Feelings of guilt

Hi I think I have already posted on here. Here goes I lost my husband in November 2021 he was 64 we were married 39 years together 45 years.
It was very sudden he was caring for his mum who has advanced dementia. He collapsed and was unconscious for a week then my daughter and myself had to make the decision to withdraw his life support.
I am struggling with feelings of guilt and missing him terribly I feel it was too soon.
I’m on holiday traveling around Dorset and Devon our favourite place to holiday. The tears haven’t stopped today.

Dear Meg2

I am so sorry for your loss. Life is just so hard now without our loved ones by our side. I have booked a cottage next week for the family at the place we went for family holidays and still went to for days out with grandson. The weeks leading up to this point have been so difficult and I am devastated that I will be returning without my husband by my side. I will have his ashes to scatter at a favourite remote beach but my world ended in September when he died following a motorbike accident. He had only recently turned 60 and he too was taken far too soon.

I can only imagine your pain. You were faced with a difficult decision and can only be guided by the medical professions. Grief ties us up in all sorts of emotions and feelings not least doubt, guilt … and so the list goes on. We were married close to 39 years and together 42 - the pain is just so unbearable and I still cry every day.

Take care.

Take care.

Dear Sheila.
I’m so sorry read of your sadness sending you a hug. I’m on my way home from my holiday it’s been an emotional roller coaster. The tears have been constant. Before my husband passed my daughter had purchased Bruce Springsteens new album Letter to You for my Xmas gift.
The first track makes be weep every time.
My husband was a steam rail enthusiast.
Everywhere I looked there were mature couples holding hands. I wanted to tell them to savour every moment…I didn’t.

My husband was a loveable rogue, a loner, a troubled man who hid it for years he was a dutiful son a loving dad, a pain in the neck at times, loving and affectionate.

He was difficult to read at times and yet we could finish each others sentences.

He had a breakdown 8 years ago when his dad passed. He spiraled downwards into an abyss of depression and alcoholism. My daughter and I tried everything we could to help him but he was unreachable.
Eventually he went to stay with his mum as he promised he would take care of her…it was an impossible situation he phoned me every morning at ten and often wept…he wanted to come home but couldn’t.
He was always such fun…and mischievous. He loved his job with Network Rail and was very loyal.

When our daughter was a baby she was unwell one night and he sat up all night and rocked her and sang her favourite nursery rhyme over and over to pacify her.
I found a lovely poem by Christopher Coot called The Last Journey which was read at his informal funeral, I chose The Beatles Song In My Life and we ended with The long and winding road, he would have approved.
I haven’t collected his ashes yet as they are in a different city long story.
We will rest together in the country church yard where we were married as we’re my parents. My grandparents and my mother are buried there and our daughter was baptised there and I think I was too.
Im responsible for his mum’s care she is in a nursing home. Her home is so sad his slippers by his chair this once lively safe haven is now an empty neglected space.
So many what ifs, if onlys.
The last words he said were that he loved me. He never missed my birthday valentine’s or our anniversary.
I wish I could have one more day with my obstinate, fun roguish man again.
I worry I will forget his voice.
Regards x

Dear Meg2

Your post made me weep. The love you had and shared is clear for everyone to see. It just makes our journey more difficult. My husband was quiet, loyal and devoted to his family. Like you describe it took me back to when our son was ill at a very early age and my husband sat up and rocked him until morning. My mother-in-law died of cancer and spent her final months in a Marie Curie centre. My husband visited every day and carried the burden of seeing his mother decline - his two brothers no longer live in the area and did not visit their mother that often so it all fell to my kind, gentle and sensitive husband. He broke down for months after she died but he did everything for her and could not have done anymore.

He had a tough upbringing - one of three sons to a single mam. Mother-in-law did her best for them but he did not have much in his early years and into his teens. After we married he did everything he could to ensure the kids had a better start to life. When we were meant to start ‘our time’ and enjoy a happy retirement he was killed on his motorbike. I sit looking at our wedding photo - a young couple full of hope and dreams and so in love. I feel that I am dying a little each day. I try for our kids but I just need my husband, I want my former life but that is never going to happen.

So now I prepare to go up to the beach to scatter his ashes with our kids and grandsons instead of spending happy days together as a family.

I have a short clip of my husband and I when we were trying to make our grandson laugh and also one of my husband playing with our grandson the day before he died. So I will never forget his voice but it hasn’t helped to hear it and know that he is not sitting opposite me to hear the real thing.

Take care.

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Hello Sheila. Thanks for reading and your kind comments, and for sharing your pain. I didn’t reply straight away as I thought you would be preparing to go on your holiday…
You touched a heart string…sometimes just one word can do it. You called your mother in law his “mam” it made me smile and touched me. Michael my husband used to call his mother Mam and he often used to refer to me as mam to our daughter, for some reason she found it funny…I can hear him saying it now in my head.

Somewhere in the attic I have an old video recorder from thirty odd years ago and film etc I haven’t a clue how to look at them but I found the manual yesterday… no idea if Michael is on them or not? I will look when the time is right he was usually behind the camera so I may be disappointed.

I stayed in a small apartment on holiday which was beautiful and immaculate it was warm and hard huge sash windows. I went out for a walk and closed the window as there were lots of Gulls around. When I came back there was a small delicate white feather on the table…common sense tells me it came from outside…but it made me feel as though it was there for another reason, I have kept it it gives me some sort of comfort. I felt close to Michael in Devon and Dorset and weapt every day, happy memories flooded back he loved that area, it has helped me to push the memories of him in mental torment to the back of my mind.
This week I have been sorting out his paperwork…I’ve ditched every medical letter anything negative that hinted at his mental decline. He was a fine man who struggled towards the end of his life there is no point dwelling on negatives.
I came across loads of valentine cards we sent to each other, soppy anniversary cards and birthday cards. I have made a memory box and placed these inside it as a happy legacy for our lovely daughter.
It’s a lovely Saturday afternoon and we should be sharing it in the garden together. When I go into the garage I sense him there amongst all the blokey mechanical stuff.
Were you able to scatter your husband’s ashes as you wanted to?
Regards and hugs, thanks for reading this drivel of mine.

Dear Meg2

Thank you. Just returned home today.

We did manage to scatter my husband’s ashes although this was cast into doubt as our eldest grandson (18 months) suffered a febrile convulsion the day before we were due to leave for the cottage. This is something our son suffered and something that my husband also suffered as a child. After a hospital visit he was discharged and we were able to go to the cottage as planned. My brother-in-laws and a small number of family friends were due to join us but I stood them down so that we had the flexibility to go to the beach when the grandson was well enough.

On the Sunday I could see the tension building in both our kids so as soon as the weather improved we went to the beach and placed my husband’s ashes on the waterline for the sea to take out and placed red roses in the water. I went back the next day and found one single rose petal on the beach left behind after the tide had gone out. Our son though had also accidentally dropped the flowers on the path leading to the beach so every return trip we found rose petals.

My husband’s friend had made a large pebble tribute which he gave me to place on the beach. We found a place amongst the dunes and part-buried it under a shrub. I returned alone yesterday with a picture from our wedding day. It shows us full of hopes and dreams for the years ahead of us and although we achieved so much we had so much still to do and but for the bike accident we would have been able to achieve them too.

I have returned home to more probate. The sun is shining but it brings no comfort. The place where we scattered my husband’s ashes holds so many memories of times together as a family and as a couple. It is a beautiful spot overlooking Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle - it is now my husband’s little piece of heaven until I can join him.

Like yourself our garage is full of everything husband related and I usually just break down when I have to go into it for anything.

Take care.

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Dear Meg2

Sorry… also meant to say Mam is usually very much a Northern thing as is using the phrase kids to describe our children. I am glad that it made you smile.

Take comfort from things where you can.

Dear Sheila.
I found your message so moving and visual. Thankyou for sharing.
I love Bambrough …it’s very beautiful.
I haven’t collected Michaels ashes yet as they are in York where he passed away and his funeral was held.
It’s going to be hard I think.

I haven’t visited my mum in law yet owing to covid restrictions and distance from where I live. However I’m planning to go and collect Michaels ashes next week and visit mum in law. I’m very anxious about this…I know I will weep when I see her…I’m not sure if she will know me as her dementia is advancing. The care home staff tell me she wanders around looking for Michael…it is so sad. She lost her youngest son 43 years ago he was only 15. Michael struggled loosing his brother for most of his life afterwards. Michael was a very sensitive man.

I’m missing him terribly at the moment when I go out in the car I play his favourite rock music…which upsets me so much but I feel compelled to listen as it makes me feel close to him.

We/ have a beautiful garden where I think of him and other loved ones who have passed…my mum and my cousin taken too soon who loved their gardens.

My mum always referred to her mum my grandma as mam too. She was a farmer’s daughter and dad was a farm worker it was tough back in the fifties. She did lots of baking which was lovely. I have a battered old cook book of hers from the forties it is so precious. On one of the pages she has written mam’s birthday I can only assume it suddenly came to her when doing the baking and she wrote it on the book as a reminder.

I’m struggling to know what to do with Michaels ashes…I was going to bury them in the church yard where we were married but he was a restless soul and I feel he would prefer to be set free. We never discussed it.
I have found a natural burial place in the Yorkshire Dales where we spent many happy times walking. It is close to his beloved Settle Carlisle Railway Steam Train Line. We can be scattered in this place and a tree of our choice is planted. It’s important to me that our daughter has a place to visit.

My mum in law’s neighbour kept an eye on her and supported her and Michael when he was struggling with his mum’s care. She kept me informed and she alerted me when Michael collapsed at his mum’s home. The neighbours husband has been very low recently…and I received a dreadful text from her telling me he had taken his own life. This is so awful and upsetting that men find it hard to ask for help with mental health.
Regards Meg x

Dear Meg

Thank you for your message. Yes Bamburgh is beautiful. My husband never discussed where he wanted his ashes scattered because he was killed in the accident we never thought to have that discussion. I chose that spot because we visited often and loved the place and named our last dog after it and I had always said that was where I was to go. I have worked on the basis that he would want to be reunited with me. Your thoughts around a possible place and the tree is wonderful. We used to travel around Yorkshire and often went through Settle - it too is a beautiful location. I wanted our children to be able to visit a place that would bring back happy memories and also time to spend and make more positive memories. What in fact I am trying to avoid is the inevitable one year anniversary that marks the crash. That day in September will no longer exist in my mind, I certainly do not want to go over the events of that day they are just too hard to deal with. I need to try as best I can to put a focus on a day when perhaps in the future our kids can visit and just enjoy the surroundings remembering their dad and ultimately me.

I do not have first hand experience of dementia but know from others that it is a devastating illness and so sad for the families so I am so sorry that you are also having to deal with this and so sad that your mother-in-law searches for her son.

I have my mother-in-laws old cook book ‘Mrs Beeton’ and it also contains her hand-writing. Our daughter has asked for it and she will get it in time but it is amongst a number of my husband’s possessions which only bring me heart break when I attempt to go through them.

I am sorry to hear about your mother-in-laws neighbour and the loss of her husband. I was so worried about our son after his dad died, he had already dealt with so much relating to his eldest son and then to have his dad taken the way he did I was really concerned for his mental health. Our daughter is such a sensitive soul too. And people wonder why I continue to loose weight. I am a shadow of my former self and will never be the same person I was.

I have cried buckets again today for my gentle wonderful husband. Just so need him.

I will be thinking of you - this journey is so difficult.
Sheila xx

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It’s been a while since I came on the website, it’s not always easy to talk about my husband’s passing and yet I’m talking and thinking about it in my mind.
Our daughter has been good for me since she lost her dad. I’m so proud of her and how she has dealt with it. She did however have an outburst of anger last week about him when her best friend was visiting. She said she felt he should have handled his mental health and drinking better given his age…it took me by surprise and I felt quite defensive on my husband’s behalf. I do worry about her as she bottles things up…I think perhaps she felt she could vent her anger given that her friend was with us knowing that I wouldn’t respond much. She knows that it isn’t easy for adults to deal with mental health issues. I used to work as a community mental health support worker with adults and it’s tough for them.
Without scrolling back and reading, I can’t remember if I said my husband’s company had refused to pay me the pension my husband had worked for so hard to save for our retirement, on the grounds that he died while staying at his mother’s home caring for her.
It’s been a worrying time as I was dependent on him financially, I thought I may loose the house. After a long battle the pension company have given me an apology and are now paying me a monthly pension. My husband would have been devastated if he’d known about this as he always said he’d provided for me…it sounds old fashioned in these modern times but it’s how it was. It’s a hollow victory though.
I haven’t got his ashes yet or seen his mum owing to unforseen circumstances.
My heart goes out to you for your weight loss and the reasons why it’s happened.
I think I’m crying more now than when I first lost him. There was so much to do at the beginning I’m feeling empty and can’t find any joy in the things I once did. I joined a gym yesterday but I know I won’t go back. I guess I had better get out of bed as it’s 9 15 I feel I could stay here all day.
Kind regards Meg

Dear Meg2

I stress wondering what our kids are really thinking. God knows my thoughts and I am so angry at my husband for leaving me in the way that he did. For causing so much pain to our kids - that’s not what parents are supposed to do. We are meant to protect them but I am incapable of much these days.

The pensions and probate continue to be drawn out for me. One will not pay out because the motorbike was involved. We are not talking a lot of money but it is money that my husband worked hard for.

I struggle on every day. This weekend the grandkids are away with their mam so I will be on my own. Tell myself that I will go to the beach where I scattered his ashes but in reality will probably not get out of bed as there is no point - the grandkids are my only focus now.

Take care.

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I think it’s awful when people don’t get the money that was worked hard for. When we put into pensions etc. we aren’t signing to have a life where we don’t do this and don’t do that. I hope you get what your husband worked hard for. It is little comfort but it should be yours. Take care

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Thankyou for your reply. I have finally been paid. They said my situation was unusual. My mum in law made my husband promise not to put her in a care home if she got dementia or anything else. She nursed my dad in law for five years and fell ill her self, my husband worked in the south and we weren’t told. The powers that be had to find emergency care for him while mum in law was in hospital. Had we known we would have gone to care for him. While he was in care he fell and broke his leg and ended up with pneumonia he died two days later. Mum in law couldn’t forgive the care home but was in no fit state to have it all investigated. This was the reason she was scared to go in a care home hence my husband being her carer. He tried valiantly to care for her despite his own failing health.
Eventually the pension trustees began to understand and paid out…it won’t bring him back but I have bills to pay etc. He never took a day off work and was working over 80 hours a week at the end of his career…he never got over his dad’s death they were best friends, he channelled his grief into working non stop. My sorrow is that for the last two years he had no life and sat on his chair every day doing nothing but watch TV and drink alcohol. He was such an active man before with a lovely funny kind and cheeky at times personality. Robbed of his own retirement because he was a dutiful son. Sadly his mum did go in a carehome I’m not able to care for her as her behaviour is challenging. However the care home have been very good. As people are living longer and families don’t stay in their home towns these days, I fear this will happen more and more.
Kind regards Meg

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Hello Sheila.
I thought about you today, I was awake at 4 30 am. Did you manage to get up and make something of your day?
I wept so much today going over things. Why didn’t I do things differently etc. I made a half hearted attempt at housework and there is a mountain of ironing and a pile of envelopes to open regarding mum in law who has yet another social worker allocated to her.
When my husband went to care for and live with his mum. I was very angry at the time. He went on Xmas Eve. I know now he thought he was dragging me down with him.

In 2019 I was having a cup of tea in a cafe locally and a man asked if he could sit at my table as there was no space anywhere. I said it was ok. We chatted a bit and he said he was divorced he had a sadness about him.
We met again for coffee…he told me his recent partner had passed away. I didn’t enquire how.
At a later stage I asked him what happened. He told me she was in desperate pain with her back and couldn’t take anymore of it. One Saturday he went to her home and she had killed herself and he found her. It was devastating for him.
We didn’t see each other again because of covid and my caring duties.
We recently went to Lincoln Cathedral and lit votive candles. We both wept silently. I do not know if he will ever get over this. We went for a walk yesterday both thinking our own thoughts. I found another white feather today on the landing. I’ve put it with the other one in a box.
Regards Meg

Dear Meg

Managed to get up with lots of things I thought I would get through as the weather was terrible and prevented me going up to the beach as I had hoped to do. So instead I have tried to sort out the rest of the spare room. Fortunately I knew there would be nothing that I could stumble on that belonged to my husband. My husband did all the DIY and there are lots of little jobs that he never got round to doing before he died. I thought I would put up a picture and it took me over an hour with lots of holes in the wall as I am not a practical person and could not line up the two hooks properly. Eventually managed and the picture is hiding all my mistakes. Will not try to tackle anything else like that and try and get people to help.

Slept on the settee quite a few times inbetween crying. I have not spoken to anyone since lunch-time yesterday. No one rings and when I attempted to call our son he didn’t want to talk for long. He was going to work but also I know the approaching date is hard for both our kids. Daughter texted to say that she had been upset today, something at work had triggered this.

The days are just empty now. Moving the same ornaments around constantly anything to stop thinking about my husband and our huge loss. I am so sorry that you too find yourself in this same position. Like your husband mine worked hard all his life and was really off work sick. He worked away for years too, subcontracted out to Sellafield and took work up in Kelso on another occasion. On the day he died he had gone back up to Kelso to revisit the town. Life is now just a series of ‘what ifs…’ and heartbreak.

I am so sorry for that man’s loss. I can only imagine how he felt that day of his wife’s death and since. The church where we held my husband’s funeral service and where he had served as a choir boy continue to light votive candles and send me cards to mark those events. I have them in the window at home. I hope to be able to attend services there soon but it is only a very small church so attendance is limited at present.

I am desperate to have some sense of my husband’s presence. I pray every night for a sign but todate there has been nothing. I have started to think about a memory box to place my husband’s treasured possessions in and went on-line. Some are too small for what I am thinking and the others are just too pricey. Will continue looking though.

Take care and thank you for thinking of me it brought me some comfort.

Dear Sheila.
Your message is so moving and I’m teary as I type this. My daughter has gone away for the weekend to Whitby, I’m at home on my own but I don’t mind it’s a break for both of us as she has been working from home since last March 2020.
I heard Richard Coles vicar on radio two he lost his partner/husband. He said something like "make the most of your friends and family after loved ones passing because they fall away very quickly. I have found this, although my sister has been very good. She lost her husband a few years ago. I didn’t get to it as it was a long way away and my driving licence had run out owing to a health condition I have and I had a very sick dog who I couldn’t leave. I found out recently that my husband’s funeral was held on the same date as my brother in law’s.

Your picture hanging experience made me smile, I have made many holes in walls getting pictures right.

When my husband died I was in the middle of getting our bedroom decorated… it stopped when he died. I have had it finished but when the decorator was ripping the paper off I felt he was ripping my husband away who had put the paper on.

I am doing a memory box for my mum in law I have to see her I’m dreading it.
I have a folder with cards and stuff etc for our daughter. A shoe box is good.
My husband loved funny ties. I have them all including his wedding tie.
My feathers are comforting but I know it’s just coincidence.
I am approaching a significant date too in September…we were married on the 11th and my mothers funeral was the same date then much later the twin tower attack happened on the same date.
My friend lost her husband and after a year she said stoicly “we have had the last of the firsts”
Take care Meg

I have made many typos but I’m sure you get the drift

I meant I didn’t get to her husband’s funeral. Meg

Dear Meg

Thank you. Decided to get up at a more decent time but know that it will be a long day. I never hear from anyone on a weekend so I will not expect any calls today. Hoping that the grandsons return home early so that I can perhaps go round and give them a cuddle.

We down-sized just over four years ago after both loosing our jobs. We were just coming to the end of renovating it and there are only a few jobs left to complete. I need tradesmen but of course they are too small for them to be interested in even turning up to give a price. A neighbour said in December he would come and do the jobs for me but despite going round a few times over the past 7 months it looks like I can no longer depend on his help. I know the vicar you are talking about - I am sure he was part of a band (Frankie Goes to Hollywood perhaps). I watched the Chris Packham documentary the other night and he asked people to think and support others who are suffering. It was on mental health but I had hoped that it would spark some of our friends/family to think of me and my family and perhaps give me a call. Still waiting but it was a very good programme. Me and husband always watched Chris Packham’s nature shows but have not been able to view these programmes since my husband died.

Things just trigger different emotions and feelings. I am still trying to find my husband’s wedding rings so decided to go through the pockets of his jackets - it felt as if I was trying to rob him. Unfortunately still cannot locate it. Will just have to keep searching.

It will be a dificult day for you on 11 September and I will think of you.

Take care and lets hope for a day with some respite from the overwhelming grief.


I hope you have found the rings. My husband never had one as he said they were dangerous him being an engineer on the railway.
I have his dad’s wedding ring and I think what was his paternal Grandma’s engagement ring. I’ve put them in the box with the feathers. My husband was the only grand child on that side.

I feel guilty going through his things it feels wrong somehow. It also feels wrong clearing his mum’s home out, I feel as though I am intruding.

Having a difficult week…one minute I’m functioning then as you say it’s the little things that come from nowhere. I came across a picture of my husband having just bathed our daughter when she was a baby she’s all wrapped up in a fluffy towel and he’s holding her to him safely…I miss that feeling of protection…asking for his advice, making decisions together I didn’t always take notice but it’s that feeling of security.
I suppose when we made our vows we knew that one of us would be left behind but you don’t think about it at the time when you are starting your life together, and rightly so.
I never imagined I would be his carer either. I don’t ever remember that word being used in my youth. Although my mum looked after my grandma for a long time.

When my husband was poorly I had to get help and I was fortunate in finding a local handyman, who has been a saviour over the last three years he even walked my dogs when I injured my back. Perhaps you can find somebody like this in a local paper.

Getting out of bed up and dressed is taking me all morning these days. I’m sure I would have been better if I had still been working.
The ironing pile is growing higher…I never did like it and my husband often did it when he was at home…he was very domesticated our daughter used to tease him about it, and my friends used to ask if they could borrow him. That makes me smile I’m not sure why?

I looked on Facebook today lots of pictures of friends holidays on there. It’s not easy looking but glad they are enjoying it, all three of these families have gone through their own heartache.
I still haven’t visited my mum in law, I always find an excuse not to go. I know she won’t know me but It may give her some comfort or cause her distress I just don’t know.
Regards Meg