He passed away on July 26th. I now not only grieve his loss, but now live with the guilt of not doing more to help him. The last year and a half he refused going to his doctor visits and he became very reclusive. He wanted to be left alone and I let him be. I have read recently in a book about dying that this could have been the beginning stage of the dying process. I have much to celebrate about his life and our four children and 7 grandchildren, but I agonize over what more I could have done and sometimes been upset with him about his constant demands. Reaching out once again to those who have experienced the same.

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I am sorry for your loss. The "what ifs and should haves" can drive us crazy. We all have them and the "if only", but the truth is, it is much easier to look back and see where we could have done things differently. The old saying, "hindsight is 20/20" is true. But in the moment--making quick decisions, having a million things on our mind, running around doing what needs to be done...well, we do the best we can with what we have at that time.

Stop beating yourself up. You did what was right. Tell yourself that every time the "what ifs" come into your head. It takes time and give yourself that time. You did exactly what you were suppose to do.

Again, I am sorry!
Helpful Answer (14)

I have started to write a response 3 times and NOTHING seems right.
What I want to say is in my head and heart but when I write it down it seems flat. That is the only way I can describe it. (I love baking so to compare it is like leaving salt out of a recipe the basics are there but there is no depth)
No matter what you are feeling...
Guilt--because you could not do more
Guilt--because you are relieved that he is no longer in pain or trapped in a body and mind that was no longer his.
Anger--That he left you
Anger--That you are left with all the paperwork to fill out
Fear--That you could have done more
Fear--What are you going to do with what others call a "normal" life.
I could go on and on but all the feelings that you have are the same feelings that we all have experienced.
No matter what I read, no matter what Hospice told me, no matter what I knew in my brain my heart still felt like it was torn from my chest and stomped on the morning the love of my life died.
All I can say is the raw pain will diminish and become a dull ache. The facilitator of one of my support groups gave me this quote and I still have it on my desk.
Grief never ends
But it changes
It's a passage not a place to stay
Grief is not a sign of weakness
nor a lack of faith
It is the price of love.

It has been 2 years and 99% of the time the days go on as usual but once in a while a song will come on the radio and it will have me crying, I can hear the same song later and it is just a good song. How to explain how it effects me one way one day and the next another I will never know.

All I can offer is enjoy your life, do the things that you want to do. If there is a trip or something special that you both wanted to do and you did not get the chance do it..honor him and think of all the things that he would have loved about what you are doing. I have a friend that will not go on a particular trip because she and her husband had wanted to do it but she will not go because he is not with her. I on the other hand try to do things that I know my Husband would have loved to do. And I think about him when I am doing them. So 2 different ways to deal I think one is healthier than the other...
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smartbutton Aug 10, 2019
Good Answer Grandma ! I have begun to bake again, which is a big deal. And just began to quilt with my group again, I force myself but it is helping.
Donvee, it just takes time. My mom died over a year ago. Her last months were horrible, bad falls, broken bones......

After her death I had the whole menu of emotions, guilt, I should have done this or that, used such and so med.......

Anger at her stubbornness in refusing any help or moving until it was practically too late, all the long drives home dealing with one crisis after another......

But all these months later I’m starting to have the good memories of my mom again, memories of when she was a good mom and capable and kind person.

And I also realize that I did the best for her that I could. I don’t second guess myself anymore.

This is the hard stuff you’re going through. You’ll make it. Most all of us do.
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Donvee, heed WindyRidge's advice.    The caregiving, then dying, then caregiver recovery process is a complex, emotional and challenging experience, with wide swings from the frustration of caregiving to the recriminations after death., not to mention the basic fact that you really miss him.  

I think most of us do what we can during the last years and end of life stage, then are subject to the drastic shock of losing someone forever, which starts the self questioning period.

What we may think we should have done as we think back over the last years more than likely wasn't physically possible during our love ones' lives.    It's as if a portion of our mind opens up to reveal actions which we in our guilt and sadness think we could have done.  In actuality we probably couldn't have accomplished those tasks.

So please try to reach back beyond the last years to remember the good times you shared, what you learned from each other, and how your husband enriched your life, as well as all the things you did to enrich his.

And take plenty of time off when you don't feel like dealing with the estate issues.     You'll feel better after some down time, doing something you enjoy but couldn't do while caring for him.
Helpful Answer (11)

You have endured a great loss. Deepest condolences.

Oh, the guilt - the woulda shoulda couldas! I know this feeling so well.

At some point I realized that feeling guilty was a way for my mind to think that I had more control and power in the situation than I really did. Feeling guilty implied that there was something I could have done to fix the situation; in reality, there was nothing I could do to prevent his death.

With time you will learn to let it go, to acknowledge to yourself everything you did do, and to understand how little you could do to stop the inevitable. That's the hardest, saddest part.

Take it in small doses - try to practice forgiveness toward yourself a little bit every day. Know you did your best in a situation that had no good possible outcome.

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You did what you could at the time. Give yourself a break and don't beat yourself up about what you could have done better. We could all do more, in hindsight. But dealing with the day-to-day of caregiving is challenging and all we can do is our best. It's never perfect and that's OK.

Sorry for your loss.
Helpful Answer (8)

I am so sorry for your loss. I am going thru the same thing. I lost my Luz in March and have all of those hind sight thoughts.
I think of her a lot. some memories bring on the tears and I apolagise to her frequently.
Recently I have thought of the better times we had together from years ago. Those thoughts make me proud that I married her.
I have started sort of a scrap book of her. It is more than pictures. I have her certificates and accomplishments in it. I even put a picture of her on computer screen saver.
It helps if you have someone to talk to and share those memories with.
It will be difficult to talk and not say "WE' did this or that. So be it. After fifty years you cannot and should not try to remove that person from your conversations.
Cherise the memories and thank God for bringing the two of you together.
God bless you for all that you have done.
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My husband died Feb., nine year illnesses. His little maltese, always by his side, passed May from a broken heart. I grieve what is lost also wish we could have some re-do here and there. I cant believe how difficult this process is. I think support groups really have helped. I attended caregiver groups when he was alive and I was falling apart being the lone caretaker. I offer you a hug from here. The only help I find is my friends who have experienced this.
Helpful Answer (7)

Sorry for your loss!!I do not think there is anything you can do when they want to be left alone we can not force them to want to interact we can not force them to go to Dr.appt. if its the end of life WHO wants to spend it at the DR .I THINK YOU GAVE YOUR HUSBAND EXCATLY WHAT HE ASKED FOR ,NEEDED ,AND WANTED THAT IS A VERY GOOD THING TO DO!!!!
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I'm sure you did all you could. No need to punish yourself. The signs were there when he wanted to be left alone. I am in a similar situation. Some days my husband wants to venture out and some days he just wants to be left alone. You did the right thing by just letting him be ! Please do not punish yourself.
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