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Feeling guilty

Beckymarie
Posts: 358
Joined: Aug 2009

It has been 15 months since I lost mu husband to brain cancer. Looking back it was such a nightmare for all of us. On occasion I go to the brain cancer discussion board...don't know why. Maybe it is to see if any new treatments have shown success. Did we miss something? When I read the struggles of those traveling the path we did while Terry was alive, I feel relieved that we are no longer there. The fear and anxiety with every MRI, every crisis that took us to the ER, watching this person who is the center of your world slip further away each day both mentally and physically. I feel so guilty. How can you love someone so much and take relief with his passing? Wonder when or if I will ever feel myself again.
Becky

Cindy Bear
Posts: 564
Joined: Jul 2009

I understand.. I do the same thing.My mother passed 2 yrs ago (Uterine cancer), in fact I didnt' even find this board until after she was gone. First I came here very angry, shocked, I couldn't figure out what happened, I was looking for answers. 2 yrs later I'm still here, I've come to know and care deeply about people on these boards. Uterine and ovarian mostly. My sisters and I loved my mother dearly, but we did feel a sense of relief after she passed. No more tests, no more chemo, no more side effects and dr. appts and waiting, waiting for results. Two trips to Er, phone calls in the middle of the night. I too felt guilty for feeling this way but I think it's very normal. Cancer is such a nightmare, for the patient, but also the caregivers. A big part of that relief is your loved one is no longer suffering. No more pain, no more nausea, no more waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's because we love them so dearly, that we feel relief.

Beckymarie
Posts: 358
Joined: Aug 2009

Yes, I think you are right. Couldn't bare to watch all he went through, or the sadness on the face of our children. So hard, wonder when things will start to turn around.

Cindy Bear
Posts: 564
Joined: Jul 2009

have an answer for you. I wish I did. It's been just over 2 yrs and I still miss my mom terribly. I am doing better, a little better every day but not a day goes by that I don't think of her and miss her and think coulda, woulda , shoulda.. Did I do everything for her that I could have. Did I do enough.... I try not to dwell on that now... but it's hard
My SIL lost her husband about 13 mos ago.. he had esoph cancer. She kept him at home till the very end and it was an ordeal. I know she's struggling and trying to hold it together but it's been very difficult for her. I had tried to get her to go for some type of grief therapy or at least join an online board like this one. So far she hasn't. I wish you peace and strength and comfort in the days ahead. Take joy where you can find it.. in the simple things...
Big hugs,
Cindy

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1625
Joined: Aug 2009

I often say that guilt is a wasted emotion, but that doesn't stop us from feeling it at times. During Doug's last few days, I prayed for a quick, peaceful passing. Yes, I felt a little guilt with that, but I knew it was the best thing for everyone. I am glad that he managed to live well past the average, but I the stress of that time was tremendous. He had suffered and fought long enough. He knew that, too. He was ready to move on. I have even been taken off some of my blood pressure meds now that we are no longer constantly waiting for test results or dealing with all the side effects of treatment. Does that mean that I wouldn't do it all over again? No. Does it mean that I didnt love him enough? No. Does it mean that I don't miss him and wish he was still here with me? No. It means that I loved him too much to watch him die a piece at a time. I loved him too much to want him to continue suffering because he wanted to stay here with me, and I selfishly wanted him here, too. We can tell ourselves that they are in a better place, but we can't help but think that the place here with us was just fine, thank you. Oh, the conflicting emotions that we deal with everyday. Guilt, hurt, sadness, and love, just to name a few. You are not alone. The more I read here, the more I feel that we are all normal, each in our own way. This is a new road we travel, a new normal, if there is such a thing. Life does go on. Take care, Fay

LeeandShirley's picture
LeeandShirley
Posts: 122
Joined: Apr 2011

Dear Becky and all.
I am still going through the struggle that you have described going through with your loved and lost ones. My husband is fighting against primary liver cancer. A cancer that we have been told is NOT curable, just manageable for a while. I know what the outcome will be. But, I too feel guilty sometimes. Guilty for not being able to stop this terrible disease and it's many many uphill battles. Guilty for feeling, tired when he is hospitalized and sick. Guilty for sometimes, even now, wishing I didn't have to go on alone someday. Guilty for feeling anything about myself, when he is suffering with this deadly disease. And, in my weakest and quietest private moments, that this would all be over quickly and end his long slow decline and my pain and fear too. I know I truely want him for as long as I can have him; and even need him far more than I ever thought I did. Guilty for not knowing that sooner, and appreciating him so much more when he was well and healthy and vibrant and doing everything for me that he has done. And feeling guilty for missing having lost that man already. Guilt, it is horrible, but I hear it is a natural part of the healing process of grief. Even though my husband is still with me, I already grieve the loss of the strong rock of a man I married. The guilt, I guess will go on until all the stages of grief are gone through and the long ordeal of final acceptance is complete. When that will be, is different for everyone and no one can answer when that acceptance will come. It is a very personal individual process, that even twins would not experience the same way. I lost my mom years ago , when she was 48 and I was 26. That was 40 years ago.
When will you feel yourself, again, Becky? You will never feel like your old self, but you will find a NEW self. Someday.

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1561
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello LeeandShirley
So nice to see you posting here. Hope you feel a little better now that you have that off your chest. This is a wonderful place to vent, and open up emotionally. I lost my dad to esophageal cancer March 2010, almost 2 years ago. I miss him daily. I pray for him daily. I keep his picture on my visor in my car. I love your last sentence...you will fine a NEW self someday. Yes, that is absolutely true! And our loved ones will find and have found their new selves as well! I hated to see my dad suffer. I hated to see him in so much pain. I hated to see his quality of life disappear. Living with cancer is no way to live! Tell your husband everyday how much you love him. Tell him you understand that it is his decision where he goes in this journey. Give him the peace he needs to hear. We are here for you. Lean on us! Keep in touch.
Tina in Va

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1625
Joined: Aug 2009

I can understand what you are going through. I lost my husband of 42 years after a 6 year battle with colon cancer. We pretty much knew from the beginning that we were just buying time. Treatable, not curable and life shortening are the words the dr used. Doug decided he wanted to buy as much time as possible and makes as many memories as possible along the way, and he did. We had very good times and very bad times. I remember confessing to him that I felt guilty thinking about how I was going to go on alone, needing to ask questions only he could answer concerning his collections, memorial services choices, even his grave stone. He told me he would feel better if we did discuss those things and that it was reality. I might add that he has Daffy Duck on his stone. He had a great sense of humor and I don't know if he was serious or not, but it is set in stone now. When he first told me he wanted a duck, I thought it was a tribute to his interest in preserving wildlife. Then he added that he wanted the words, "it's wabbit season," underneath the duck. I told our sons that it was up to them if they put Bugs Bunny on mine. He also suggested that I might want Porky Pig and the words, "That's all folks!" on mine. Needless to say that sense of humor helped us deal with the tough subjects and my guilt. Oh, and I think you are right about the grief. I know that I grieved the life we had planned together long before Doug passed. In many ways, he and I went through some of the grief process together. We had both trained to be Stephen ministers, a one on one caring program at church, and we ministered to each other. That helped. Not all couples can be as open as we were, but the guilt is something I think we all find ourselves feeling. Fay

karenbeth's picture
karenbeth
Posts: 194
Joined: Sep 2010

"I often say that guilt is a wasted emotion, but that doesn't stop us from feeling it at times" Grandmafay, that is such a true statement.

Becky, your feelings make perfect sense. You're not glad that he is gone, just that he is no longer suffering. We all wish that for our loved ones. I remember when my husband was in hospice I asked the nurse one day how long he thought Frank might have left (seeing that he was slowly deteriorating) and he said something about oh he could last for months--I felt my face register shock and yes, dismay, and then I felt guilty. But really I was just horrified at the thought that he would have to struggle and suffer for much longer.
We have been through such a traumatic experience--it's no wonder we have complicated feelings around it.
Take care, and take it easy on yourself.
Karen

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