I wasn't there for him...

This just keeps going over and over in my mind, i cry whenever i think back to that day i found my Richard dead sitting in his armchair that he was always, and i do mean " always " there for me, yet the one day he needed me, i wasn’t there for him, i just didn’t know…I was too late, maybe just seconds or minutes as i heard some noise…

Sweetheart, these guilty feelings are totally normal in grief, but it’s just your brain working things out. You were not far away, neither of you could have known, and you certainly would have been there if you had. When these thoughts push in turn them round to a time you were there together, a place you visited, a night out you loved, a birthday celebration, a lifetime of love. Xxx

Liz…
…my Richard was due to go back to collect our dog from the pet groomers, i was as usual on the-his computer where i lost track of all time, i should have gone to check on him why he hadn’t gone back, it was only after the phone rang that i went to investigate…You are right, if Richard had known that he was going to die he would never had driven out in his car and with the intentions of driving back to collect our dog…

Jackie,
I cant tell you to stop having those guilty feelings because you still will as I still will feel guilt about my mum. What I will say is that you couldn’t have saved Richard even if you heard funny noises and went to investigate. His heart stopped and you couldn’t have saved him. My dad was just 53 (and he was called richard as well)
My mum only popped to get him a cup of tea and when she came back he was gone. The ambulance crew were there within minutes and there was nothing they could do. My mum was actually with a team of doctors when she suffered her stroke. You see the adverts on the tv dont you? Act FAST.
They couldn’t have acted any faster and mum was whipped in for a brain scan in 2 minutes flat. There was nothing they could do. All I’m saying jackie, is miss Richard, grieve richard and yearn for your old life. But please don’t think you could have saved him. I work for an emergency service and the chances of saving someone who has a heart attack at home is so low. For whatever reason, your Richard, my dad,my mum…they were meant to go that day.
Now that’s not going to help us with our loss but you must try to stop feeling guilty. It will eat you up x

Cheryl is so right. Apparently even with a defib the statistics are appalling low. Unless you are trained medic with a defib you would never have saved him. We are all left with so much guilt. I’m a terrible one for putting guilt on my shoulders. But this really is one thing you could not know or change. My aunt found her soulmate of 40 years dead in his chair too. It’s so scarily common. You really must try and put this thought out of your head. If it’s the one thing you do today lovely.

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Hi Jackie
My father passed away just the same as Richard. In his forties a fit sports man and watching his favourite programme ‘Match of the day’. My mother was sat next to him and had no idea he had passed away until she asked him if he wanted a cup of tea. She was told by a doctor that if he had been sat on the arm of my father chair he wouldn’t have been able to save dad. My mother also had the same guilt as you have. So please take comfort that you was a couple that loved each other.
Pat

My Mum died from a massive heart attack in hospital. More or less the exact words from the doctor who broke the news was " cpr is not like you see it on casualty, it has a very low success rate." When i googled it shortly, after Mum’s death it indicated the low percentage of success. i am dealing with a lot of ‘what if’s’. It’s very, very sad. There is no certainty if we had been personally able to do everything we could have done for them, whether they still would have lived. People are just more fragile that we perhaps realised.

I can’t shake the guilty feelings either. I keep going over the day I found my mum in bed suffering and I could have found her earlier than I did. The signs were there to check her earlier when I look back in hindsight. I heard her almost shouting before I got up (we were all staying in the same holiday cottage) . I had a message on my phone from my dad I didn’t check when I got up. I now know, her shouting was her talking to my dad on the phone while she was out of breath. The message was from dad asking me what’s up with mum. I instead got up and went downstairs and did the washing up before asking my daughter where grandma was. The reply was that she was wasn’t very well. That’s when I discovered her. Why didn’t I check my phone? Why didn’t I check on her when I got up? Why didn’t I check on her when I heard her unusual voice? Would 45 minutes have made any difference? Maybe.
All these questions kill me over and over.
Bottom line is, all this guilt I can’t shift will not change a thing so the best thing for me and all of us is to work towards acceptance and peace. It’ll take a while and is hard but I have no alternative if I want to stay sane.
These are all feelings I now have internally, nobody sees these thoughts or would even think anything is going on in my head but every day I’m living with deep sorrow that this has happened and there is nothing I can now do to change it.
I think a lot of us are in this position.

Shaun,
You are just going through the normal feelings if guilt that we all are. We arent psychics or doctors. We cant check on our mums every minute of every day. I shudder now when I think that my mum had suffered a historic heart attack she knew nothing about. She had been looking after my daughter since she was 11 weeks old so I could work. At any time in recent months my daughter could have rung me and said she couldn’t wake nanny up.
You weren’t to know your mum was close to death. You were on holiday and she had been buying souvenirs having a fabulous time. I think we gave to learn to accept that what happened to our mums on those last days were meant to happen. We just didnt know it at the time. Look at my mum, she was already in hospital with doctors by her side and they couldn’t save her. I dont think your mum could have been saved even if she was in hospital. As sad as it is I think they were at the end of their lives. I’ve learnt that hospitals arent miracle workers and medicine isn’t magic. I still feel guilty but I’m good at telling others not to by the way…

Yep guilt here. How could mum be living with cancer and no one knew. It’s just a bad back everyone said. “Oh Gosh what bad luck you now have a caught a cough that’s making your back worse”. Dad feels the most guilt. He went to work the morning she collapsed. I was partying it up here in Cornwall with a houseful of visitors enjoying our new house by the beach. Hadn’t seen mum for 8 weeks the longest I have never seen her for. But we said “it’s ok we have lots planned together for the rest of the year it’s just a temporary absence of seeing each other”. Yet she was at home slowly dying of cancer. But we trusted the drs all who said. Pulled back muscle and chest infection. Xrays were all clear too. I’ll never forgive myself for not cancelling all those visitors and driving back to see her.

Cheryl,
I have to agree with everything you say. You are right and life is wrong. Your last sentence made me chuckle. I’m good at giving advice not to feel guilt as I know that we shouldn’t, but if only I could follow my own advice! I almost have to put up a wall around those dark thoughts about that day and distance myself from the memories and images. They don’t seem to have softened with time and still cut deeply if I dwell on them.
I sometimes look at my holiday photos and see her enjoying herself with my daughter and munching on sausages from a beach BBQ. I look at her face and say, ‘You’ve no idea you are about to die in x days’, Nothing in those pictures gives any clue at all, it’s bitter sweet, it’s mad.
None of us know what the future brings apart from the two certainties of life. There are no miracles that I’ve seen and I’m certainly aware of the limitations hospitals and medicine. I shall have to come to accept that nothing I could have done would have changed the outcome. That’s my advice to all and I’m going to have a hard time taking that on board myself.

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