One Dead Husband

Feb 18, 2015 by

One Dead Husband

My husband died in front of me early one morning three years ago. Steve was in the cardiac unit of our local hospital, and I was sitting at the foot of his bed when he coded. Thank God Steve was hooked up to a monitor. The medical team arrived with their crash cart, and managed to resuscitate him. He’s since had triple bypass surgery and doing great.

Steve’s episode with death started me thinking. What if he hadn’t been at the hospital, but instead, at home and asleep in our bed? I would have woke up in the morning to find him dead beside me. I tried to imagine how I would feel, and how I would handle things after he died. First the funeral, and then all the legal ramifications, including the reading of the will. That’s when my author imagination took over, and I found myself thinking along the lines of story: what if, after a woman’s husband dies, she discovers he’s been hiding a secret… a horrible secret that will change her life forever?

And thus, a new story was born. A story eighteen months in the making. A story that I sweated over, cursed at, cried over, and ~at times~ felt like abandoning. But ultimately, I couldn’t. You see, I had two women depending on me: Eleanor and Claire. The Other Wife is their story. Today I am finally ready to share their story with you.




It wasn’t much of a sound. Later, she would remember it as an odd sort of grunt. Still, it had been loud enough to wake her. Eleanor rolled over in their king-size bed, stretched out an arm, and nudged him. Richard’s snoring had worsened in the past months. She lay there in the darkness, waiting to see if another nudge was necessary. Just the other day, she’d read how snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea, leading to other, more serious, health problems. Perhaps tomorrow, depending on what kind of mood he was in, she’d mention the subject over breakfast. Maybe she should insist that he see a doctor. Not that it would do much good. Richard rarely listened to her. For most of the thirty-eight years they’d been married, he hadn’t listened to much of what she had to say. He’d probably give her his usual shrug, tell her to quit worrying.

Quit worrying. It wasn’t until five hours later that she realized she’d had good cause to be worried. She should have known that sound was different. She should have stayed awake. She should have tried to rouse him. Instead, she waited another minute, surrounded by silence. Then, turning over, she laid her head back on the pillow and curled up in her spot, still warm from sleep, snuggling into the clean, fragrant smell of freshly laundered sheets changed by Martha the day before. Closing her eyes, Eleanor drifted off into the most pleasant dream… only to wake the next morning to her worst nightmare.

Richard, in bed beside her, was dead.

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  1. Catherine Chant

    Congratulations on your new release!

  2. Gayle Gennett

    Kathy; Doing a happy dance on your newest novel whose prologue already has captured and piqued my interest. You go girl!!!

    • Kathleen Irene Paterka

      Gayle, glad to hear that Eleanor and Claire have captured your interest. Perhaps this story will be shelved next to Fr. Greg? This author can only hope. Happy reading!

  3. intriguing! That’s a wonderful hook.

    • Kathleen Irene Paterka

      Thanks, Zan! The book was an 18-month project, and I’m happy to have the story of Eleanor and Claire finally available to readers. Thanks for dropping by to chat!