A year ago today me and my family took the decision, as directed by the doctor, to agree to the DNR which the medics wanted to place on my husband. David had suffered a massive brain bleed twenty four hours earlier and he was too unstable to be moved to a bigger hospital for surgery. David was a fit seventy four year old and this came out of the blue. He had a little movement in his left hand and left toes but other than that he could not speak, swallow or move. The medical advice we received, soon after the massive shock we had received, was David would never be able to walk, look after himself and would need constant twenty four hour care and we should let nature take its course.
I am feeling so guilty now that I never gave David a fighting chance, I did in fact sign his death warrant. David lived for ten days but I am tormented now that he might have recovered given time. We had been married fifty three years and it wasn’t long enough.
My family keep telling me we all took the decision as David was basically like a log of wood but the guilt is crippling me.

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Hello hainey. I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband. I asked the same question of a consultant. I was told that the decision was not ours to make as we are not qualified to make such a decision. The only thing we decided was when.
I’m not sure this will help. Please don’t feel guilty. I believe our time on this earth is destined from birth so no matter what, it was your beloved husband’s time to go. If anything you cut his suffering short and that, to my mind, is a selfless act. My husband too was called David and he passed 3 years ago, fit and healthy - massive heart attack causing brain damage. He lay on life support for 5 days, never regaining consciousness. I had the same feelings as you which I put to a consultant. It doesn’t make our grief any easier but if we can put that feeling to one side at least it’s one less thing on our mind. Sending love and understanding. xx

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Hi hainey
A year ago last week the same happened to my vibrant, happy and active 74 year old mum. She suddenly had a massive bleed on the brain. 24 hours later we were told she was brain dead and my sister and I gave permission for mums life support to be turned off. In the space of 24 hours I had gone from living with my funny mum who did all my childcare and shared our family home, day trips out, shopping, meals etc to turning off her life support
I believe I am still in shock and I often think to myself, what if I didnt give permission to turn her life support off? Would she have lived for days? Is there any treatment she could have had?
I think that we just have to accept what the medical profession tell us. Mum was brain dead and would not have recovered. Why it happened I will never know.
I know that my mum would have hated going into a home, not being independent, losing any of her physical abilities.
I’m sure your husband would have felt the same. Try to stop the guilt. You did what you did for the best and for your husband out of love.
Thinking of you.
Cheryl x

Hi Krazy_Kate and Cheryl.
Thank you both for your replies.
I am so sorry that both of you have suffered such huge losses. Do you ever wonder how you survived those early days? I know I do.
My David and I were married for 53 years and 3 months although we had known each other for years before that.
In 9 days it will be a year since he went upstairs to bed without even a headache, saying I am off to heat up your bed. Normal night. These were the last words my darling said to me. I just heard a noise, still don’t know what I heard, ran upstairs and he was leaning against the bedroom wall. He was totally immobile,like a log. I thought he had suffered a massive stroke, got an ambulance and our son. Within an hour the hospital was telling us David had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, was too unstable to move to the larger hospital for an op and probably would not survive the journey anyway. The next day we were told although he was conscious and knew we were there there would be no medical intervention and he would not be resuscitated, the damage done to his system was too much. Shattered was not the word, then or now. David remained totally immobile, with no improvement, and suffered another big bleed then continuous bleeding. until he passed away in my arms ten days later. He had been fed by drip and was kept hydrated, his swallow tested daily but no flicker of improvement. So, so sad, still angry and feeling guilty. I know my fit, healthy husband would have hated never to have been able to hill walk with his dogs, torment his beloved granddaughters and take part in family life but I would give anything to have him here.
Thank you for allowing me to write down my mixed up and guilty feelings.
I hope you both find some peace., and send you both love. Xxx

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Hi Cate
It is simply horrendous. A whole year without your husband and my mum. She did everything with my daughter and I. Now it’s just us two.
We know these things happen, but they happen to other people right?
I still can’t believe it. I honestly thought my mum would go on until she was 90. I had another 15 years with her. There was no talk at all of mum going anywhere for years. Our story changed and I dont think i will ever come to terms with it.
It’s funny you mention a noise. My dad died 21 years ago when he was 53. My mum offered to get my dad a cup of tea at 8am on a saturday morning. She was gone 10 minutes and she heard a noise. She went into the bedroom and found my dad dead. She gave cpr to no avail. The postmortem said he had a massive heart attack and would have died instantly. She wondered what that noise was for the rest of her life.
Cheryl x

Hi hainey, your circumstances are very similar to mine. My happy, heathy 75-year-old wife was upstairs on the phone to a friend and I was downstairs preparing lunch. I went upstairs to see what was keeping her and found her lying beside the bed semi conscious and knew she’d had a stroke. I was called to the hospital about two hours later and told she’d had a massive brain bleed which was not survivable. When I saw her she was not conscious and I stayed with her until she passed at 8:30 on the same evening. We were married for 56 years (together for 59) and she never had any health issues.
You endured an additional ten days of torture before your David passed but I want to assure you that you have nothing to be guilty about. There was nothing you or anybody could have done to change the outcome. You will have enough to cope with at the moment without adding guilt to the mix. Use this forum if it helps you and try to stay as strong as you can right now.

I feel for you but you did the right thing. My late husband and I discussed this and he said his worst dread would be ending up conscious but unable to communicate. He said it would be a living hell he wouldn’t put his worst enemy through. He wasn’t a wimp - he would tackle anything. But not that, In your position, I would have remembered what he said, put aside my selfish wish to keep him for ever, and let him go. You did the best possible thing and you should consider it as the greatest gift you could give him.
I admire you, and so would he, I am sure. Hugs xx

Hainey, I feel for you. Guilt is a terrible feeling and you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about, but we do. Everyone tells us not to, but it makes no difference, we’re so hard on ourselves and we shouldn’t be. We have to remind ourselves that we did the very best we could at the time and what we did was out of love. My
Mum had a massive stroke a long time ago and I remember praying that she wouldn’t survive if she couldn’t live the life she loved. and mercifully she didn’t. I didn’t have to make a decision when Malcolm had a stroke. , he never regained consciousness. But I wanted him back at all cost and would have looked after him, so desperate was I not to lose him. Then I realised how selfish that was. he would have hated being incapacitated and unable to look after others, which was his lovely kind nature. You have shown true love, letting them go , such a brave, hard thing to do xx