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Help!! Last December my husband was put into hospice after years of health problems that got progressively worse in 2019, he was 76 years old , I was his sole caregiver. He had a multitude of health issues along with being incontinent and having dementia. He had to go back in forth to the hospital often during the past several years which had increased last year. Since I was doing all of his care by myself at home the doctors suggested hospice telling me I would finally get some help with his care at home. He was only on home care for a short time before they suggested he enter hospice home, within two days he was gone. As soon as he entered into hospice home they said he was agitated and kept him sedated, I was never able to talk to him again. I feel that I should have just kept him at home and he would still be alive. I feel like I killed him by allowing him to enter hospice house. I feel like I failed my husband...

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Your story with your husband sounds a lot like mine, as far as his health issues any way, and I too was his sole caregiver. My husband was under hospice care for 22 months in our home. And I can tell you from experience that the only time hospice will offer to take someone to their facility is if they believe the person will die within a few days, to get unmanaged pain under control, or if you request some respite time, and he goes in under their respite care. And in your case it certainly sounds like they felt he was going to die soon, so they offered to take him there, where they would keep him comfortable until he did. You really can't ask for more than that. Be grateful he didn't have to suffer. My husband wanted to die at home, and during his dying process, he was in horrific pain, that hospice couldn't get under control, and so he suffered horribly. I was told by his nurse that if I took him to their facility, that they could give him stronger medications that would knock him out, so he wouldn't suffer, but I wanted to honor my husbands wishes, to die at home, and die at home he did, in Sept. of this year. I'm having a hard time getting the pictures of him suffering so out of my head, so be grateful you don't have to remember your husband suffering, and that he went peacefully. I am a firm believer in the fact that when it's our time to go, it's our time to go. And it was your husbands time to go. Take comfort in the fact that he no longer has to suffer, as do I with my husband, and my thoughts and prayers go out to you on this his anniversary month of his passing. Today is my husbands birthday, and I haven't exactly decided how I'm going to celebrate it, but celebrate it I am going to do, as he certainly deserves celebrating!!! God bless you.
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cookie1135 Dec 7, 2020
Funkygrandma59, I’m so sorry for your loss and all you went through, I hope you were able to find some comfort on his birthday..

I really appreciate your kind words. Even though my husband was sedated it looked like he was struggling to breathe the last few days of his life and I can’t get that out of my head, sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. I have no way of knowing what he was able to feel or not feel and that is what really disturbs me...So I do understand when you say you can’t get the pictures of those last days out of your head...I hope and pray that we both can move past this...On the outside to friends and family I look fine, but I’m really struggling. Only people who have gone through this can really understand...Thank you for being here and replying to my post, I now know I’m not alone, I really appreciate the support...Thank you!!
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Dear Cookie, I venture to say that all of us who have lost our spouse have felt in some way we failed. There was something more we could have done to show our love, provide more comfort, kept him/her home. And then we feel the guilt of failure. Guilt is felt when we think we could have done something we didn't do, or we did something we shouldn't have done. If you think you could have done something you didn't do, what could that be? You were his sole caregiver for years with his multiple medical issues. He depended on you, you were there. You gave him your all.

If you think you did you did something you shouldn't have, what would that be? Placement in hospice was an unselfish act on your part. You realized that although your husband would no longer be at home with you, that he would be getting the best end of life care you could give him. A comfortable, pain free end of life is what we all pray for.

Cookie, we make the decisions for our LO in their best interest. Going back and re-evaluating those decisions does no good, you did what was best at that time. You weren't responsible for his death, his disease was.

The anniversary of his death is near and that will be difficult. But besides the sadness it will bring, allow yourself to reminisce. Page thru some albums and remember those wonderful times. Have them bring a smile to you face. Next month will be 3 yrs since my wife's passing. Again, I'll pull out our wedding album, go thru some vacation slides and even page thru our high school album. Be thankful for your days together and celebrate them.
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cookie1135 Dec 7, 2020
Sjplegacy, Thank so much for you kind words of comfort and advice, I really appreciate it!!
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Replace I failed him with
I loved him.

Your last words to him may not have been in the hospice setting. That's ok. Those last words may have been in your home instead. Maybe they were not a farewell speech, maybe they were even just part of your usual routine. Nothing fancy. That's ok too. He would have known how you felt.

You wish he was still here.
You miss him.

This is grief.

Grief comes from love.
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cookie1135 Dec 5, 2020
Thank you so much Beatty, I will try and remember your helpful words when I start to feel depressed and guilty, I really appreciate your response to my post...
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I was going to respond, but when I read your profile, it says you're caring for your wife??????? So I will wait for some clarification, before I do.
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cookie1135 Dec 5, 2020
Oops It should of said husband...
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If after all you have done for your husband you feel now that you "killed him", then your level of grief is quite severe, and I think you will require some counseling to help you through. Go to the Hospice people who helped you in your husband's last days and let them know your feelings. I think somewhere within yourself you already understand on a deep hidden level that feeling you failed your husband is not the "truth" in this sad loss.
Felons who do malice aforethought and take joy in the suffering they cause are the ones to whom guilt should apply. Often we mistake the G words. If you stay feeling "guilt" then somehow you convince yourself that you could have / should have done something differently and then you would not have this great final loss to mourn. Try to change the word "guilt" to "grief" every time you use it. Words matter. Habitually thinking matters, as it forms a path deep and well trod within our minds, and stops us from progressing.
Try to celebrate the good, and not the time you saw at the end that was so full of suffering for you both. Pull out the old pictures and memories of joy and make a scrapbook. Write letters to your husband. Allow tears to cleanse the pain and wash it from you.
Remember, you are not a criminal. You are a loving human doing the best you can in a world that visits cruelty and pain upon us in equal measure to the beauty of the world. It is up to us whether we turn to darkness or light. I hope you have the help of friends. If you are a believer consider counseling with clergy. If not, seek a licensed Social Worker specialized in counseling us in life passages we all must make.
I am so sorry for this dreadful loss, and sorrier still that you visit upon yourself such feelings of responsibility. You are a decent, loving human being. Criminals and psychopathic killers don't feel either guilt or grief.
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cookie1135 Dec 5, 2020
Thank you so much AlvaDeer, your words were very helpful, I will be working on your suggestions. The closer it gets to the anniversary of his death ( December 11th 2019) the harder it is for me not to feel guilty. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond with so much helpful advice.
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I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear husband; you have my deepest condolences.

You say, 'He had a multitude of health issues along with being incontinent and having dementia.' That being the case, why would you want to have extended his life? My mother will be 94 in January, and is 100% miserable with the same problems you mention above, plus she's having chronic leg pain & is wheelchair bound. I pray for God to take her on a daily basis. I talk to my deceased father as well, asking when he'll be coming to take her with him?

What is the point of extending an elders' life on Earth when it's riddled with all sorts of pain & misery? If you did keep your husband home, and he wound up living for another few months, what quality of life would he (and you) have HAD for those extra few months?

Hospice is not in the business of 'killing' people; they are in the business of keeping people comfortable, pain free and not agitated while they are in the process of transitioning to death. Once the patient passes away, hospice funding stops. So it doesn't make ANY sense to think that hospice 'sped up' your husband's demise.

It was his time to go, and nobody can stop that. He is at peace now, which is what he wants for YOU, too.

Please realize that you did all you could have done for the man you loved and he passed because his chunk of time here was finished. My father passed with hospice within 19 days; rather quickly also, and for that I am eternally grateful. My dad passed peacefully, as it sounds like your husband did, and THAT is the main thing to be grateful for.

Please don't beat yourself up or think that you 'failed' him in any way. You will grieve the loss of your husband for the rest of your life but it's okay to allow yourself to heal now. Remember him as he was before he got sick and all the fun and laughter you both shared. When you can remember him that way, you'll know the healing has begun.

Good luck to you!
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cookie1135 Dec 5, 2020
Thank you so much Lealonnie1, I really appreciate all of your helpful words and wonderful advice. It’s just so hard to get past the guilt but I will be working on it, I will be reading everyone’s responses over and over again until I can convince myself that I didn’t do anything wrong....
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