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I just read a post by Becky, ksbeachbum, that eloquently crystallized a vague notion of a regret I have had. That of not, in my case, meeting my husbands emotional needs during the last months of his life. I was his caregiver for 18 months and 13 months into that role, I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. I sought counseling and it helped with my issues, but I never once thought of my husbands emotional needs. After he died I attended grief support groups, and we were asked to consider our regrets. I knew I had regrets of several topics I wish I had discussed with him. I too wish I had held him more, talked to him more. I understood he was dying but I just didn't get that he would soon be gone and that he wasn't coming back. I understand we can't beat ourselves up about our regrets. But I am grateful to have read Becky's post and have a clearer understanding of this regret.

Even though I sob every time I come here to read, I generally find comfort and insights that will help me in the long run.

Beth

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Marty, I just skimmed this and will return to study it. Thanks for this. Thanks for pointing it out. Mary

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Beth - it's only that we can think of it with hindsight now. And we have the time to do it. I've thought this so many times. One thing I realized was that Joe was on his own journey, and what I thought I should have/could have done wasn't necessarily what he would have wanted. He didn't want to "have the talk" because he decided to fight his cancer in his own way, on his own terms. I was not a caregiver as long as you, but I remember very well that i was running on adrenaline only, and stretched to the max. And, not knowing what or when Joe's time would be, trying to keep life as normal as possible. As much as I would have loved to be Mother Theresa, I wasn't. I did the best I could, as did you. Hugs, marsha

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Beth,

I see that Marty posted a thread I started just three weeks after my husband died. I was full of guilt, regret and remorse then. Now a year has passed, and I still feel twinges of guilt and remorse, but not as strongly and not all the time.

I did not want to accept the thought that my husband would die of lung cancer. He was so healthy and fit. How could he die? He was my soulmate - we were each others best friends. How could one of us leave the other, or our children? We convinced each other that each little downward turn was just a bump in the road - a minor setback - and that he would be up and running again in no time. We were making vacation plans even while he was in the hospital on oxygen, just days before he died. Looking back, this was pretty insane.

I felt so guilty that I didn't talk to him about death, help him to prepare. But as my grief counselor pointed out, he didn't want to talk about it either. Or he would have. Maybe he was protecting me, but I think he wanted to have life for as long as possible. He clung to hope and it got us through the days of that horrible year. I think the only way for me to deal with the horror of the cancer was to make life as normal as possible. To expect that he would be coming home. Maybe that was how he dealt with it too.

I was in utter shock when he died, because I was completely unprepared. I'm the one who has to deal with the unpreparedness of it all. He has no pain or fear now - wherever he is. I can accept the pain and the struggle if I think about him being free from it. I suppose I see it as sort of a punishment, but at least it alleviates the guilt.

Not sure if that was helpful. But know that the guilt and remorse do ease up over time.

Melina

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Melina,

I read your post when Marty posted the Guilt thread. I had not read that before...and see that you and I were once again in a similar spot. Though you had absoltutely no prep time when your husband died, I had 4 years to know that Alzheimers would kill him and still up to 5 days before he died I was in total, I mean total, denial. I said the right things. We had the "it is ok to die talk" but I was still in denial....I truly did not think he would die for 3-4 more years. As a result...I was shocked when he died.

Beth, I think I posted to you earlier that I lived in guilt the first months but it has lifted a lot with the work I have done. At 8 months, I too experienced a huge downhill period with wailing and tears that felt like the first month or so. I still cry daily...sometimes for seconds..sometimes for hours....but I guess I am approaching the acceptance of my reality.

Glad you are both a part of this group. It is such a helpful group of people who truly GET IT.

Mary

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I t amazes me when I look back, how matter of fact I was with our family and friends about Mike, and how he needed to go to Hospice for care, due to the fact that he was so sick and there was no hope. When he took his last breathe I was totally unprepared to how I would react.....I just couldnt stop sobbing.....

Regrets, yes alot although a day never went without saying I love you, probably 20- 30 times, I never spoke to Mike about how he was feeling about things, I was concerned about his comfort.....He frequently stated "I need to find you someone else" which i found annoying, for I truely never thought he was going anywhere! Denial is an incredible thing, a defense mechanism.....In fact I worked the day before he died figuring that we needed the $ to do things on his bucket list, I regret that decision......but at least I was with him all day, the day he passed. Hope he knows now that I did everything that I thought was right.... Dave

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Yes, Dave, denial is a great defense. One would have thought after my professional history and self awareness that i would have recognized that I was in denial....

Regrets yes but I don't know anyone who does not think back and wish they had done things in life differently. Regret is different than guilt. I can live with wishing I had done things differently and actually that has lifted in the 17 months...yesterday....It was the guilt that was destroying me and I think I got through the bulk of that now.

My friend said she took her husband to Italy (bucket list stuff) and he died shortly after and was not fit to go to Italy. Denial.

My guest just left and I have accomplished zero today....tiring weekend...not fun.

Mary

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Thank you for all the posts regarding this topic, guilt and regret, as that seems to be where I am stuck. I appreciate all the suggestions and I know that I will work through it. But all the comments about not to feel the guilt and regret just doesn't make it go away. Maybe in time. I did get some good suggestions from Marty's guilt article and will put it to work. In the mean time, another counseling appt. on Wednesday. Thanks to all of you for your support here. I don't know what I would do without this group.I know I would be in a very dark place without all of you.

Hugs to all

Becky

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I have so many regrets, regret that Harv didn't kiss me good-bye that morning because he knew I hadn't been sleeping good due to mourning for my dad, a BIG regret that when he was medflighted to the hospital that I didn't immediately talk very quickly to Harv and convince him to let the Doctors take his leg this time.( this was the sixth clot in 18 months. If the surgeon had done that, he would still be here with me. Regrets that I didn't stay all night with him in ICU the first night after they administered the Heparin drip, I stayed til midnight and then went to my sons to sleep and was called at 3:45am and was told they thought he had a stroke. When we got there about 20 mins later, he was already intubated and never regained consciousness. I probably could have talked to him before that happened. I go over this in my head every night when I get in bed. I miss him so much and want to feel his arms around me one more time. Love, Pam

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Becky, I agree that all the feedback from those who care means a lot. It also does not take away guilt. It is like telling someone to feel happy. One can't just turn on a happiness faucet. The combination, however, of the support from everyone, Marty's ideas, your therapist and your commitment to deal with this will, in time-I am sure-make a huge difference. I do find the word regret instead of guilt has helped me a lot. I bet we all have something we regret or feel guilty about..human as we are.

Pam,

I do understand all those feelings. I placed Bill in what we assumed (after research, talking to former patients' caregiver, MD) was a good hospital unit (small 6 patients) where adjusting meds was what they did best. I totally regret putting him there. He was there for 6 weeks when I brought him home via ambulance and he died 5 days later. It was a horrible experience for him and for me. Our intentions were to get his meds adjusted (a challenge with late stage alzheimer's) so he could stay home with me. Biggest worse decision of my life. There are so many things I regret....they are hard to live with but I keep reminding myself of two things: 1) I did the best I could at the time and 2) I did not know all I needed to know. So hard to forgive ourselves for being human. So very hard.

I wish you both the best. This is a tough tough journey. I sat and wept yesterday after company left. I was glad to see them go...VERY glad as I never wanted them here anyway...but even having bad company leave left me alone again. Does it ever end? No but gets better in a wierd way.

Mary

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My husband has been gone 4 months and I was his caretaker for over 9 years. He was on home dialysis and by-pass surgery less than 3 years before he died. In between I also had to fit being caretaker for my mother (cancer), sister-in-law and an aunt. All the time I had regrets that I was unable to care for my husband. Of course he wanted me to do what had to be done at the time. He would not tell me if he was hurting or not feeling well, just kept going. I regret that he would not tell me how to handle things after he went to that better place. I wish we could have held each other more and told each other we loved them. I miss having to help care for him. That was my life. But I guess we do get through it.

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Gakydog,

I'm sorry, you are an amazing person to have held up as you did and cared for so many people. You have had so much sorrow on your shoulders, I pray something good comes your way for a change.

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Melina,

You could have been me writing that answer. I behaved the same way when Ed was dying of esophagus cancer - we both did. Every downward turn was just a bump in the road. He was telling people he was going back to Norway just 4 days before he died. He was fighting to the last day, and I was fighting by his side. I regret that I didn't pause from fighting to tell him more about how much I loved him. I could have urged him on less, and comforted him more, but how could I believe that the man who was always so strong and invincible could not beat this enemy too? How could I believe that he had his fears to deal with when he was always trying to take care of me? So now I am being strong, and people are impressed with how well I'm doing. I am afraid of what will happen when the long rainy nights descend in a few months, and I am not frantically busy any more. I am so glad to have this forum to come to.

Love,

Pilla

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Hello My Friends,

I just wanted to share my thoughts concerning the topic...

Regrets...we all have many I'm sure as I've read several here, but the fact is we must accept we can not go back so in my healing I have left any and all regrets behind, closed the door and don't look back, I did have them until I understood that it hinders healing, with so many issues we deal with after the loss of a spouse we can not beat ourselves up on what we would've, should've done different, we must understand we did the best we could considering the situations, none of us were trained to go thru what we did...myself and Ruth did much of what many of you said you wished you had done, to make you all feel better it did not make a difference, I still had the regrets...we spoke of a new relationship for me, we spoke of her surviving, we spoke of all the little things that are normally forgotten, we held each other every night, we spent an enormous amount of time together, I also being her caregiver attended every appointment and kept a daily journal...the last we knew the Dr. said she would be OK for an easy 6 more months after the final round of chemo when in fact she didn't even make it 6 days...we had no Hospice as he said it was not needed yet, oops he kinda mis-calculated that a little....I had no clue she would go so fast but she knew the day it was happening, I had returned from the pharmacy as she called me to her side and ask me to promise to never leave her side again or alone to run to the store, with tears in her eyes, I made that promise then lay down beside her to comfort her....later that evening she woke me as we had been napping and she had chest pain, we checked temp. BP and pulse all OK, we gave her some pain meds but no relief, I called the doctor and he advised me to give her some nitro as she had some heart issues many years ago, it did not help, I finally called 911 as she begged me not to as she said she'd never come home, but I could not let her endure the pain, they transported her around 10:30PM, within an hour I had our Priest by her side and the family at the ER, the Dr advised me she needed a ventilator to survive, answer was NO, I advised him to due what was needed to make her as comfortable as possible and to let God take over...around 1AM she was wrapped in an ICU cocoon and in total comfort and responsive only to me, we prayed and I told her it was OK to go on home, she had won the battle by showing such a determined fight to beat it but God had decided she needed to be in Heaven so it was OK, I reminded her I would be with her again one day and to save me a spot....at 7:50AM Feb.14th 2010 she took her last breath, and as her heartbeat stopped on the monitor I told one last time how much I loved her and she heard me as her heart beat a few more times and she smiled...my Ruth is now my Angel...the regrets return sometimes but I remind myself to leave them tucked away as they serve no purpose in my journey to healing and my new life...

God Bless All....

NATS

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