Guilt and grief

It’s nearly a year since I lost John my husband to cancer. It could be yesterday. I still struggle with the fact I was not with hi. When he died. I arrived just a few mins afterwards. I find it hard to cope with the fact he probably thought I never cared. The Sue Ryder staff were with him. I still after a year can beat my self up over this and blamed my son for not getting me there. Does it ever get easier?

It will be 10 months on Monday since I lost my John to the dreaded cancer too. I cared for him for a long time and feel lost and lonely and life has no meaning whatsoever without him. Guilt is something that we all experience, I find things to add to my long list everyday. Perhaps your John did not want add to your distress and decided to slip away quietly. Although you were not present he knew your love was with him and no doubt the last image he had in his head was of your lovely face and smile. Just remember he’s never too far away from you, his love and guidance will always surround you. I talk to my husband all the time and I know he has helped me on more than one occasion; no I’m not a nutcase, not yet anyway.
Here’s a poem I found earlier, which I think says it all.
Time for me to go now, I won’t say goodbye
Look for me in rainbows, way up in the sky.
In the morning sunrise when all the world is new,
just look for me and love me as you know I loved you.
Time for me to leave you, I won’t say goodbye,
Look for me in rainbows, high up in the sky.
In the evening sunset, when all the world is through,
just look for me and love me and I’ll be close to you.
It won’t be forever, the day will come and then
my loving arms will hold you, when we meet again
Time for us to part now, we won’t say goodbye,
Look for me in rainbows, shining in the sky.
Every waking moment, and all your whole life through
just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.
Just wish me to be near you, and I’ll be there with you.

I can’t say much about it getting easier as I’m still riding my roller coaster, just take one day at a time and accept any help you can get. This community is always here so keep posting even if it is just to say hello or get things off your chest.

Take care. Hugs Libby x

Hi Rachel. My husband collapsed in the garden on Valentine’s Day 2 years ago and I have wondered whether I should have looked out,the window sooner, should I have not let him do that wee job in the garden. There are so many ifs and buts but I know my husband knew I loved him no matter what. I feel for your son too as he must know of your concerns. Your husband is with you and smiling and he does not want any feelings of guilt, just memories of love and laughter. It is so hard to have these memories as grief is so overwhelming but try to be kind to yourself. I don’t know if it gets easier but I can stop crying in the street now and can smile at a picture now. Take care and best of wishes for the future. X

Hi Rachel,

How are you feeling today?

Have you had any support or anyone to talk to since John’s death? If he was being cared for through a Sue Ryder hospice then you should also be able to get some bereavement support from the hospice.

As you can see from Ev and Libby’s replies, guilt is a very common part of grief, and very difficult to deal with. How are things between you and your son now?

John died in Nettlebed.
I have had to move to keep my head above water so i believe my nearest is leckhampton, I work in the local Sue Ryder shop in Abergavenny. I was offered an appointment the day John died but I really could not cope with the same day as his death. Karen just happened to be there that day, I had a few sessions before he died but nothing prepares you for after and when you most need the support its gone.
I still cry every time I think of the fact i was not there and its becoming more of an obsession now, i know that but cannot do anything about it however much I try and I do try. My Son speaks to me but we have lost the closeness and that also shows with how much I see him and his family.

Ah, I see, if you have moved away, that may have complicated things, but I believe they do also offer telephone support. Would you like me to find out if they can still get in touch with you over the phone?

I’m so sorry to hear that you and your son are not as close as you were. Bereavement can have such a huge impact on families and relationships.

Hi Rachel. It is difficult, words are so useless at a time like this, and beating yourself up is not going to help. Me telling you that you having nothing to feel guilty about is not going to help you either - I appreciate that. I hope that you can tell yourself and come to see that you are in grief and that you really do have nothing to feel guilty about. I should have looked out quicker, I should have told Billy to stay in because it was cold and the wee job could wait. None of it would have changed the outcome and my husband new and knows still how much I love him and so does yours. Re your son. When my leer son got married things were difficult from his wife to be and I won’t go into detail but we went from a close family to one which had a distance between us and our elder son. My husband was so hurt he wanted to walk away but I knew we had to keep chipping away and that contact, no matter how little was so important. There was many a time when we felt so isolated. The strategy worked and we became very close with our son and grandchildren. If you just take tiny steps and chip away it will possibly work out for you too. Tiny steps to forgive yourself would be something else to strive for. I hope this doesn’t sound like preaching and I don’t usually talk about the problem we had but I hope it may give you even a little inspiration. Take care and try to be kind to yourself we are just human. Xx

Thankyou this is so helpful I so appreciate it. Thankyou X

Thankyou I did not move until October so plenty of time before I moved. No I need face to face a lot gets lost over the phone. Facial expressions etc . It is expensive but I am saving up to get help. I am on the Cruise waiting list and have spoken to my doctor. Rachel

Hi Rachel,

I’m very sorry to hear that you didn’t hear from Nettlebed before you moved. Would you like me to pass this feedback on to them? If you are looking for face-to-face support then I understand this may not be very helpful now but we can still make them aware that there was an issue.

It sounds as though you are taking all the right steps to get help now, although it is such a shame that you have to wait and/or save up. I hope that posting here may help a little bit in the meantime.

Oh yes, it does but with time. If this is of any comfort, Rachel you will go through the stages of grief and come out the ‘other side’ with happy memories. You will be able to celebrate his life and carry the happier memories with you into your future. I believe the life you lived together bears witness to your inner closeness and love for each other and so even though you were not physically present, he would have known that any delays would have been unavoidable. Would he have wanted you to be assured there is no one to blame because Life is not fixed and we have and will never have control over every aspect of it? The reality is you know him - you knew him, think on the fact that his last thoughts being on you/his family what would they have been. Do you believe he would not be apportioning blame but more being in a peaceful non-conflicting inner place . When one of my brothers died, years later I saw a young man in the distance, went up to him and touched him on the shoulder. I totally forgot he had passed because my thoughts were of the happy, growing-up, sharing times we spent as siblings (he went into hospital the Friday and sent a message for me to visit him. I decided to go on the Saturday but he passed earlier that day). I was devastated. What was he going to say to me? We will recover, but give yourself time - a time that cannot be measured.

Rachel, I look at your situation from another angle, have you ever thought that John was the one who decided to spare you! Not all of us will leave this world by taking one last breath and simply going to sleep. He may have been holding all the cards and decided his time was right, you had already gone through so much, the last thing he wanted was you remembering his passing as an event. The guilt thing is just another of the grief processes we have to go through, if its not one thing it will be another, I went through so many! It does get better! As humans we like to be able to be in control and grief takes that away from us. Time is the healer. Sending you positive vibes as I am sure John would be doing.

Hi Rachel,

How are you doing? We haven’t heard from you for a little while, so I just want to send good wishes. I hope it’s been a little bit of a help to read some of the replies from others and hear that they also struggled with feelings of guilt.

Community user MrsMC has made her first post on the site today. She lost her husband at Christmas and is struggling with memories of times when they argued. Can anyone relate to this?

You can read or reply to her post here:

Hello I lost someone I love and I can not talk to my family how I feel cause it is hard. And I feel guilty because I tried to help him that day but I could of tried harder but I didn’t and I miss him and I just feel so guilty

Hi Libby

just wanted to say thank you for posting the poem. Made me cry but is lovely.

I lost my mum seven weeks ago now and beat myself up worrying I didn’t do enough for her. I miss her so much, her smile, her laugh, her sense of humour. I have very little close family with one member of the family being really horrible to me. I have been told I am irritating them by crying and basically can do nothing right. They want to erase Mum from their lives now and get rid of all her things. It is breaking my heart to think of doing it but the non stop bullying is wearing me down.

Dear Phiz and Libby,

The poem also made me cry, but it is beautiful and I find comfort in it.

My half brother has left me to deal with everything and when I told him Dad had died he said he wasn’t my father and put the phone down. Dad brought him up with care from a young age. He’s also walked away from his mum. People can be wicked.