Does the guilty feeling go away?

I lost my wife in June 2019, she had ill health for most of her life but was a strong independent woman. She had an ileostomy bag for 18 years and was too proud to let me help to change it. Plus she had COPD due to smoking which she gave up 25 years before she died. 12 months before she passed she began to have vascular dementia, with that came the mood changes, name calling and hallucinations, towards the end she developed heart failure.
As I said she was a strong determined woman whom I loved dearly, she was in hospital when she was told that she was at end of life and immediately signed herself out to die at home. We had wonderful nurses and good support, our sons work gave him masses of time off and he watched her at night and I cared for her during the day. I took over changing her ileostomy bag of which she always had trouble doing this and had many leaks because she was bent over changing it herself. She always had sores around her stoma. Because she was bedridden lying flat I am proud to say that I cleared the sore skin.
Due to the dementia I feel like I lost her twice, the first time with dementia and the second time when she passed.
I have been out socially once after her death but was always looking for her to come through the door as we were never apart except when we were at work I lasted an hour at the event and went home.
I was due to go to two reunions at the beginning of April and May and was really looking forward to them they have been postponed, but with this COVID-19 lock down I am going into a depression and the feeling of guilt keeps rearing its head. I want my wife back but I realise that she isn’t in pain or suffering with dementia.
I live alone with 2 dogs and a cat, my son contacts me every and does my shopping as I’m diabetic and have asthma. my neighbours are good, but I feel so alone. My wife and I kissed and cuddled every day of our marriage and I miss her so much.

Hello @redragon77 and welcome to this community. This is a very honest and open post Thankyou so much for sharing it. I am so very sorry that you have had to endure so much, it sounds like it has been very tough for you. But it also sounds like your wife was and still is loved very very much. We are here to support you in anyway we can through this, and I hope that you will find some comfort knowing that you are not alone here.

Welcome Reddragon.
I lost my wife in January 2019 after a long illness, though the end came quickly and unexpectedly. Like you I have feelings of guilt, as though I didn’t do everything I could to make her life more bearable. I did do that, but you always think you could have done more. It’s irrational, but a very human feeling when it involves someone you love. And of course, you don’t stop loving them, just because they are not there any more.
It sounds as though your attempts at socialising were too soon for you. I know we’re all confined to barracks at the moment, but when they let us out, don’t feel under any pressure to push yourself.
The right time will come on its own.
It sounds as though you are lucky with your son and neighbours, so try to think about what you have.
I hope that helps. I’m told that it gets better with time, that you learn to adapt to a new way of living. I’m still trying to do that, and not doing it very well.
But you are not on your own, lots of others share your feelings and understand how you feel.
Best Wishes

Thank you Allie, Yes I dearly loved my wife. What I went through was nothing to what she went through in her life time, from being sexually assaulted by her aunties husband when she was ten, as I said illnesses through out her life, she married her first husband and were together for two years, he was sadly killed in a motorbike accident. I knew her and her husband at school, in fact her cousin was my best friend I was away in the merchant navy when I heard of her husbands death. when I got home I went to give her my condolences. We sat talking of him till the early hours. She told me that every time she mentioned her husband to her family they changed the subject, she told me it was lovely to talk to someone who knew him and let her talk.
When I went back to sea, we wrote to each other. On my next leave we were becoming quite close but she always thought of what others would say. We met up and had a serious talk and decided to remain just good friends. 8 months later I left the navy and we were married. we were together for 44 years and had a son but she had two miscarriages, one an ectopic I nearly lost her then.
Again she went through hell as I had joined the prison service, I was posted to HMP Manchester (Strangeway) and was there when a 25 day prison riot broke out on the 1st April 1990, she didn’t know where I was or what happened to me for the first 36 hours of the riot. I was almost killed twice plus an officer and an inmate did die. When it was all over us staff were sent all over the country to other prisons that were short staffed. I began to drink heavily and with being 6 feet 4 inches tall, I scared my wife when I was drunk. I never threatened her or physically assaulted her. I was told by my doctor that my liver was beginning to suffer, I stopped dirking 15 years ago and don’t drink at all.
I have thought about suicide especially since this lockdown began but I love my son and grandsons too much for that. They have been through a lot, not only with my wife, they lost their mother to breast cancer three years ago.
I’m sorry for going on Allie, I was just going to thank you at first but it all came flooding back. With all our troubles our love got us through it all, and I miss her so much.
Best regards. Do I have to stay incognito when I’m writing to you or can I use my name?

If you are happy to use your name then you can of course. I am so pleased that with all the things that life threw at you both that you had each other and were able to build a life and grow a family together and that now through these hard times; that same family that you created together are the ones to support you and show you the deep love that you clearly had with your wife and that it continues in their form. I hope that being able to share your thoughts and feelings here where is it is welcomed to and is safe and supportive to brings your some level of comfort as I’m sure for others in your position it will also gives comfort to know they are not alone in their feelings. We are very much here to help and support wherever we can. I think you can be very proud for being able to do so and also for the love you have for your late wife.

Hello John, I am sorry for your sad loss, it hurts so deeply. Thank you for your kind words. You are correct in saying it was too soon after her death to go out and try to socialise, she passed in late June and this was early September. I have been out to see Lynda’s sister who lives about 50 miles away a couple of times before the lock down.
I have been seeing a beratement councillor who is based at the hospice where Lynda passed, she was pleased with my progress. Since this lockdown The councillor told me that due to COVID-19 the hospice, quite understandably had stopped visitors. She also asked if I would like phone consultations, I said no due to me receiving her counselling for 7 months and she will be inundated with new clients. It’s since then the feeling of guilt has taken over even though the nurses who administered to Lynda at home were full of praise for the way I coped. I still can’t shake the guilt
Your words have given me some comfort to me. Again thank you.
Best regards, Brent.

This time Allie, it’s a thank you and God bless.
Best wishes Brent.

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How strange that we should connect, Brent: My wife’s name was Lynda with a y as well.
Unfortunately, she was the last one in her family, so I’ve no-one to talk to about her.
I’m no expert, but it seems to me that the feeling of guilt is quite common, and is stronger the more you felt for the one you lost. It’s illogical, but no less real for that.
I haven’t thrown it off, but manage to ignore it most of the time - it’s the only way I can deal with it.
I hope you too find a way.
Best Wishes

It’s a small world John, Lynda always said her name was spelled the posh way and not the common way with an I. She was a strong woman who definitely had a mind of her own. It was so cruel to watch her deteriorate with dementia, her job was looking after the old and infirm n the community, she loved caring for them.
I don’t seam to be able to tell anyone about my guilt in case I upset them. I could tell the bereavement counsellor but she is too busy now.
Best regards Brent.