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Feeling So much Guilt after 2 years

Consumed
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2011

I lost my grandmother 2 years ago from lung cancer. She was an amazing woman & the epitome of unconditional love. She lived with me & my parents & we were very close. I thought i was handling her death well but have been crying every single day & night for the past couple months, cant stop reliving what happened during her 2 year battle. I'm having huge insomnia. The What IF's are KILLING me...
1) 6 months after her diagnosis I picked up a full time job because of financial situation involving my brother that was destroying the whole family. Altough I tried to spend time with her when I came home, I feel awful for living her in the house all day when everybody went to work. HOW could I have left her in the house all alone like that !!!??? I knew she hated being alone.
2) I've always been afraid of driving & didnt get my license til few months before her death ( I was 27) & then put off getting a car, I'm so stupid ! I could have taken her places when she started to feel weak, Didnt realize that til now! We always waited for dad to go to appointments.
3) Two weeks before her death, she was having stomach pain & i thought it was JUST stomah pain but we found out later the cancer had spread all over. I'M SOOO MAADDD AT MYSELF. If i had done my research I would have recognized that this pain was different, THAT THIS MEANT THE END but at that time I couldnt even look at the word cancer, everything was so terrifying. 4) AND when she was in the hosp. she told me she was dying but I didnt believe her! she wanted me to stay overnight with her & I told it would be ok, that I Love her & that I'd see her tomorrow. I CAN'T BELIEVE I DID THAT, I really thought she was gonna be ok, she'd been in the hospital before, didnt think this was any different.
I LOVED HER SO MUCH, I talked about her all the time, everyone at work knew who she was even though they'd never met her. SHE WAS MY BETTER HALF. From that 1st appointment she was diagnosed I went to every single appointment, every test, & most of her chemo sessions, My mom told me she didnt want anyone else there but me so I gladly went everytime. I tried so hard to keep her spirits up & when it wouldnt work I'd feel so angry & so sad & try to hide it but dont know if I did a good job. I LOVED WHEN SHE'D SMILE AT ME, LAUGHED, I LOVED IT SO MUCH and when she didnt do that the LAST two weeks, i feel so GUILTY FOR NOT GETTING IT THEN, I called every single day from work & she knew she could reach me anytime but I FEEL SO GUILT FOR BEING AT WORK & NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS, COULD I EVEN CONSIDER MYSELF A CAREGIVER? The only thing I think I did right was being with her at the end when I finally realized was dying. I stayed & slept in the hosp, her private room for the last 3 days with family, SHE SMILED A LOT THOSE LAST FEW DAYS, EVEN THROUGH PAIN. It was just me & her the last day becuase everyone else had to be back to their lives. By then she was in a coma & I told her I loved her & held her hand, DO YOU THINK SHE HEARD ME, FELT ME HODLING HER HAND THROUGH THE COMA, DID SHE KNOW I WAS THERE & STAYED WITH HER?
I had told her numerous times throughout her life I loved her before I so know she already knew. I JUST WANT TO KNOW IF I DID ENOUGH, IF ANYONE ELSE HAD MISSED THE SIGNS FOR END OF LIFE, MISSED THE OPPURTUNITY TO BE AROUND 24/7, MISSED THE OPPORTUNITY to HAVE HOSPICE BECAUSE IT WAS TOO LATE.
I try to remember good times, When we went out & did stuff, talk to her during lunch, helped her take baths - she loved taking baths, sat & talked on the porch, when I made her smile after the chemo sessions, BUT I DONT know HOW TO GET THROUGH THE MISTAKES , I DESPARATELY WANT TO SEE HER AGAIN & TELL HER I'M SORRY FOR BEING A SELFISH IDIOT. ANY ADVICE?, ANYONE HAVE REGRETS/SIMILIAR SITUATION, I'M JUST ANGRY AT MYSELF. I'm sorry this post is so long :(

Judy

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

Judy,
It sounds as if you were a wonderful grandaughter and I'm sure when grandma was in a coma she knew you were there. I lost my mom from pancreatic cancer in 1989. I was so close to her and never wanted to face the fact that I could lose her. She was diagnosed in October and died in Dec. right before Christmas. I had guilt feelings cause I thought she'd fight this disease, so I never told her what a great mom she was and how much I loved her. I never wanted her to lose hope cause she thought she'd survive.
I think if you're having these feelings 2 years later, that maybe a counselor could help you. I lost my husband last March from lung cancer cause he had a very rare side effect to one of the chemos. It was so traumatic and a horrible death, so I had to go to a counselor and be on meds. At first I went every 2 weeks, then went once a month and I'm happy to say that I told her last month that I thought I'd be okay now. But when I saw her I also talked about losing my mom and how I hated Christmas ever since and had guilt feelings. She helped me overcome those too. I also lost my dad in 1990 from cancer right after Christmas.
You've done so much that you have to put these feelings behind you & move on.
Take care! (I know I've talked to you before) "Carole"

Consumed
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2011

Carole - I'm sorry about your mom & husband & your dad. I cant imagine going through this more than once & with people so close to you. Your family was lucky to have you though. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I thought if I put my feelings out there for the world to see i'd show my grandma that I am truly sorry for the times I didn't do more for her. I really hope she knew i was there during the coma, I kept asking the nurse if she did, I know i was driving that nurse crazy! but I needed some confirmation. I dont think I'll really be able to forgive myself or ever have a truly good day until I meet her again, whenever that may be but you've helped me trememndously just by replying. Have we spoken before? Sorry my mind is a hot mess right now.
If I need anymore therapy I think I'll come here intstead, I like talking to strong, amazing people :) Take Care

debbieg5's picture
debbieg5
Posts: 168
Joined: Nov 2010

Judy...I can totally relate to what you're saying. It was 4 weeks ago tonight that my husband died traumatically in our own bathroom. I keep replaying the evening over in my head wondering what I could have done differently. And not just the last night, but the last several weeks. I was scared that something was changing and he just had a look of "death" about him. but I had never been around anyone in that condition before and didn't know if that was reasonable or not. Should I have been more demanding with the doctors to show them how bad he was? All my friends keep telling me that I did all I could and that I was a good caregiver. But, like you, I am now regretting and second-guessing about the days that I went to work and left him at home alone. Thank God that he did not die on one of those days. His doctor has even told me that he thinks I kept him alive longer by the tough attitude that I tried with him to keep him positive. But all I can think about is what if my attitude was making him hurt and feel even more lonely than he was. There are so many things that we replay in our minds. I too wonder if it ever stops. I'll tell you the same things that everyone tells me....don't beat up on yourself. I know our heads can understand what we're supposed to do but our hearts just won't let us. Praying for peace for both of us.
Debbie

Consumed
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2011

I'm so sorry about your husband. I felt exactly the same when I was in your position. Kept wondering could i be making things worse, was second guessing every action. I can see you tried your best & I'd want you to be at peace too so I should probably practice what I preach. :)

lilli1020
Posts: 114
Joined: Jul 2010

No....there is nothing you could have done considering your circumstances and the thoughts of the last times will begin to lessen with time....believe me...it's true. Do your crying and grieving in your own way because it's what you have to do and you will feel better for it!

Bless and prayers to you, Gayle

Consumed
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2011

Grieving is still new to me. I never did it right after she passed, just relieved she was not suffering any more, but it hurts every moment of everyday now so it seems never ending..But Thank You for your reassurance & bless you too

Pennymac02's picture
Pennymac02
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2010

For the last 8 weeks of my husbands life I was by his side in a strange hospital, far from friends and family. I helped the nurses turn him, clean him, and feed him, sat with him through multiple tests, brow beat him to take his meds, and basically I did everything possible that I could do for him including putting my job, my family, and my own life on hold.

I still feel those recriminations and guilty feelings, though. What if I'd said this, or been there more, or done whatever, would it have made a difference, would he have gotten better? I've talked to a lot of surviving caregivers as well as my therapist at length over this, and I think these feelings are universal for us caregivers.

I've felt better by realizing that each of us, with our limited knowledge at the time, did the best we could with what we knew. Hindsite is 20/20, but I can't continue to judge myself on what I know now. I DIDN"T KNOW IT THEN< and thats the important part. You have to realize that your grandmother loved you and knew you were there for her. What was done or not done cannot be changed, and looking through that time with gentle, forgiving eyes may help you as its helped me.
Penny

Consumed
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2011

Although my grandma's time was short, you describe those hospital days exactly the way I remember them. ON sunday I spent all day with her but unfortunately kept going to work cuz she seemed comfortable with pain meds given. Monday thru Thurs, i visited everyday after work & helped clean & feed her.... she was very alert & oriented some of those days... Then left at night and I'm so madd for leaving every night but I didnt know until friday after a CT that the cancer spread, Afterwards... My family & I spent all day there until tuesday when she passed. I wish my grandma had more time but you made me realize I did have limited knowledge up until the CT & after that I did my best to make up for lost time, so did the rest of the family (all 40 members!) It still hurts but I dont know, i'm thinking she understood I really didnt know what was happening. I hope she did. Thank you for sharing & your husband was very lucky to have you by his side.

Judy

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1614
Joined: Aug 2009

I don't write here very often any more, but I often lurk. When I feel I might have something to add, I do write. My husband lost his six year battle with colon cancer in Oct., 2009, so I do have some experience. We all have the would have, could have, should haves. Hindsight is always better and one of our worst enemies. We need to remember that we did the best we could at the time. That really is the best we can do. A counselor may be a very good idea. You need to let lose of the guilt. It really is a wasted emotion. Your Grandmother loved you unconditionally. She knows you love her, too. Take it from another grandmother, she would not want you to remember her with guilt. Take care of yourself now. Fay

Consumed
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2011

I really appreciate your reply - The guilt has been crippling my life, the whole grieving process is just too much - but you're right she would not want to see me that way. Thank you so much Fay, Grandmothers are best thing that ever happened to a family.

Consumed
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2011

I really appreciate your reply - The guilt has been crippling my life, the whole grieving process is just too much - but you're right she would not want to see me that way. Thank you so much Fay, Grandmothers are best thing that ever happened to a family.

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