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This is interesting.  I wasn't prepared for it....I am now just starting to feel so much guilt when I think of when John died.  I couldn't get to sleep last night wondering if I could have loved him more.  It's complicated because he was very independent and wanted to do things for himself and yet vulnerable.  I loved him so much and tried to take care of him, but the night he died, I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and noticed he wasn't breathing real well.  Now, he wore a CPAP mask because the throat cancer had restricted his breathing.  I rolled over and adjusted his mask, was half asleep, and now I'm wondering if somewhere deep down I didn't check him carefully on purpose.  I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and he really wasn't breathing well....taking a breath every 5 seconds or so.  I pulled his mask off then and called my daughter and we proceeded to try and do CPR.  He died 10 minutes later.  I feel guilty because I wonder why I was doing CPR when I should have just held him and talked to him.  Don't know why this is coming back with such intensity now.  I guess I wish I had just held him the first time and loved on him.  It's all so complex.  How do you work through this stuff.  It seems overwhelming at times.  I know people will say, well he's gone now and in a better place.  I don't know who I was in those last months and still don't.  I do know I adored him.  Maybe deep down I wanted it to be over for him and selfishly for myself because it was so horrible watching him suffer.  Has anyone else had feelings like this?  Cookie

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Cookie -

Of course, you adored him and everything you did, you did out of love.  I know from experience how difficult it is to watch someone you love so deeply suffer.  Those last months, weeks, days, we were caregivers.  We were doing everything in our power to provide love and comfort.  You were providing CPR to keep him with you longer.  I have guilt from those last days because I knew Deedo was dying and I hated so much to see her suffer; I hoped that she would pass in her sleep.  It wasn't that I wanted to lose her, it was I wanted her pain and misery to end.  The fact that you were fighting for his life indicates the depth of love and adoration you felt for John.  Be kind to yourself, you did all you could and loved John deeply.

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Here I go again.  This man, who was my life, I was not going to let him give up. I angrily knocked his beautiful soft hands down and told him "NO."  He did not listen to me.  He died without my permission.  But the guilt has lessened.  If the punishment is to live without him, it is a cruel punishment, but not one he did on purpose any more than my anger.  One minute is better than the other.  Another minute, you cry, but that does not help.  You look outside and all the flowers are pretty, but life lacks something important that would make them beautiful.  It goes on.

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Clearly you did your very best in caring for and loving a man who you yourself describe as very independent and wanting to do things for himself. That is not an easy task, dear Cookie. The guilt you describe is neither logical nor justified, but that doesn't mean you aren't feeling it. Just remember that feelings aren't the same as facts, and feeling guilty does not mean that you are, in fact, guilty as charged. You can put yourself on trial for whatever you think you did or didn't do to save your dying husband ~ but it is our job to make sure that it is a FAIR trial.

Forgive yourself for being human. Know that you did all you possibly could to take good care of your beloved. We delude ourselves into thinking we have control over the big stuff like life and death, and it is frightening to recognize how little control we really do have. You did your very best. Let it be enough. 

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Cookie,

You adored him and everything you did proceeded out of that love.  I think we second guess ourselves until we're our own worst enemy instead of advocate!  I've often wished George would have been at home that fateful weekend instead of in the hospital, I could have been by his side and just been with him as he died instead of them throwing me out and locking the door and beating on him trying to get his heart working, how horrible and painful that must have been for him!  And all for naught as he died anyway.

But, had he died at home I would have always wondered if they could have saved him and would have beat myself up guilt wise.  I think we're just really hard on ourselves no matter what we do or don't do.

You loved him, let that be enough.

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Thank you all for talking to me and sharing your own special experiences about this.  It is a comfort to hear from others who know what this is.  I will try and let it be....Cookie

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No Cookie, we can never "let it be" but I think I understand something I have wondered about.  Letting "scar tissue" grow over the wound.  I really think I understand what Rose Kennedy meant now.  I have wondered about that for awhile.  

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Embracing imperfections? Seeing the beauty in our scars? Maybe that's some of this awful journey?

Sending a Big Hug ..Cookie...

I am over here....Wondering what on earth I am doing, so glad I am not alone.....and have you all to share the ups and downs ....

It might be beneficial to me if I could stop second guessing everything I do, say...etc...

Time march on...Marie

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On 3/23/2017 at 1:05 PM, Cookie said:

This is interesting.  I wasn't prepared for it...

.I am now just starting to feel so much guilt when I think of when John died. 

...  I feel guilty because I wonder why I was doing CPR when I should have just held him and talked to him.  Don't know why this is coming back with such intensity now.

....  How do you work through this stuff.  It seems overwhelming at times. ....

  Has anyone else had feelings like this?  Cookie

Yes, these thoughts recur with me from time to time as well. I think, " maybe I could of done something... or not done something.  "  I am coming to terms that my heart is working on "accepting" the death of my beloved wife, Rose Anne.  I know it intellectually, physically, practically but my heart is taking its own time and journey to accept. 

Grief is painful and overwhelming.  Thankfully, the intensity of grief lessens after a time and I remember I felt this feeling before and survived it. 

For me, it is my heart working this grief out. If we could we would all turn back the clock and just freeze the best day we had with our beloved and relive the "GROUND HOG DAY"  eternally but life doesn't work that way here.  So, we continue on our grief journey, helping and supporting each other as we truly understand this level of grief. 

If you are able, try to be as kind to yourself as you are with others here..  We all give you virtual hugs. - Shalom, George

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I think guilt is something we're all bound to feel at times. Everyone I know says thst I couldn't have treated my Jo, who had medical problems from the day I met her, better. But I had my moments when I lost patience and wasn't as caring as I could have been....though not many I think. And now I regret that, and wish that I'd made her comparatively brief [39 years] on this Earth even better. But none of us are perfect.

Cookie, I sometimes have a thought that is vaguely similar to yours. A few days before her going into hospital for the final time, Jo begun to get a bit breathless and cough alot which she sometimes did when she was about to fall ill and/or needed care in hospital. We both assumed that it was more related to her having a terrible cold that was going around, but the thought did cross my mind that it could be more serious. Should I have insisted that she go into hospital? Possibly. But then from what the doctors later told me after she'd died she was already virtually terminally ill by then, so it probably wouldn't have made a difference. It was probably better that she spent more days with me going out and about [it was our week off work]. But I can't help wondering.....not very often, but occasionally....

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Dr. Lenera, our stories are a bit similar as about 3 days before my fiance passed he stated his stomach was feeling funny but instead of going to the hospital he decided to just call and they told him to take some stomach meds. I too thought it could be more serious and feel guilty for not pushing him to go to the hospital but I know he was tired of hospitals and deep down I know he would have still passed away. 

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Cookie,

Guilt is something I have struggled with a lot.   It was a very stressful few months at the end.  Sometimes I was so very tired and would go stretch out when I knew that he would prefer me sitting with him.  I only did that a few times, but it sure comes back with a vengeance.   I devoted myself to him, but any little thing that might have displeased him I have magnified.  Our doctor said that I extended his life at least 5 years because of the care I gave him.  I wish I could stop feeling guilty about everything.

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Gin, I think sometimes (and I cannot speak for everyone, just myself), we just plain feel guilty because we did not go first.  I was supposed to.  I think sometimes too (and again, I am speaking for myself, only me) that I wish I had.

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AB3....yes that is quite similar. And I have virtually the same thoughts as you about it all. I too, deep down, know that Jo would have died anyway, and she was certainly tired of hospitals,was in and out of hospitals her entire life, on average three or four times a year, but sometimes more. I know that, if asked, and knowing that she was nearing her life's end, she would have preferred to have had an extra two or three days at home with me rather than a day in hospital. But the mind just can't help wondering. Our lives are full of "what if's", and never more than now....

Gin...well....Jo's parents both tell me that I virtually gave her a life, and her mum told me only a few weeks ago that she thinks she lived for longer [she was told by a doctor that she'll probably die at 30] because of me. But again I can't help regretting the times I wasn't as caring as I think I could have been.

Marg...yes, I've had that thought too, that I wish I'd 'gone' first, it's a horrible thought but I can't help but have it at times. And i think it's actually quite natural. After all, I'd probably have sacrificed my life for her if the need came, or at least be willing to put myself in danger to protect her.

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I don't wish I had gone first from guilt, I just had no idea the pain this would cause.  That's more selfish, but I accept that about myself after all this time alone now.  I haven't quite figured out guilt thinking of Steve having to feel this.

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I don't wish I had gone first because that would have left him floundering in pain.  I have nothing to feel guilty about, I loved him more than life itself!  I do wish he was still here.  My SIL just went through the operation that was supposed to give George another 20 years.  I do wonder why she made it when he didn't even get to make it to surgery.  It doesn't much matter what I wonder, it doesn't change anything.

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12 hours ago, Marg M said:

(and I cannot speak for everyone, just myself),

My mom was "different" and she held a tremendous hatred for my grandmother, my dad's mom.  My dad's family applauded my mom's taking care of my dad.  They had known my mom for 44 years.  If my grandmother was ever hateful to my mom, she did it when no one else was around.  I have to say, the woman (my grandmother) was as close to being a saint as they come.  My mom was jealous of her from day 1.  My dad could not show his mom any attention or do anything for her, though he was the oldest son, without my mom throwing a fit. After my dad passed she was telling a man in the grocery check out lane what a terrible woman her MIL was.  No reason for doing this.  I turned around to her, in front of this man, and I said "Mama, she has been gone seven years, give it a rest." My mom really had something mentally wrong, and we all knew it, but verbal abuse (and some physical abuse against my dad), and whippings were the only things she did to my sister and me.  She took very good care of my dad, but had been up for a promotion at her job when he got so ill she had to quit.  She did it grudgingly.  And, she never shut up about his being ill made her have to quit such a wonderful job.  She took care of him for four years.  She made it where my grandma could not come see him.  They offered my mother nothing but kindness.  More than she deserved.  One time my grandmother said "I know you hate to see him suffer and know you had rather be sick than have him sick."  My mother looked her square in the face and said "No I do not, if I was sick, how would I take care of him?"  Sometimes logic was lost on my mom.

This was the differences in Billy's mom and mine.  My mom would say  "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride."  Billy's mom said "wish in one hand and S__T in the other and see which one fills up  the fastest."  

I would not wish this pain on Billy.  We shared everything.  I was him, he was me.  (His words), but sometimes I am selfish enough to....................wish.

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Hello everyone, There are days I wish I had gone in that  instead of Kev...there are days I wish I could join him...but, that's not the hand life has dealt me. After having a partner for 30 years, being alone leaves a  if void.

But you all know all this....so...Big hug everyone...I am still trying to navigate this new life of mine...

With love to all, Marie

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Marie

Dont know why but the last week has been horrible for me too (4 months). I really do wish it had been me. I feel so alone...even when I am not. My kids are all far away and yet call and even come frequently and yet...i feel so much guilt about our complacency and would give anything to do it again but I know I am saying what we all feel. After fifty plus years our life was "us" and now it is me. I so wish we had taken those long walks hand in hand but didnt that often. Yes, we loved/love each other a lot and yet took so much for granted. Particularly at our age we should not have. I get out every day and do the numerous things I need to do but everything is "him". I have not slept well for some time, particularly the last few nights when I reached out to a friend who I just learned her hubby had also died. We used to work together many, many years ago and I saw in the newsletter her hubby had passed a month after mine but her hubby of more than fifty years had shot himself and now she is dealing with all of this. I have all this guilt about what I should and shouldnt have done over the years particularly the day he died and can not imagine what she is going thru but for some reason her husband's actions have affected me deeply on top of my own. As I tell my kids...."do as I say...and not what we did". Cherish more, complain less, take those walks hand in hands...but I guess realistically we all have guilt of one kind of another. Thank you all for this group and sending gentle hugs and thoughts to all. Autumn

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Girls, my Billy would never gripe about pain, except his back, which with his herniated disks we had been dealing with that since his late 30's or early 40's.  It never made him take to the bed.  When they did the CT scan, or MRI, and found he had an aneurysm at the base of his brain, I never thought to question anything.  We thought we would get that fixed, and they seemed assured it could be fixed, but the very next week we found out he had wide spread cancer.  Backache was the only symptom.  Primary was listed as colon, but feel sure it was liver, only one colon polyp.  Liver was destroyed.  The reason did not matter, he was gone fast.  Could not bring him back whether it was colon, liver, aneurysm, or heart.  And believe me, he had two physicals a year whether he needed them or not, strange heart beat skipping when I took his blood pressure and directly to cardiologist.  Skin cancer on back, straight to dermatologist.  No stone unturned, yet he was gone.

One time he asked me if I was worried about his "facilities."  I told him his facilities worked fine, but might worry about his faculties.  He fought snakes at night sometimes.  He had always had vivid dreams.  One time he turned a flip in the bed, I sat up and remember thinking "that would be a 10 at the Olympics."  Strange thought, strange behavior.  He got road rage later in life.  He was so easy going later in life this road rage was a new thing.  A few other strange things now that probably could be attributed to the aneurysm.  Maybe the cancer had spread to his brain, it certainly was everywhere else.  

Lots of questions.  No answers.  When they are gone, nothing we can do but mourn.  And, I am an expert at that.  

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These are some good articles and as usual, there are more links following the article. 

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/12/grief-and-burden-of-guilt.html 

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/03/guilt-and-regret-in-grief.html

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Dear Autumn....Sendung much love...

Marge, I love your sense of humor....So, you gave Billy a 10?! Lol

Yesterday, was my 10 month mark. I met up with a couple of ladies for a happy hour and then joined a meetup for karaoke...

It was good to socialize...but, yesterday morning ..of course, all of the events that day were running through my mind...

Had a nice meeting with a gentleman ten years my senior.p the other eve. He lost his wife in 2009..it was refreshing to speak with someone that could relate to my pain...and listening to his story...

Well, as you said Autumn..love and cherish while you can...

 

Hugs, Marie

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On 3/23/2017 at 1:05 PM, Cookie said:

...I am now just starting to feel so much guilt when I think of when John died.  I couldn't get to sleep last night wondering if I could have loved him more.  It's complicated because he was very independent and wanted to do things for himself and yet vulnerable. 

Cookie,

I have visited and re-visited this thread. I too assume much guilt -- for Dana's death and the length of time before she was found. I originally started trying to move from NC to Texas last June. I set up job searches in the area, and began planning for a move. My ex learned of her (we had already been apart 3 years by then, and divorced for the 3rd year), and went into a rage. She basically re-sued for changes in the divorce settlement, intending among other things to garnish half my Social Security (she is already receiving 44% of my salary).  I should have let that play out and continued with my plans, but instead let it distract and misdirect me. I spent the next several months dealing with court instead of what should have been our future.

In the meantime Dana suffered a broken neck and face, jaw and mouth injuries from a fall, and the result was she could no longer eat solid food. Had to drink Ensure and the like. I did go to her for a couple of weeks, and arranged for Visiting Angels to help her. 

I sent her a juicer and various health drinks & tonics, but focused on my legal woes more than her. I let it escape me how badly her health was failing. She had become Karen Carpenter thin.  She also had life-long asthma, for which she was hospitalized on a regular basis. She didn't tell me, but I learned after her death that she had a bout with pneumonia a couple of weeks before her death. I realize that even if I had been able to move to Texas, she still could have died. But maybe not. And not alone.  And she certainly would not have laid on the floor for 11 days before being found.

So my guilt arises out of allowing myself to be distracted to the point of not realizing how badly things were going for Dana. I knew it was bad, but thought it manageable until we could finally be together. I simply cannot let go of that. Hating myself for my denseness, my stupidity.  EXTREMELY resentful of my ex-wife for putting me in this situation. 

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Dave,

I hope you've read some of Marty's articles about guilt, I think they'd be very helpful to you.  There's other articles at the bottom of these articles so really there's quite a few represented in these couple of links.  The truth is, things could have turned out the same regardless and while it's true she could have been found sooner, it's not what happens after their death that matters as much as beforehand, and you were caring and helpful to her while she was alive to appreciate it...buying her a juicer was a very tangible help I'm sure.  I'm sorry she went through so much, it seems so unfair doesn't it.  I still don't get how someone wonderful goes through so much pain and dies (what I consider) young, while someone who is a pip seems to live on forever, being ornery.  I know there is no fairness in life and sometimes it just doesn't make sense.

The truth is we feel we should have been able to alleviate their suffering and made enough difference to keep them alive, but that's not reality based, that's wishful thinking.  We put on ourselves a responsibility and guilt that isn't feasible.  You were a light in her life and however things went for her, you remained that caring light that I imagine sustained her through much.

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Dave:  I really feel for you.  I don't understand ex-spouses who are so mean-spirited.  I can see how that was a distraction (actually way more of a distraction).  You sound like you were doing the best you could under very stressful circumstances and had so much love for Dana.  We've all got to get on top of this guilt thing...it's a killer.  I think what Kayc said about the unfairness of life is so hard to deal with.  It's so true.  Things just aren't fair.  I, too, wonder why so many good people die young or of something horrible and then you'll know a real selfish person who survives everything....maybe they need to stick around longer to learn some lessons.  I don't know, but I feel for you.  Take care, Cookie

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