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Flogging Myself and Self Forgiveness


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I found this wonderful place a couple weeks ago. My wife of 43 years passed 3 weeks ago, after 17 months, of Stg 4 cancer that had Mets. I am truly alone and lost. She was the reason I existed...Thank you to those who open up and share and those who listen.

This past 3 weeks have given me a chance to relive 43 years with the most incredible person I’ve ever known. I can look back and see that I was the most selfish, controlling, uncaring human on the planet. Like all marriages we had our ups and downs. But I’ve seen the true human being I was for many of those years. I tried the last 2 years to rectify it And turn my thinking 360 degrees. But it wasn’t enough time. We didn’t talk about it. I wished we had. I hoped

My actions were evident....but now I agonize daily over how selfish and uncaring human I was. And it wasn’t her fault or problem in the first place. It was ME! I’m unable to change what happened, but the selfishness and my lack of loving/caring haunts me. The inability to truly show her how deeply I loved her/ love her and gratitude and caring I felt/feel flogs me daily. Two weeks before she passed she asked me if I had been ashamed of her or her looks? I broke down crying while we drove. I have/had NEVER felt ashamed or was ashamed of her. She was/is the most wonderful, beautiful, caring, intelligent, and loving person I ever knew. NO! And I let her know that!!! But why would that question cross her mind? I was proud she was my wife. I had tried to show her for a number of years. But I am able to replay the selfish things I continually did rationalizing the excuses away. And it hurts and I wanna Make it up to her, but can’t and therein lies much of my pain. She worked most of the marriage. She scrimped

And saved for a retirement and never got to spend any of it. It hurts. It’s emotional and Physical pain. I spend most of the day agonizing about it. Even tho’ I’m trying I’ve been unable to forgive myself for who I was ...



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I'm sure she knows how deeply you loved/cared. Sometimes you just didnt know how to Express it. But the good thing Is you told her prior . We all have feelings of guilt and what ifs . And reflecting on ourselves shows how much we truly loved them. Better to feel something then nothing!.  You'll have good days and bad ones too it's normal. Think of all the joyful times you had and focus your energy there. 


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@RenegadeRN  I am so sorry for your loss!   We can't atone for our past except to learn from it and apply what we've learned going forward...which you tried to do the last two years and that was enough for her.  It is important now to forgive yourself, to learn to be your own best friend.  Few of us start out in life knowing everything...now you have gleaned wisdom and it is important to build on that.  What would you tell your own best friend in this scenario?  Tell yourself those same things.  Learn to be kind, patient, understanding of yourself.  Beating yourself up does not help your wife or yourself, but learning and growing through this does.  We will be here for you if you want us to.

Remember, we are our own worst critics.  But that is not what we need in early grief.  

5 hours ago, JoyR said:

Think of all the joyful times you had and focus your energy there. 

Yes, this!

I wrote this article of the things I had found helpful in my grief journey, I hope you will look at these tips and find something you can apply today, perhaps on down the road you will find something else of use.  The one that helped me right away was learning to do one day at a time, and the second was learning to LOOK for joy in every day, no matter how small, nothing too small to count, also adopting Arlie (dog) was of immense help to me when I lost Lucky (dog).  He too is gone now but my son brought me a puppy a few months later, I'd hate to think how I'd have survived this crazy world without him here.


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.


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