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My husband was paralyzed and ventilator dependent at the end of his life. He only had one kidney and that was failing him. His last wishes were to die at home, but we did not have hospice in place. On his final day he was not in his right mind, going in and out of rational thinking. I told him we needed to take him to the hospital. He said, "I'm not going to the hospital, I'm going to heaven." I explained that he could go to heaven, but we had to go to the hospital first. When the paramedics came he told them he wouldn't go, but I overrode him because I couldn't be the one to turn off the ventilator and I knew he would need medication to get him through to the end. In my heart I feel I made the right choice. The hospital was wonderful, and he was surrounded by 4 pastors, our daughter, friends and family. But one part of me feels I betrayed him by making him go there. Is there a way to find peace with this? Thanks.

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Doreen, I'm so sorry you had to go through this, but you did fine. Your husband could never have known how it would all end. He likely thought that they would try to "save" him. I expect that he received palliative care at the hospital so the only difference was that he was in a hospital unit and not at home.

Sometimes, things go faster than we can keep up with. There is no need for guilt. You did honor his wishes - but neither of you had a playbook, so you had to punt. You did you best and he died with Family, friends and spiritual support. Just because it was in the hospital and not at home isn't failing following his wishes. Please talk this through with your pastor or a grief counselor. You need to let go of your unearned guilt.

Take care of yourself, now. You have earned some self time.
Carol
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You were with him and you fought with him by his side until the end. How can that be betrayal? It is not betrayal it is love. He is at peace now, I will pray that you find your peace with this and his passing as well.
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You did NOT betray him, please end your guilt feelings right now. It is fine for us as human beings to lay out requests and instructions for people in the event of our death, however.. we can only do our best to follow those requests. Sometimes reality sets in and those requests/wishes cannot be granted for legitimate reasons.
It reminds me of a man I knew whose wife was dying of cancer and they had a two year old daughter at the time. Well the wife wrote out lists of instructions for the husband on how she expected/wanted her daughter to be raised. He did his best but soon found out that her wishes were not realistic.
I think that's how you need to look at your situation, it was not realistic for your husband to die at home, it was more important that he die with some comfort and not suffering and even more important for you not to live the rest of your life with the guilt of turning off the ventilator. I bet if the situation were reversed he couldn't have followed through with your request either. Try your best to put it out of your mind and focus on all the wonderful memories you have with your husband :-)
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So much to deal with in such a short time! Yes go see a counselor ASAP, even joining a group like this lightens the load. No one has a crystal ball that will tell them exactly when heaven's doors will open, and sure we all want to die peacefully in our sleep. The reality is we take it one step at a time and that is what you did, that is all any of us can do. God bless you and give you joy.
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Thanks so much. It was a rough season of loss and I am still processing it all. On February 9, 2013 my 100 year old mother passed away, on February 19 she was followed by my sister-in-law (cancer) and then on March 3rd my husband followed. I can't even describe what it is like to get through this, but I appreciate your kind words. I have not found a grief counselor yet, but perhaps that is the next step. I have mostly been dealing with my mother's estate and combing through my home of 30 years trying to get used to the emptiness and acccept that my partner is gone, while all the while preparing this big home to sell. I haven't even gone back to work. Anyway, thanks again. I think this is a day to let the tears roll, and then let them go.
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Forgive yourself, for being human. When we make these promises, we have no idea how our emotions will wreak havoc on our good intentions.

Sometimes we cling to guilt to avoid the pain of grief. If it becomes overwhelming, seek a therapist to ease your pain. You are an incredible loving person. I hope; I have your fortitude and grace when the time comes for my Dad to pass.
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