On Sunday — 16 days after Shields was found dead at the age of 51 in his Trump Tower apartment following a suspected overdose — The Real Housewives of New York City star, 47, expressed her sorrow on Twitter.
“It’s hard to breathe & I appreciate you giving me the space & support to try to do so,” wrote Frankel. “It’s excruciating-sudden death is no closure & constant ?s & memories.”
She continued, “Our relationship is current so it’s painfully raw. Trying to stay healthy & move through it w tears & close friends. Xo.”
A friend of Frankel told PEOPLE three days after Shields’ death that she and her 8-year-old daughter Bryn were taking the news extremely hard.
“She is devastated,” said the source. “She loved him. He was her family and Bryn’s family. Bryn loved him. Dennis was Bethenny’s partner, her family, her business partner and her best friend.”
“He helped her with things — emotionally and professionally, and he was her confidante,” the friend added of the couple’s on-off relationship. “No question that she did love this guy.”
RELATED VIDEO: Bethenny Frankel On Helping Hurricane Victims One Year After Devastation: “It’s Changed My Life”
In a statement to PEOPLE following Shields’ death, his wife Jill Shields said, “We are all heartbroken. Dennis was, and will always be, the love of my life. His spirit lives on in our children. Please respect our family’s privacy at this time.”
“Rest In Peace my sweet babies who gave me endless unconditional love. #nowandforever,” she captioned the intimate photo.