children to process grief because. Nothing is off limits. And I have an autistic son who will ask me some very direct questions. And where possible, I try and answer. I don't know because Ben's body is out in the English Channel. I don't know what killed him. We work on, um, um, you know, probability. But it's, it's important that we are clear and honest and open. And they see us grieve as well. I hid my grief. I used to cry into the laundry basket. And actually, I think. Seeing, seeing us go through this enormous, uh, catastrophic event, seeing us grieve, seeing us get better, and seeing us recover, that's maybe too much of a word because I don't think you ever fully recover, but seeing us grow, I think they in turn become more empathetic, they become kinder. You know, my, my eldest son, and I haven't actually said this on the podcast, um, he wrote me a letter at Christmas. He was telling me how much he loved and respected me, and how grateful he was, and I lost it. I mean, I just sobbed. I just, it's the most precious gift I've ever been given. And for him to acknowledge that at 13, um, and I just think we're making good humans here.

Analia Boltuch:

Man and it's like I struggle with that especially with my 11 year old now. It's just like he's going through the pre Preteen stuff and it's like I you know We struggle because I feel like we I have to pull stuff out of him. He you

Rosie Gill-Moss:

they're not talkers,

Analia Boltuch:

pull And so like I try to follow their lead when they ask questions about dad I try not to to bring it up unless they want to because I don't want to make them sadder So I try to follow their lead And when they ask questions, if they want to see pictures, if they want to go through stuff. Um, but yeah, it's a constant worry of trying to figure out, you know, as we used to say, not breaking the kids. I can't break the kids, not now, especially now. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and

Analia Boltuch:

know, it's, you know,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

know whether you're the same, but you feel a sort of, um, extra level of responsibility to make their lives wonderful, to give them the holidays and the Christmas. And I was sick over Christmas and I wasn't able to be present. So I felt awful. I couldn't really kind of figure out what it was and I realised it is this internal pressure that I put on myself, nobody else does it, to create perfect moments because of what they've, they've had stolen and we know that there's no such thing as perfect, they know there isn't and actually they had a lovely Christmas without me which is Um, but it is this idea of following their lead because I spoke to a friend of mine who lost her dad young and I have actually recorded it is going to go out as part of a series where I talked to people who lost a parent young. And one of the things I took from this conversation and. It was, um, the idea of enforcing grief. So, for example, anniversaries, I, sometimes you want, I don't know what to do. Why do I want to acknowledge that day, you know? Um, and she said to me, she was felt quite pressured to grieve on specific days or at specific times. And actually the grief comes as we know, it comes out of the blue. It blindsides you, you don't know when it's coming. And to enable them to have the freedom to grieve at their own pace, in their own time. I think that's a, that's something that I haven't been doing, actually. So we learn, we learn along the way ourselves. And I sort of said over Christmas, I bought some, um, you know, pens. And I said, you want to find a stone? And we can take it up to the church for dad's memory boxes. Um, and actually we didn't in the end. And that doesn't mean we weren't thinking about him and honoring him. And, you know, that he wasn't in our minds. But. It's how you, you don't have to make a pilgrimage somewhere where they're not there to think about them. There they are here. They're everywhere.

Analia Boltuch:

Exactly. Exactly. Um, but it's, it's, it's, it's, it's definitely a, a a lot to take on, you know, the last, you know, through the next few years, you know, after his, after his death. It, it was, you know, how do you go on, how do you live a life when all you've lived is a life with the person,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And that is you. But since 18, your whole life,

Analia Boltuch:

Exactly. So it's like, it's how I, I, it's, you know, I was this person because he was with me and it's like, okay, I literally, it's like half of me is gone, like, how do I do this? And it's like, you know, his, my sister in law, like they would drive down literally every weekend, they would come down, drive back up, drive down Friday, drive back up Sunday, drive. They did that for like three months. During the summer just to help me with the kids and just like

Rosie Gill-Moss:

that's so kind.

Analia Boltuch:

it's just it was all it was like it was it was Just of tremendous help because it's like it. I just was lost at that time and then you know I was you know at some point. Um, there was a group of moms. They're like I hadn't even known yet Um, they formed, uh, like a meal train for me and, like,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I've heard this meal train.

Analia Boltuch:

Yes,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

don't do this here.

Analia Boltuch:

Uh, yes, they did a meal train for me. So, like, I set up a cooler outside. I think I may have posted about this cooler in our group at one point. But, like, I had, um, I put a red cooler outside my door. And people would either drop off a meal for us and it would be in the cooler. Um, so they, they, you know, people fed us for a month. And, like, these, these group of moms, like, became my, one of, some of my best friends. Um, and, you know, for the next few years, like our kids grew up together, you know, our kids were all the same age, in the same classes, you know, and, you know, I was able to find a bit of a tribe there as I was going through my healing, you know, it's like, especially At that point, you know, it was just me and Westchester along with my kids, you know, my brother lived down in the Bronx, you know, but he had his own life, you know, his own family and stuff, but you know, it's in reality, it was just, yeah, me and the kids and it's like, okay, I also have to work at the kids have to go to school. I have to manage a house. I have to do this. I have to do that. It's just everything. Um, but you know, at, at some point I was like, you know what, it's I, I think we need a little bit more, I, I think it was at the point, it's like at the three year mark, or getting close to the three year mark of his death, I was like, I think. It's time for a change. I needed like a, I needed a reset. I needed like, okay, we, we, we, we've got, I feel like we're not getting anywhere. I feel like we're stuck. You know, I'm,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you're in survival.

Analia Boltuch:

were a survival, I was still carrying tremendous guilt that the most immense thing that, sorry, the train is coming

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's okay. I quite like it. Now I know what it is,

Analia Boltuch:

but,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

quite like it.

Analia Boltuch:

you know, it's, it's something that, you You know, the guilt is something that I carry with me for a very, very long time because I was guilt because I, I was guilty. I carry the guilt because I felt that I didn't do enough. Did I not get to him on time? Did I not call 911 quick enough? Did I not call CPR or did I not do the CPR right? That was a tremendous guilt that came over me like, you know, like, what could I have done? And I, I, I, The therapy that actually ended up helping me with this because I tell you I went to like six or seven therapists You know, but the therapy that actually ended up helping me with this was EMDR

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You know, I knew you were going to say that before you did. Um, I have heard so many of us experience this and have a really positive result. I've not done it. Now I, um, a bit embarrassing to admit really, but my psychiatrist doesn't think I'm ready. I think you need to be quite, I think, I also think you have to be quite specific about what you're going into on pic. Um, so I plan to do it and I

Analia Boltuch:

Well, it was, it was weird because when I, it was the same thing when I start, when I went, when I was researching it, it was like, yeah, they're like going to make you relive a certain point of it and this and that. But I tell you honestly, when I did it, it was, it was nothing like that. It ended up unveiling stuff from like my whole past that ended up being what tied the knot together. It was like. It, I didn't feel traumatic going into it. It didn't feel like I thought like I was going to be like, yeah, I have to go through every single detail of the memory that I want to focus on and, you know, hone in on, but it just, for some reason it would, we weren't even in that circle and it got fixed, you know, in a sense where I can actually get through those two hours in a piece. I can actually talk about it without actually bursting into tears. I can, I can. Accept that I did as much as I could and that the doctors did as much as they could and that it was just an unfortunate part of life. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, but that's, that's a, that's a tough pill to swallow, isn't it? That, that you are the victim of just a random misfortune in life. And I actually lost a, yeah. Right. Yeah.

Analia Boltuch:

not like we are strangers to trauma, you know, both him and I, we, we grew up with trauma. So it's like you realize as it's going on, you know, after this. In survival mode, you're focused on breaking the cycle. That's all my focus has been on is breaking the cycle. Breaking the cycle of trauma. Breaking the cycle of, you know, whatever childhood issues or things, struggles that we went through that I don't want my kids to go through. You know, all of that stuff.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Analia Boltuch:

just, yeah, it's been a tough focus because I don't, I will, I, I, you know, as any parent wants to, they want to shield their kids from as much as possible. But in reality, you know, they also have to be exposed to reality. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

They were just a bit young, weren't they? That's what I always say. I think it was, and it, whilst I don't wish a grandparent dead by any stretch, that should be the sort of normal process of how. This thing happens and, you know, a pet or an elderly relative for it to be your parent and it's, again, it's something I refer back to quite a lot. But have you ever seen a Disney film without a dead parent? So it is the, the thing that is used to symbolize, um, uh, coming out past an adversity and the worst thing in the world that can possibly happen to you as a child. And then. You're standing there, and I can almost picture you in this, in this room, and it's like a, a circus going on, you know, there's people whirling around you, and you're, you know, in a film when you're sort of standing still and it's all going around you, and you, you just haven't got time to catch your breath. I'm going back again to the kind of delay in telling your son, and I can really understand that, wanting to give them as much time of innocence as you possibly can. I, um, Actually, sorry, I'm just gonna, because the other thing you said as well was that Steve was at home a lot, so he was very involved with the boys. And I had found that with Ben, because he works, sounds like Steve actually, he works periodically, he'd go abroad to France for a week, and then he would be home, and he would work from home, and he would help with school runs, and you know, be around at dinner times and things, which was so wonderful, and I'm so grateful for. But if he had been a dad that worked hours where the kids, you know, barely saw him and he was out at the football at the weekend, the loss maybe wouldn't have been felt so significantly. So it's a bit of a mixed blessing, but I, much like I talked about the, um, you know, those freedom years before you settled down and having the, the, the. The luxury of having had that, I am glad that my boys had that much access to their dad while they did, but, um, it left an enormous, enormous hole in our lives, and, I don't think you ever get over it, I don't think we ever will, because Ben will never come back, I'll never see him again, and that is never going to be okay, ever, but what you do is you figure out a way of making a world, a new version of the world, Um, and I did that on my own, and now I do it with John. And actually I don't, I don't know whether you've met anybody, or whether you're, you're still flying solo over there.

Analia Boltuch:

No. I, I have, I have met a person. Um, so yes, we have been dating for almost two years actually. Um, so it's, it's going very well. It, it's going, oh my God. Going into the dating world

Rosie Gill-Moss:

oh

Analia Boltuch:

oh my goodness. Um, the dating world, I tell you, compared to, um. Listen, you have to realize I met my husband when I was 18. So technically I never dated. So I never dated in my twenties. I never did any of that. I didn't get that experience. So going into this, I was, it was a shocker. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

world out there, isn't it? How many

Analia Boltuch:

it was definitely,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

see?

Analia Boltuch:

Oh my goodness. It was just absolutely insanity. Um, Feliz, I think it's just a matter of, you have to dig, you have to dig, as I, as I used to say, you have to dig through the, the trash, you'll, you'll, you'll uncover the stuff, it's, it's, you know, you have to go on a, you know, kiss a couple of frogs, um, but, um, no, I, I have found a person, he is very sweet, um, so yes, we have been dating for almost two years,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And he's not widowed?

Analia Boltuch:

he is not widowed, he is divorced. He is divorced, and he has two grown boys, so his boys are already grown, and he's, you know, he's chosen to, to, to try to, you know, start over again. It's good to be involved with kids.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I say this to John because he had one, one daughter and I said, somehow you've ended up with four children, John. I think somebody did better out of that. But it's, he, he loves it and he's embraced it and he's, um, he was a girl dad because he had a daughter, still has her. Um, and now he has sons and I think the proudest moment he, he's had of late was when my eldest asked him, um, if he could help edit some footage and he was like, Oh! Hehehehe So it, it,

Analia Boltuch:

Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

don't you? You figure it out and you find a way of, of seeking out some happiness for you and your boys in a world that suddenly turned very cold and dark. Um, and I, I didn't realize that there were more similarities than I thought in our stories actually. I couldn't reach my parents, they were in South America and I can remember being on the phone and the police are there and I'm thinking, well who the fuck do I call? Like, who is the person that I say this to? And in the end I called a friend, well the police actually called her and then they explained at the door what had happened, so I don't think I'll ever forget the look on her face when she walked into the room because Like all of us felt, we were in part of a TV show or a film, this doesn't happen to people like us, right? You don't just get Your husband doesn't just die, unfortunately, it does happen and they do. And I, it's, it's just figuring out how to exist in this world that you didn't expect to inhabit. And I really liked the idea of this mum tribe coming out or mom tribe coming around and supporting you guys. And it just, it's often the women, isn't it? That come in and like, you know, my, my friend just emptying my bins and things, doing the, just the stuff that you haven't got the mental capacity for in that moment.

Analia Boltuch:

think it was more of just, you know, having people to lean on, having the kids having friends to lean on. You know, when I relocated to Massachusetts, it's been a big shock because, you know, I'm still trying to figure out and find my tribe here. Um, you know, my bestie still comes and visits me from New York, you know, I'm still trying to get her, she comes and sees me, um, but you know, it's, it's, you know, I'm still a new person here, um, even though we've been here for almost two years, but, um, uh, no, more than two years, um, but, you know, trying to still, you know, we're, we're still new here, we're still finding our way, finding our way around and getting to know people, um, But yeah, it's, it's, you know, it's, it's taken a lot, a lot, and it's, it's,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It does take

Analia Boltuch:

it's a tough, it's, it's, it's, it's a tough, you know, it's a tough thing to go through, and, and, you know, this is why I felt like, you know, doing this would be good, because it's, it's, you know, it doesn't matter how It happened, you know, in a sense, I think all the emotions that come after are all relatable, you know, we're all going through the shock, we're all going through the thing, and it's just how do you find your way, you know, how do you find the information, who do you lean on, and it's just everyone It's just something that is just inexplainable, you know, there's a lone, there's a loneliness that's never going to be felt ever again, no matter with finding a new person. Um, you know, as I've explained to the boys, I referred to him in our group, you know, um. It's, it's something that, you know, there's room our heart is capable of loving more than one person and my love for Steve will never, ever, ever go away. You know, if anything, it grows stronger each day that he's gone,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Did you love your sec did you love your first son less when your second son was born? No, of course you didn't. And it's not the same as having a child, but the human heart capacity for love is infinite. And it just takes the right person and finding somebody when you're widowed, because it, um, it's scary. It's really scary. Like you talked about going back into dating and I had a little, little foray onto the apps just to, I mean, it was curiosity as much as anything. I was more, um, and then I, I met John and thankfully that whole thing was taken out of my hands. But it, um, it's very scary because you're not dating as a single person anymore. You're dating as a mother and you're dating as somebody who has been in love with somebody else. So it's going to take one hell of a person to, to be somebody that. You're prepared to open your heart to. So I do like when people have met somebody, some choose not to, and they're perfectly happy that way. But I think to have somebody in your corner going through life is, is it's something I I'm grateful for and I really. struggled with when Ben died because he had my back. He was my person, you know, he would, like, I guess my Instagram posts, you know, if, even if you're wrong, they would take, they would take your side in public to tell you afterwards, but it's, it's losing, it's losing that. And, um, I have found it in John again, and I'm very fortunate because lots of people don't have that kind of love once in a lifetime, and I've found it twice. Um, I just like, he can stick around for a little bit, ideally. Uh, but it, it is, it's um, it is, it's just a life unexpected, isn't it? It's, it's not the route that you anticipate when you leave college or school and you embark on, on life. It, it, you don't expect to be widowed at 37, and I was 37 also. Anyway, um. You figure it out and tell me just before, before we finish, just tell me a little bit about your, your master's, the master's degree that you got and what you're doing now

Analia Boltuch:

Oh, so I got a bachelor's degree. Um, bachelor's degree. So, um, yeah, so I ended up completing cause, um, before my first round of college, I just did my associates. So I just finished my bachelor's, um, last year. Um, so yeah, that's the matter of just now it's, now it's me, time for me to find my career and, and put, put down my stomping ground. So yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

good for you, good for you and it must have made the boys proud to see you do that. I know that my kids are proud of me doing this because they can see me turning my pain into Something that will help other people and it makes you sound a bit sort of overly worthy and virtuous saying that but I, I have found, and sorry just to digress, but where you said the similarity in our stories, and I'm viewing what we've created here because very soon will be 100 episodes. That is a body of work with 50 people talking about their pain and their grief. And so, I don't believe anybody else has done this, I could be wrong. But, it means that I'm, I get to see the similarities in, um, what happens. And yes, this kind of idea of the stages of grief, we've, it's kind of been debunked, but they all exist, just all in a scrambled order. But the, the arc that I see, and it's people that come on here because nobody really comes on here if they're still stuck. They tend to come on because they've worked the process and they're in a position to talk about it. And what you just see from people is a commitment to getting better themselves. And it's that whole airplane masking. You've got to, you've got to do the, you've got to do the work and that does involve therapy. And it is hard and it's horrible and you don't want to go and it's. It's expensive and, but it is an investment in your future. Um, and I suppose what I'm trying to say is, well done, I guess. Well done, and if it means anything, I'm, I'm super proud of you. And to hear you talk about carrying a guilt, I want to take that away from you. And I'm glad that EMDR helped you with that because, my God, you don't deserve to feel guilty. You've done an amazing job. And, I'm, I'm glad that you had the years you did with him and I'm, I'm so sorry you were denied anymore.

Analia Boltuch:

it's, it's, it's, it's unfortunate, you know, but all I can do right now is, you know, keep his memory alive. You know, the boys and I, we set up like, uh, we call it an ofrenda. So like we have his urn and we have his picture and like all of our memories of him, pictures of us like in the living room. So he's always with us, you know, um, you know, we try to keep him, we light a candle for him during holidays, you know, so we, we do as much to keep his memory alive because we never, ever. want that to fade, you know, and as, as, you know, as time goes on for me, you know, I think all of us fear or worry about, you know, forgetting, forgetting the memories, forgetting, you know, the voice and, and just all that stuff. And it, and it's hard because, you know, it's bound to happen. You know, there, there are things that, you know, I try, I try to think about and it's like, it's bound to happen, but you know, there are points that, you know, they do come back when something triggers them, like, uh, you know, you see something or you hear something and. It's always sweet when it's a happy trigger,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

This is it. Don't you think that as you go further through the process or through the years go on, what used to put you into, you know, immediate distress or sadness can now put a smile on your face? Um, and you, you get a memory or I will catch one of my children and it'll just be Ben's face looking at me, which is quite weird. And. I mean, the first time his brother came to visit, they looked very similar and I couldn't look at him. Whereas now, I get pleasure from seeing those little glimmers. Um, and it, yeah, I, I, I think he would be proud of, well, I know he would be proud of the children. I know he would because they're incredible. And I think he would probably be proud of me, actually. I think he would approve of the choices I've made in the last two years, probably more than prior to that. Um, what with me being sober now, but it, Is a learning curve and you get through it however you got to get through it. But the important thing is that you just keep putting those feet forward every day, isn't it? You, I, you get out of bed, you put your feet on the floor and you hold your head up high and you keep fucking going.

Analia Boltuch:

That's right. Keep fucking

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Keep fucking going. That's the take from this episode.

Analia Boltuch:

That's right. Watch me read the title. Keep fucking going.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Keep fucking going. Yeah, keep, we'll just keep swearing and we won't get, then they won't play, sorry. Um, I'm It has been an enormous honour to talk to you today, and to hear your story, and it was, it made me very emotional to hear it, so I got the old, uh, hairs up on the arms, um, and I had to fight off a couple of tears, but I also hear in your story a beautiful love story, a story about a family, um, and a story of survival and hope. So, It is not just a story of enormous tragedy, although that runs through it, but you are inspirational. I know we don't often like to be called that, but you are. And I am hugely grateful to you for sharing your story. And I know that it will help other people. So you have done some good in the world today just by talking to me.

Analia Boltuch:

Well, thank you so much for having me, Rosie. You, yourself, you have much to be proud of, and you know that, girl. You have done so much with so little,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, I'm

Analia Boltuch:

I wouldn't say so little, because it's a whole ton of crap, but still, you've done a whole lot, so you have

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's funny, it's funny, isn't it? This idea that we just sort of thought, okay, let's see what happens and, um, that it's had this impact. And yes, I am incredibly proud of WAFF. I'm so proud of it. It is one of my greatest achievements and I have some great plans for this year. I'm going to do some offshoots, um, basically like the sound of my own voice. Um, but for now, um, I'm going to say thank you and goodbye to you and stay in touch, please. And, um, I do want to come over and I'm thinking New York would probably be a good base for meeting up with people. So, um, it may not be this year, but in the next couple of years, I do plan to come over and give you all a massive, great big hug. But for now,

Analia Boltuch:

wait for it.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, well, for now you'll have to make do with a virtual one and lots of love, okay? You take care, darling. Thank you very much for coming on today. And for anybody that has, anybody who has any questions that they might want to ask, you can send them to me, um, and I can pass them on. Um, but take care out there, everybody, and lots of love.

Podcasts we love