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beck

The guilt of my husbands passing

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I am new tonight. I am not here because I do not have people to talk to, it is just that sometimes it is easier to say things to strangers. My husband died June 1st of this year. He died sleeping on the sofa while I stayed in the bedroom so I did not disturb him. Let me provide a brief background. He was injured on the job 5 years ago. Just a slight injury which due to the negligence of a workers comp doctor resulted in his losing the use of his hand. 14 surgeries later and in constant pain due to RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy), addiction to pain pills, he was finally getting some relief from low dose methadone therapy which sadly is what he died of. In the morning, I heard him breathing very loud just as his best friend came to see him. I shook him for about 3 minutes trying to wake him up. He did wake up and I was yelling at him, what did you take? I am calling 911. He said I am fine, don't call them I am just trying to wake up. 2 1/2 hours later he was dead. I have so much guilt that had I called 911 he may have been ok. His friend who is a nurse said that he thought at that time his heart was so bad that he would not have been saved. Looking back, he had the signs of a heart attack the day before , an odd feeling in his left arm, which was not unusual as he had a spinal stimulator sending constant electric shock down his arm. He was taking Tums and he was gray and waxy looking which he thought he was getting my cold. The grief is unbearable but the guilt is worse. He was only 48 years old. In the week after he died, we had our anniversary and his birthday. It just seems like every day there is something that he is missing and I, I am missing him.

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Beck, I am so sorry for your loss.  I can imagine how hard it has been for you.  I know it is hard, but try not to blame yourself.  I'm sure you dealt with so much over the years after his injury and subsequent problems, and you responded in a way that your experiences probably conditioned you to.  It's very easy to look back and think we should have seen this or done that, but in reality, I'm sure you did what seemed best at the time.  You loved him, and you did your best.  Try to forgive yourself and give yourself a chance to grieve without the weight of that guilt.

 

My husband suffered from opiate addiction for many years, and had been clean for 3 years before deciding to try it just "one more time."  He had been drinking so his judgment was compromised, and the combination killed him.  I wasn't there to help him, and I have felt some guilt at times, but the bottom line is that I can't bring him back.  It has been a little over a year for me, and I can tell you that it will get better.  I still cry - I still miss him - I will never get over it - but you learn to cope with it and keep living.  The loss will definitely change you, though. 

 

I wish you comfort and peace!  There are many here who will be able to understand what you are going through and can hopefully help you work through your grief.  Bless you!

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Hi Beck and welcome of our group here.  First let me say that I am so terribly sorry for your loss.  I also know how you are feeling and I want to tell you that it is all part of this "grief" journey we are on.  Guilt...I don't think there is one person here who has not felt some degree of guilt.  I know I did.  My guilt was more for the way I treated my husband prior to his death.  Not that I was mean and nasty to him, I wasn't, but I felt guilt over I could have spent more time with him, I could have told him "I love you" more than I did, I could have made more alone time with him.  The list goes on and on.  It is all part of the grief process.  As for you "saving" your husband, I truly believe that when it is your time to go there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

 

I'm 1 1/2 yrs into this journey now and can finally say that I'm not feeling the guilt that I felt before.  Most tears have turned to smiles.  I still have my moments, quite a few of the actually, but I'm getting there.  You will too.

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Thank you. People keep telling me it will get easier, I am finding the opposite. I cry all the way to and from work and at night when I start to fall asleep it hits me hard. We did not sleep in the same room as he liked to sleep with the TV on but now the house is so quiet. I miss cooking for him. I miss coming in and complaining about the idiot drivers and I miss his unconditional love. With the problems we went through I never did not feel loved. I miss that.

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I am sorry for your loss.  My husband passed on June 24 2014 from an almost 7 year battle with cancer.  He would have been 46 on June 28, so I can empathise with the "firsts" with the birthday and anniversary straight away. 

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Sounds very similar to me. My husband died June 14th, 11 days after a heart attack and stroke we thought he would survive. His heart just stopped after he went to sleep.

 

I have spent the last month agonizing over how did I not see how bad his heart was? He was 99% blocked... why didn't we know, why did the doctors miss this when he thought he had a heart attack a few months ago, they said his heart was FINE. and why did they send him home saying it was asthma? How did I not see he was tired? and how come I didn't say hey, you seem off, go to the doctor?

 

Because he said he was seeing his doctor. Because he said he went to a cardiologist.  I called insurance thinking who was this doctor? I want to get his records and see why they missed this and he's dead. Found out, he never went to a cardiologist, he just went to see his internist once. ONCE.

 

He lied about it. And he's dead. Because the hospital said his heart was fine and he didn't think he needed to worry about it. And now he's gone. I am mad, and lost and guilty for not pushing, and not even sure what to do.

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Miashline - you are no way responsible for what happened.  But I do understand.  I think we all experience guilt after our loved ones passing.  My husband also died after recovering from an illness.  His second night in the physical rehab hospital his heart just stopped.  My guilt has always been that I was not with him.  He was hospitalized 80 miles from home for 4 months.  I couldn't be with him every day and it just killed me.  To know that he died alone just makes me sick.

 

My husband had a heart/kidney transplant which started as congested heart failure.  Prior to getting an actual "real" dx the stupid doctors we were seeing all said he had asthma.  What is wrong with these idiots?  I was reading over some of his old medical records and probably 4 yrs prior to being dx'ed correctly the cardiologist had determined that because my husband drank a little bit his problems all stemmed from alcohol and that he had asthma.  I so want to contact him and tell him my husband is dead now after having had a successful heart transplant.  He ended up having cardiomyopathy and had had a silent heart attack that destroyed the right ventricle of his heart.  When he was evaluated by a cardiologist in 2000 that doctor said that the right side of his heart just jiggled like a can of worms, it didn't even beat anymore.  His ejection fraction was 15%!  How could the other docs say there wasn't anything seriously wrong with him?  Makes you want to kick some ass, huh?

 

Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot we can do.  The last thing you should do is feel guilty though.  You are not a doctor, #1.  We trust doctors...now I don't but back then I did.  I just went with the asthma thing.  I mean, hell, my husband was the vision of health, there was no way he had a heart problem.  Men are hard headed when it comes to their health...most of them anyway.  If he told you he went to a cardiologist I'm sure you believed him and thought everything was taken care of.  None of this is your fault!!

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I guess the bottom line is that we would feel guilty no matter how they died. Hindsight is so cruel. All I know is that at one time I had a future and now I do not. Ok, I have a future but not the one I was planning on, hoping for, just now a different one, alone and missing him. I go about my day the same, I am beginning to hate my job, hate the long commute which allows me the quiet time to reflect and cry and the drive home to an empty house. Yes I have very good friends and family that call and are there for me but if there was 100 people lined up at my door every night, I would still be alone. Sad that a product of such deep intense love is such deep intense pain.

 

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Beck-

   My Den was 48... he had been rubbing at his chest all evening. He had been tired and gray for a couple of days. He kept telling me he was fine. Something in me knew it wasn't so....and tragically, I didn't listen to it enough. I have since spent hours agonizing over "If i had only..."

    I've talked to several doctors and to a couple of therapists, too.  There is some agreement among the professionals, that all sorts of clues were there, that the doctors who were caring for him should have picked up on. They agree that mistakes were made....

  But they assure me, none of them were mine.

It doesn't always help to know that. I still feel i must have moved too slow. I should have been able to save him with CPR. I should have found a way to get him help faster...the list of self-torturing thoughts can go on and on - sometimes.

   At other times, one fact stands clear. None of it matters now. The only thing that truly helps me through those days or nights..is bringing my mind to the now. The unchangeable past  is a place where i wish i could go..but I can't.

   I had a dream a couple of nights ago...where i was able to save him, and he lived. Waking up to reality wasn't a pleasant thing, but it happened anyway.

    This is such a terrible process to live through. It has been almost two years now, for me, and I still have hard and terrible days and nights to get through. They aren't as long and endless and terrible as they were at first though. I can't say my faith keeps me going, really. I have family and friends..but sometimes, I am sure they think I should be over it....and sometimes they actually say that - out loud. It doesn't seem to help me much, either.

   I guess the point I am trying to convey to you is this one- be kind to yourself. This road is rough enough, just missing the one you love, without needlessly hurting yourself more.

   They wouldn't want us to..because we were loved. Just like we loved them.

       They tell me , if i keep walking forward.. i will eventually find peace. Sometimes, it comes for a time. Maybe I will find it someday....and i hope you will, too.

 

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Silvergirl. I do understand how you feel. It is so new to me but I am sure that in 2 years I will still miss him terrible. He was not perfect but he loved me unconditionally. There was not a thing I could do that would change that. From the day we met he was totally loyal to me and I to him. We had so much in common and yet we were so different. With the pain he had been in, he got addicted to pain meds. The EMTs when they came immediately decided that it was a drug overdose. It was not however It was an adverse reaction to Methadone. When the doctor came into the room to tell me she said, we were unable to save your husband and it was a drug overdose. I told her that I did not believe that to be true as he was so happy and so defiant to the drug use. The only drug in his system was methadone. The one drug that finally gave him relief is the one that killed him. There are so many things that anger me. The fact that there is pain relief out there covered up by the government and the drug companies while more people become addicted. A friends 83 year old mother had to go to rehab after knee surgery. My husband was a very handsome man and very strong. He lost his strength and his looks changed but he was still beautiful to me. I was sleeping one night and woke to someone laying down to bed next to me and an arm came around my waist. I said Todd? I tried to look behind me but all I could see was the top of his black hair (it had become white), I said TODD louder and he said "I told you baby the best is yet to come" I struggle with the spiritual. I hope I see him again. I am still so angry that this man who had such a terrible childhood and when things were good, was injured and now when they started to get good again and he had something to look forward to, he is gone. He was a funny, smart, kind man. He searched for a homeless guy every Christmas just so he could give him his spare money. He stopped in the middle of the street to run and help an old person cross. That is a terrible joke. Give him hope and kick the rug out from under him. What about me? I have never been anything but kind and caring so I get to hurt.? How is this ok? I do not understand this.

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My husband died Jan 4, 2014, and I could have saved him.  He had been taking 2 different kinds of medicine for high blood pressure and also I just found out was diagnosed with rapid heart beat.(requested him medical records)  You could not get him to go to a doctor, and the only way he would go was prescription renewal visits.  He smoked for 50 of his 64 year life.  He was such a hard worker, loving father and grandfather.  He started having trouble breathing at night and could not work around the house as much.  He took early retirement and that was great with me.  But I knew something wasn't right with him.  Michael was the kind of man who hated to go to the doctor, and he would not listen to  me to tell him to quit smoking, even though he knew this was part of the problem. 

 

I wanted him to change to VA clinic and insurance coverage, which would save us money and secretly I knew he would have to have a physical to start the VA medical care.  He did not want to change to the VA, but I kept insisting. He was scheduled to go for a visit the next week.He started complaining on New Years eve that he wasn't feeling well.  I suggested we go to a walk in clinic, due to the holidays, the doctors office was closed. He said I am not going to be put into a VA hospital, He was still irked at me for changing insurance coverage on him. He slept off and on but could not lay down, still refusing to go.  This went on Jan 2 and 3, on Friday night  I watched him smoke and struggle to breathe.  Do you want me to take you to the hospital??? How can you smoke when you can not breathe????  Do you want something to eat????  So, you know what I did????  I go upstairs to bed, I wake up at 2:30 am and checked on him.  He was the same, asleep on recliner, face was gray and still breathing deep.

I told myself, you are going to the doctor first thing in the morning.  I heard him get up, heard ice and water in the kitchen, and then I smelled a cigarette... You know what?  I went to sleep.  How could I have closed my eyes when my husband of 44 years. my best friend, my only love was dying.   I woke up at 6 am and did not smell the usual cup of coffee he always brought me... I ran down the steps and found him unresponsive.. THEN I called 911.  He died from a heart attack  due to rapid heart rate and smoking related... so the ER doctor said... He could have been saved... I really just want to die and be with him. Have the grave plots and my name on stone beside him.  If it wasn't for our children and grandchildren going thru another loss. I would do it.

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Judyc -

 

It is not your fault.  You did everything that we can do as wives to get your husband to care enough to go get medical care.  We can't drag them like we could our kids.  None of this is your fault.  Your husband made the choice to smoke, knowing full well what the consequence could be.  That is how addictive those damn cigarettes are.  I am a recovered addict and I smoked.  I would rather kick drugs any day then try to quit smoking.  That is the toughest addiction there is to break.  I hate cigarettes with a passion now that I've not smoked for close to 20 yrs.  I don't even like to be friends with people who smoke...lol!!

 

So first, stop blaming yourself because it is not your fault.  Second, I am so sorry for your loss.  My husband died on January 4, 2013.  We were married 32 1/2 yrs so I know what you are going through.  It is extremely difficult isn't it?  I never ever thought that my identity had become so wrapped up in his.  I mean, that is the only way I knew myself...as his wife and partner, lover, friend.  Now I'm asking myself every day still "who the heck am I?"

 

This forum should be a big help to you.  It has for me.  Lots of wonderful people here who know what we are going through because unless you have lost your spouse you have absolutely no idea what we deal with day in and day out.  I'm sorry you have to be here with us but you picked a good place.

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Beck-

I've been told by so many people that there was nothing I could have done to save Nick when he passed away, but I still hold myself responsible every day, wracking my brain on how I could of saved him.

I know exactly how you feel when you say you could have a hundred people lined up at your and still feel alone.

But you're not alone. We've all been brought together on here to help each other keep walking forward.

It sucks coconuts that we all "met" this way, but we were meant to.

Stay strong. <3

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