Feel so lost and guilty

I lost my husband last Sunday - a week tomorrow. He had COPD and just diagnosed before Christmas with inoperable oesophageal cancer. He was due to start chemotherapy last week but would only extend his life expectancy to 12 months. He had been unable to eat solid food and went into hospital three times feeling breathless. He came out last Friday and I bought a bed for downstairs and a wheelchair to bring him home. He was so grateful for everything I did. On Sunday morning he called me in a panic. He couldn’t breathe. I dialled 999 and they asked him so many questions - I should have stepped in. The ambulance was on the way so I popped out to unlock the door and get my son to move his car. By the time I returned my husband had collapsed and I called 999 again. I feel so guilty I did not stay with him and he was alone. Why did I not just shout for my sons to come down? Even worse was having to start CPR when I knew he was lost. He signed a DNR form which the oncologist kept on file as ‘not imminent’. The first ambulance crew took over, then another and a third arrived. I explained he signed a DNR form but they had to continue as I did not have it at home. I feel I failed in every way and will never forgive myself.

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I am so sorry for your loss.

I too feel guilty at not being with my partner of 29 years when she passed away in the early hours of the morning the feeling that she was alone was so saddening.

But you have to come to terms with the fact that it was a chain of events that you had no control over and that you really did do your best you didn’t fail him.

I hope that you find some crumb of comfort in my reply and I know all too well how difficult it is to move forward after.


Hi @May-Day. I am so very sorry for your loss. I think @Keith1957 put it perfectly saying it was a chain of events that you had no control over. I lost my husband in November very suddenly and unexpectedly. He went downstairs to make a phone call, I was less than a minute behind him and found him unconscious on the settee. I don’t think there are many of us on here that haven’t been through the ‘why didn’t I’ ‘I should have’ ‘if only’ thoughts in our heads. I wish I’d gone downstairs the same time as my husband. One thing is certain, we both did our very best for our loved ones under the circumstances. I am a retired nurse and have done CPR many times. Why couldn’t I save my husband? Please try not to torture yourself. You did everything right. Big cuddle for you. Jean x.