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KeirKieran

She was my every day and now the guilt is killing me

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KeirKieran

For almost 20 years I had a very dear friend named Carly, but I called her Mars from the screen name of the first forum we met on. 

We were online friends, drawn together by a love of anime and comics. She asked me out once, but I was in a bad place with myself and turned her down. But I didn't forget.

Two years ago, I decided to get over myself and try to build a life. I couldn't imagine being with anyone else but her. Even though she was on the other side of the country, we talked for hours every day. We wrote stories together, silly romances. She was always with me, a friend I carried in my pocket. And I wanted more.

But that's when life went wrong for me.

My 91 year old grandmother's forgetfulness developed into dementia with paranoid episodes. My parents weren't very concerned and felt I was best to handle it (I was always close to my grandparents). With my uncle out of state, I settled into taking care of them. So I set aside my plans for romance.

Then several months later, my father had a major stroke and lost the use of half his body. My chronically ill mother wasn't strong enough and my brother had to work to keep the family business afloat, so handling my father's schedule of therapy was all on me too.

All through two years of hell, racing between therapy and work and back to therapy and making sure my grandparents were eating and seeing her hospitalized once for an episode and again for a broken hip, as I worked on my parents house to be more accessible to my dad, and I unraveled and hardly ate some days from the stress... all through it all, she was there. 

A shoulder to lean on, empty chitchat, or writing our stories for a distraction, she was there, often staying up too late so I wasn't alone as I stayed up the night with my grandmother. She was everything to me.

A couple months ago, I hit a point where I had my feet under me and I figured, go for it. I'm almost 40, I need to live. I started getting my personal self in order, even started exercising and lost weight (she loved hiking) and set up a plan to pull extra shifts for funds to go see her and ask her out. I wanted to do it right. After all these years, I hoped she would give me another shot.

I didn't tell her I was planning on coming out, because she was dealing with a nasty flu or something and I knew she'd get stressed about cleaning for my visit. So I'd wait till she was feeling better.

But it wasn't the flu... and she died. Alone. While all weekend I wondered why she wasn't online. I didn't even worry, cus she wasn't that sick. She was just tired. I thought she was just tired.

My baby died all alone while I sat here. Cus I wasted all those years. If I hadn't been a mess, if I'd hadn't been scared, we'd have been together years ago and she'd have been safe with me. She'd have been taken care of. Her friend confirmed she'd have said yes, I could have had her wherever. 

She's been gone almost a month, and I'm dying without her. I don't see anything but loneliness and regret ahead of me. I can't live without her. I don't want to.

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Gail 8588

I am so sorry for your loss.  It is heartbreaking, to lose the companion you relied on for so many years and to lose the future you envisioned with this loving and supportive person. 

I wish she had shared with you that she was  ill, so you could have been with her. But she didn't and you have to accept her decision. You had no way to know.

Peace,

Gail

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KeirKieran

She didn't know. She thought she was just iron deficient or something. She had a bad habit of neglecting her health but no one thought it was serious. We still don't have a cause of death. I don't even know what took her from me. 

She went to bed early that night to rest up. I didn't say good night cus I didn't want the ding of her phone to wake her. She was so tired. 

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KayC

Oh my gosh, I am so sorry, your story is truly heartbreaking.  Regardless of what did or didn't happen, I hope you will keep in mind that your relationship was real, you meant the world to each other.  You couldn't have known.  And your taking care of family was valid, who of us wouldn't have done the same thing?  Or her either for that matter?  But that doesn't take away from the fact that what you had was real and you both knew it.

Sending you hugs, I hope you'll continue to come here, this is a process, we're all here together.

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KeirKieran

Thank you. I think this board will help a lot. I'm very shy in person so talking online is easier for me. 

I really hope she did know. I'm miserable thinking she thought she wasn't good enough for me. That I'd never be interested, no matter what.

She was vegan (so sweet she didn't want anything to hurt for her dinner). I'm not, but I was learning vegan recipes. I wanted to cook for her. Big nutritious beautiful meals, so I'd never hear her say she was too tired and was just going to get pasta at Olive Garden.

I was getting ready to uproot my life to make one with her. I wish I hadn't waited. If I'd have even told her, instead of waiting to see her in person, she would have been so happy. I'd at least have that.

I thought we had decades.

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KayC

Talk to her, write her a letter...we do and who knows if they have the same limitations in the spirit world as we do in the physical.  So much we don't know, the one thing I continue is hope that we will be together again and that my husband knows what I feel.

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KeirKieran

Thank you. I'm Buddhist and she was Pagan, but I find myself desperately hoping we're wrong and you're right, cus I want to see her again so badly.

But I have wrote to her. You're right, it helps some. I need to talk to her. 

I think one of the things I didn't expect about grief, that I've never even heard mentioned, is that... well, when you lose someone, they're not there to comfort you. Which seems obvious, but... that's when you need them the most, isn't it? You need support and there's no one alive who could support you like them, but they're gone. So you're going through it and they're not there to help you. I need her to survive losing her, which makes no sense, but there it is. I find myself reaching for my phone, to talk to her, cus I hurt so much, but... yeah.

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foreverhis
9 hours ago, KeirKieran said:

Thank you. I'm Buddhist and she was Pagan, but I find myself desperately hoping we're wrong and you're right, cus I want to see her again so badly.

Welcome.  I'm so sorry you lost your love.  Never doubt that is exactly what the two of you had together. 

Here's what I think about religion.  My husband and I walked away from organized religion decades ago.  We were raised Episcopal and Methodist-Episcopal.  We found it limiting as adults, but we never lost our faith that there is something more, something greater that goes beyond this world and the here-and-now.

I don't believe you need to be a specific religion to know that there are things we cannot understand in this life.  I believe that love is the greatest faith of all and that there is grace in the universe that transcends anything we can imagine.  I know with every cell in my heart and mind that my soul mate and I will be together again, somehow and somewhere.

9 hours ago, KeirKieran said:

I think one of the things I didn't expect about grief, that I've never even heard mentioned, is that... well, when you lose someone, they're not there to comfort you. Which seems obvious, but... that's when you need them the most, isn't it?

Yes, it is.  This is a universal truth we all struggle with accepting.  It's one of the many things that other people may not fully understand.  The people who care about us want to help and to be of comfort, but they cannot be the one person we need above all others.

I urge you to try not to carry the weight of the guilt you feel.  Regrets are normal and expected, but neither of you could know the future.  You took care of your family and she obviously understood it because she stuck with you through it all.  Please don't think you are to blame for what happened.  You are not.  I realize that's easy for me to say, but hard to put into practice.  I struggle with that every day.  But I think we need to try, even though it will probably take a long time to accept.

For now, just keep breathing and take each moment as it comes.

Edited by foreverhis
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KayC

It helps me to look at videos of the galaxies beyond...it makes me feel small and a part of something much grander/larger, it brings me peace.  I don't think we have to have all the answers for faith to thrive.  I continue to reach out for hope in what is beyond me and I rest in the knowledge that our love is something eternal even if our bodies are not. Peace to us all...

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KeirKieran

Thank you. I'm trying to get past the guilt, but it's hard. It feels like my whole life has been nothing but mistakes and I can't see anything else right now. I feel crushed and battered (I literally hurt).

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KeirKieran

Thanks for those links. I don't think I'm ready to really take that in, a lot of it just slid off me, but I'll come back to it. 

I've been looking for resources online, like I found the podcast Terrible, Thanks For Asking and I'm hitting a problem: all these people talk about how the deaths changed their families, how friends came around and could tell stories about the deceased. I don't have that.

I've sent some texts to one of her friends and chatted a little. I've texted with her mom, briefly, on Carly's messager (and that was utter hell to see messages from her that weren't from her and never would be again).

I tried to message her mom over facebook but again, I only have Carly's account and when I opened the messenger there was a little exchange between Carly and me. It was 5 years old and about nothing at all, but I broke down to see it. 

Being all alone with this is horrible. No one else here misses her.

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KeirKieran

I feel like I'm spamming the thread but it's 2 am and I'm going to lose it if I don't talk, even if no one's on.

I took my dad to my grandparents today, like every Sunday. With my grandmother's condition I can't explain to her about my dead should-have-been girlfriend. So I have to be chipper and normal the whole evening. But that's not the hardest part. (Anyone who's dealt with dementia is used to playing a part, I think.)

My mom, when I pick up and drop off my dad, says NOTHING to me. I never get asked if I'm okay. There are no hugs. I don't understand!

I was at their house 3 days after she'd been found. THREE DAYS! I assumed she'd be all hugs and tears and I was worried cus I couldn't break down right then (was on my way to grandma's), but nothing. Nothing later when I brought my dad back. Nothing. 

That Saturday I got a wonderful fb message about how she was there if I needed anything and, desperate, I went out to ride around with her and talk. She spent the whole time talking about the house my aunt was trying to buy. I kept waiting cus SURELY she'd say something about ME, but no. At the end of driving her around I broke down and yelled at her and sobbed about my dead friend and we talked and that felt good.

Afterwards, she asked of I wanted to stay for a bit and, honestly, being alone seemed scary right then so, relieved to have support, I stayed. We'd watch British Baking Show and I'd have some desperately needed family time. Right? 

She spent most of the 2 hrs I was there chasing after her cats and fussing with other crap. I cooked them dinner at one point cus I foolishly thought she'd interact with me. (I was wishing to die, barely eating myself, and I cooked them dinner.)

So after two episodes and a cooked dinner, I left. The only time Carly was discussed was when I broke down in the car. Mom's never asked how I am since. There was one hug. Nothing else.

If not for my best friend/roommate and my therapist, I'd have zero irl support. She saw how upset I am, I don't understand why she's being like this. My aunt, whom I hardly LIKE, showed me more compassion. 

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Gail 8588

Often people just don't know what to say or do.  I recommend you keep talking to your mom, tell her how you feel.  

I am so sorry for your loss and for the lack of support you are getting. It is so hard to navigate through life when you are grieving a great loss, especially when others don't recognize the pain you are in.

Peace

Gail

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KayC

People really don't know how to deal with death/loss, they talk about everything but.  I would tell her how you feel, it's okay to tell her that you need to talk about your friend/GF, that it drives you nuts to talk about superficial stuff when this is consuming your thoughts!  It's got to be hard to not have anyone around that knew her.  It's been 14+ years since my husband died and pretty much everyone that knew him is now gone except my family, but at least I have them even if they aren't here, I can talk with them on the phone.

I'm glad your roommate and therapist are there for you.  And I'm glad you came on here, don't worry about blowing up the forum, that's okay, that's why it's here.  We have had those middle of the night times ourselves...weekends and nights seem the worst.

I hope you will read this:
https://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/practice/disenfranchised-grief-when-grief-and-grievers-are-unrecogniz/

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foreverhis
9 hours ago, KeirKieran said:

I feel like I'm spamming the thread but it's 2 am and I'm going to lose it if I don't talk, even if no one's on.

Oh my dear, you are not spamming, especially not considering that it's your own thread.  That's what this forum is here for.  You talk whenever you need to and we will be here soon.  Believe me, you are not the first to post in the middle of the night.  I've done it; most of us have done it.

 

9 hours ago, KeirKieran said:

(Anyone who's dealt with dementia is used to playing a part, I think.)

Yes, definitely.  When my grandma developed dementia in her early 90s, she went from knowing my husband by name as my husband to calling him my "nice young man" to thinking he was her nice young man.  My wonderful husband went along with that.  We used to pick her up from the care facility and take her to dinner and then musicals or operas where my husband was in the orchestra.  The last time, her caregivers told us that she had spent 2 hours fussing and primping and dressing in her best dress because "my nice young man is coming to take me out tonight."  My love was so incredibly sweet with her and she was so happy.  You play whatever part is necessary when it's someone you love.

 

10 hours ago, KeirKieran said:

My mom, when I pick up and drop off my dad, says NOTHING to me. I never get asked if I'm okay. There are no hugs. I don't understand!

I was at their house 3 days after she'd been found. THREE DAYS! I assumed she'd be all hugs and tears and I was worried cus I couldn't break down right then (was on my way to grandma's), but nothing. Nothing later when I brought my dad back. Nothing. 

I'm so sorry that your parents can't bring themselves to give you the support you so desperately need.  When you have given so much of yourself to caring for them, it's doubly painful.  I fear there are no magic words to help with that kind of hurt.  Unfortunately, it's all too common and most of us have people in our lives (or who used to be anyway) who have been cold or unkind.  I'll never understand why some people behave this way.

You deserve better than that.  Please keep coming here to talk, no matter the time.  When you are here you will never be alone.  We "get it" in ways that no one else can because we are all living similar nightmares.

I'm sending you big comforting virtual hugs that today is an ever so slightly better day for you.

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Michelene
On 10/4/2019 at 8:10 AM, KeirKieran said:

Thank you. I'm Buddhist and she was Pagan, but I find myself desperately hoping we're wrong and you're right, cus I want to see her again so badly.

But I have wrote to her. You're right, it helps some. I need to talk to her. 

I think one of the things I didn't expect about grief, that I've never even heard mentioned, is that... well, when you lose someone, they're not there to comfort you. Which seems obvious, but... that's when you need them the most, isn't it? You need support and there's no one alive who could support you like them, but they're gone. So you're going through it and they're not there to help you. I need her to survive losing her, which makes no sense, but there it is. I find myself reaching for my phone, to talk to her, cus I hurt so much, but... yeah.

" well, when you lose someone, they're not there to comfort you. Which seems obvious, but... that's when you need them the most, isn't it?"  

Something that helped me a bit, going through the loss of my husband, was coming across this video:  

Just holding that in my head, a bird's eye view of me, trying to cope, made me feel as if my grief was seen. I kept saying that, "Do you see me? Do you SEE?" I don't feel I've "travelled back to happiness," but this made me feel as if somehow my husband could see me in my loss.

 

 

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KeirKieran
13 hours ago, Gail 8588 said:

Often people just don't know what to say or do.  I recommend you keep talking to your mom, tell her how you feel.  

I'll try again. Thanks. And thanks KayC for saying the same thing. I really am terrible at talking irl, especially about feelings.

13 hours ago, KayC said:

Thanks, I did. It did help to have it laid out. A lot.

9 hours ago, foreverhis said:

The last time, her caregivers told us that she had spent 2 hours fussing and primping and dressing in her best dress because "my nice young man is coming to take me out tonight."  My love was so incredibly sweet with her and she was so happy.  You play whatever part is necessary when it's someone you love.

Your husband sounds like a sweetheart and I'm so happy your grandma had that at the end. I keep hoping my grandma will start having those sorts of moments. Sadly it's just forgetfulness and bouts of paranoia now. But, I do what I can and keep every day as positive as I can for her and my grandpap. Thankfully my uncle is in town this month, so some of the weight is off me.

2 hours ago, Michelene said:

Something that helped me a bit, going through the loss of my husband, was coming across this video: 

I can't watch a video just yet, but I will. There's so many good things people share here.

And thank you for all these kind words from everyone. I nearly had to pull over on my way home from work today cus I was crying so hard thinking of how our life could have been if I'd have done things differently. Sometimes I really don't know how to keep going after this. I'm glad I found this site.

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KeirKieran

The loneliness is killing me. I have... almost no one. I have my roommate, Ben, but he often just falls asleep on the couch and I sit here alone. A friend from college who is never online and does nothing but work and sleep. And... that's it.

I tried all night to make conversation with Ben but nothing. I messaged my friend but no.

I had hoped that Mars' one friend would be a solid chatting friend, someone to at least talk about her with. But... she doesn't seem interested in talking much. Once a week or so. Maybe.

I joined a Facebook group for writing tonight, but of course that doesn't equal instant friends. In fact the group is so large, there's little chance at it ever bringing friends. I thought about smaller groups but... those would be strangers. I don't need strangers.

I looked through my fb friends, over and over again, but... those are just people I know. None of them chat with me. They chat with Ben but not me.

I'm... extraneous. Always have been. People get tired of me and they move on, unless I'm useful. Everyone except Mars.

I need a friend, but mine's dead. 

I just don't want to be here anymore. I don't want years of this. I missed my one chance at someone who would have loved me just as I am. Someone I could have been happy with. Someone I was happy with. I just don't want to do this anymore. It's too much.

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Gail 8588

KeirKieran,

I am so sorry you are hurting so much.  There were many times I hurt so much I didn't know how I could survive. 

All I could do is just tell myself to keep breathing.  Don't try to look too far ahead into the future right now. Just get through today.

In time you will find a life again. You just need to stay alive to get there.  Find a counselor to talk to, they can help.

Peace,

Gail

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KayC

I get not wanting to be here, sometimes I feel that way too.  The silence is deafening.  Reaching out can help but can also be exhausting.  Keep trying.  Meanwhile, we're here for you.

Have you tried a grief support group?  We had no local ones and are quite a ways from the city so I started one after a few years.  I've made many widowed friends that get it.  Sometimes we even get together for lunch or coffee.  A good way to make a friend that understands.

Not all grief support groups are the same, they are as unique as the leader and those who attend.  It might take trying a couple to find the one you feel comfortable with, and that's okay.  It's not a substitute for a grief counselor, but there can be benefits to attending.  We work through our grief, talk about things, but no one is forced to talk, that is voluntary.  A good leader should be able to keep someone from dominating the conversation and gently guide it.

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/11/grief-support-groups-what-are-benefits.html
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2010/04/finding-grief-support-that-is-right-for.html

And so you all know, I finally broke a huge hurdle for me...I need a colonoscopy.  The last thing in the world I want is cancer, so I know this is important, but I've procrastinated for a few months, I'd rather go through a root canal...and I had no one to drive me.  The one person you can count on is now dead.  No one takes their place.  I finally made contact with the Gastroenterology office after several tries and talked to them about my concerns and made an appointment and got the courage to ask a friend to drive me.  I don't know why it's so hard for me to ask for help.  I've been independent so long but we all need someone sometimes.  I did it.  Now I have but to go through it.

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KeirKieran

I'm seeing a counselor, Gail 8588. She's been a great help. It's just really hard. I keep mentally adding "after everything else" but I don't think I'd be dealing with this any better if life was going well before I lost her. She was such a huge part of my life.

And thanks, KayC. This board has been a real life line for me. And I'm glad you're heading to the doctor. Those hurdles are everywhere and waiting to get you. It feels like everything is hard now, but I shouldered my way through some phone calls today. So that's good. 

My counselor is looking into grief support groups for me. She knows what I'm like and can hopefully find some groups I can try.

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KayC

A grief counselor and a grief support group fill different purposes so I hope you can try both.  I don't know where you live but some counselors even do by phone, although I prefer in person but it's an option if you're far away from the city as I have been.  (They didn't have that back when I lost George but there was someone local although he stretched it to call himself a grief counselor.)

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/10/seeing-specialist-in-grief-counseling.html
https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-support-groups-positives-and-pitfalls/

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KeirKieran

My therapist isn't grief specialized. I saw her originally years ago for another matter completely, but I contacted her again when my life started to implode.

So I have her a bit out of her wheel house but I trust her and I don't make connections with people easily. And she always goes the extra mile for me.

I'm near a city though, so finding a grief group should be do able.

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KeirKieran

The thing that jumps up and crushes me when I think I'm getting better is the regret. Waiting is the worst mistake I ever made and I can't ever fix it.

She's dead and gone and I can't ever tell her anything. There are no solutions, no hope, no goal besides survival.

With my grandma, I could work to get her meds to make her mood better and make her last years as good as possible.

With my dad there was therapy and house improvements and exercise equipment to build.

With her dying? There's nothing. Just a void. Just a wide, dark mistake swallowing all my future. I write to her, but that's just talking to air. She's gone, that whole chunk of me is gone. The moment I reached for a bit of happiness she died, all alone. Did she know how much she meant to me? Did I ever say anything about how much her friendship and support meant? I don't know. And every time I think of spending my life without her my chest feels like it's being crushed. 

I can cry and tell her how sorry I am over and over again, but it's useless. I'm trying but I don't know how to deal with this.

When I was broken and falling apart with my family crisises, I once told her I wanted my old life back. It wasn't a good life, I was unsatisfied with my career, my apartment, my love life, my body, and I wanted it back desperately. She said there was probably a lesson there.

She was right. She was so right. I had no idea how bad my life could get.

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