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Guilt, Guilt, Guilt


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I've told nobody this, but it's something I absolutely have to get off my chest. Even if nobody reads this, I need to see it in black and white.

Two days before Glenn died, I was at the hospital, sitting on his bed, talking to him. He was still hooked up to the I.V. You have to know that my husband was not a talker. He had difficulty saying what he wanted and was very stoical. He looked at me and said, "Are you tired?" and I said, "Yes, Sweetie, I'm exhausted." He said, "Well, why don't you lay down?" and I said, "I'm afraid of hurting you.". He said "You won't hurt me", and I DIDN'T DO IT! I don't know why. When I look back at it now, I realize that he was asking me to do it, but I was so stupid, that I didn't pick up on it. I was afraid of hurting him, but I think I was also concerned about what the nursing staff would think if they came in and saw me lying with him in the hospital bed.

God, I feel so freaking rotten about this. The last time I put my arms around my husband was the morning of his surgery on 26 October and I had the opportunity to comfort him and myself and I didn't take it, and I can't stand the guilt. He died on 1 November, all alone, and I can't stand the thought that he couldn't bring himself to tell me plainly that's what he wanted and that I was too blind to read the clues.

I am going to have this guilt for the rest of my life and it's eating me alive.

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My heart aches for you. I think everyone who has lost someone has guilt over something that they should have said or done or wish they wouldn't have.....I know I do

I would think that your husband has forgiven you and you need to forgive yourself. I doubt that someone who loves you would want you to feel guilty forever about comfort you didn't provide. I imagine that in your time together you provided more comfort than you can remember.....

hang in there

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Dimcl,

I agree with Missyme. I suppose it was meant for me to read this first thing this morning, for I have my own guilt, too. If we're honest, there were things many of us wish we could take back, or do over.

Clint either didn't know he was seriously ill or just didn't want me to know, but he definitely was not a talker. Our relationship was not perfect, especially in the last months. I was angry with him because he wouldn't take care of himself and since the doctors kept telling us it 'was nothing serious', I believed he was just being stubborn about not treating what I thought was depression and that 'tough love' would force him to take action. I didn't want to 'enable' him to remain in denial. He was angry at the end and resented my trying to help him. He was a proud man and refused to believe this illness was bigger than he was. It was difficult living with him. I was afraid to hold him too tight because he had lost so much weight I felt I'd hurt him. I should have held him more. I wish now that I had that time back.

My guilt, I guess, is for staying on his back and not 'giving in' to his depression because I felt he'd be compelled to get help. Which he finally did, but by then it was too late.

But take heart, Dimcl, he knows you loved him, you were there for him, as I was for Clint. I remember telling Clint the last day he was conscious that I was sorry for any mean thing I said to him; that my frustration and impatience with him was because I loved him and wanted him to get treatment so that he could be well. I have to believe he forgave me, just as your love did. But you're right, I can't go back and redo anything that occurred then, because in my case I didn't know I was on borrowed time. I didn't have time to get used to his illness. There were only four days between his diagnosis and his death. Before he went into the hospital for the last time, I had no reason to believe that he wouldn't emerge with a diagnosis and treatment plan and our lives would go on. I can't take back anything, but I was the only one that stuck by him, even when he fought me and I do take comfort in that.

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We all would do something differently, in hindsight, if we had the opportunity. But the fact is, we do what we do with the knowledge we have at the time.

The weekend my husband died, I went to my sister's reunion. I didn't know he had heart trouble and didn't know he was going to die. I wish I'd been there for him, but how would I have known? Fri. night I was 4 1/ hours away when I learned he was in the hospital...I did not have my car with me and my sister, who I'd rode with, did not want to leave and George told me he'd be in testing all day Sat. and to stay put, I wouldn't be able to see him anyway. Sat. night when I talked to him, he was at his lowest...he'd just received the news, most likely, that he was going to die..only he didn't relay that to me. He got grumpy with me, the only time he ever did, and said "I'd have walked around the world on broken glass to be with you." Talk about making me feel bad! But I knew it was his illness talking...my dad had died of a heart attack and my mom said he'd gotten grumpy with it (and my dad was normally the most mellow sweet person). I just acknowledged George's feelings, I didn't argue with him, I said, "I know you would have." But I also knew he wouldn't have wanted me out hitch-hiking in the middle of the night to get home to see him. My sister assured me she'd take me to the hospital first thing Sunday morning. I didn't sleep all weekend. I was ansy. I just wanted to be there with him. She did not get me to the hospital until about 1:30 in the afternoon. Every time she stopped to eat or smoke or go to the bathroom, it was all I could do to hold my peace. There were people visiting him, then they moved him and made me leave, when I was finally allowed back in, he was asleep...he woke up having a heart attack...they threw me out...he died. I never got to be alone with him and have a "last talk". But would it do me any good to feel guilty about it? What could I have changed? I could have not gone that weekend, but how would I have known he'd pick that weekend to go and die on me! He could have caught me on my way out of town because his heart problems started right after I left, but he refused to allow the doctor to call me, not wanting to "wreck my weekend". Did he make the wrong judgment call? Yes! Do I fault him for it? No! He did what he did out of love for me, right or wrong, he meant well...and I always meant well. We loved each other and we both knew it. And that love triumphs anything.

Guilt's only purpose is to bring about needed change. Once you've learned and dealt with the issue at hand, guilt serves no more purpose other than to hold you down, which is counterproductive. At that point, guilt becomes shame. Shame's only purpose is negative and should be rejected at every turn.

You love your husband, he loves you...and yes I use present tense because that love never ends in death. We will be together again.

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Yes, we all have things we feel guilty over. But when I start to think about what I should have done differently, I think if I was the one who died, I wouldn't want Don to feel guilty. Even if I didn't get to say goodbye and I love you, he always knew that, even if we had cross words. I was frustrated the night he died, he knew it, we didn't kiss. But I'm sure he has forgiven me.

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Oh that awful guilt..it will eat you alive if you let it..

I too feel it.

My husband very suddenly came down with what I thought was the flu..very same symptons..when he did not get any better after 3 days I took him to emergency where he was admitted with sepsis (infection in the blood). He only got worse...I was with him the whole time by his side but he slept so much we never really where able to talk at any length. They took him to ICU and intubated him so we still couldn't talk. He was sedated heavily so he could rest and fight harder. The doctor still believed he could make it but his liver and kidneys started shutting down and they had to put him on kidney dialysis. The doctor called me very early the next morning and said he had taken a turn for the worse and they wanted to talk to me about taking him off life support. I spoke to him not knowing if he heard me. We never had the chance for a conversation. I feel so bad about that. Did he know I loved him? I also wonder if I had taken him to the hospital sooner would he still be alive?

These questions haunt me!

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I also wonder if I had taken him to the hospital sooner would he still be alive?

These questions haunt me!

If he was anything like my Glenn, he probably said he would be fine and that going to the hospital wasn't necessary. I hate to generalize, but I think it's a "guy thing". In my experience, most men seem to think that they're going to live forever, and getting them to a doctor is like pulling teeth.

I knew that there was something wrong with Glenn (weight loss, loss of appetite, and more), but by the time he admitted that something "might" be wrong, it was too late.

What I guess I'm trying to say is that they make their choices, too. I know that I'll carry the guilt that I started this thread on for the rest of my life, but Glenn also had a hand in it, so I try not to be too hard on myself.

Di

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Same here. Clint refused to believe he needed a doctor. By the time he was diagnosed, it was already too late. Sepsis, acidonic, abnormal PH, intubation, organ failure, life support....it was the most horrible thing I've ever experienced.

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