Struggling with recent bereavement

2 weeks ago my wife of 13 years passed away from a rare cancer. Although married for 13 years we were a couple for 24 and she was only 41. Really struggling to come to terms with what has transpired this past year, and how quick everything happened (original prognosis was ‘a few years’). The biggest emotion at the moment is guilt. Just playing back over the past few years and wishing I had done more, been there more, listened more. The signs were there but when she needed me the most I didn’t ‘really’ listen, to caught up with kids, work, daily life. Every morning I wake up reliving it and don’t know how I can ever ‘move forward’ with the guilt I feel

Hello DanT, I’m so so sorry for the loss of your lovely wife and at such a young age. Now that you have joined this site I hope you will find some comfort from it.
Bereavement generates guilt whether it’s deserved or not. I have felt guilt for lots of things since my wife passed but if she was still with me I wouldn’t think twice about the things that now bother me.
You’re feeling guilty for dealing with everyday life during your wife’s illness and that is very understandable but your “what ifs” will not help you going forward.
It’s very early in your grieving process and your emotions are all over the place. Give yourself some time and take life an hour or day at a time.


Hi Dan I lost my wife just over a month ago she was 51 & I miss her every second of the day.
Guilt is a horrible feeling I have a lot of that but try not to let it consume you.
We can’t control the past just try to remember you loved her & she loved you.
I hope you manage to get some counselling to help you. keep posting your feelings as there are some lovely kind people on this site that wiil be able to hopefully be able to help you.
Good luck.

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Thanks both. So hard at the moment, she is in my head every minute of everyday. I know things must get easier, but it seems inconceivable to go on without her at the moment. I’m only 44, that’s a lot of life without her (assuming I live a long life).

How do you get to the point where it hurts less? Or where you can let the guilt go? Feel she was so let down by the NHS, she had been back and forth to drs & specialist, but I’ll never know what might have been.

Yes DanT, she will be in your head every minute of everday and that will continue but it will eventually get easier (or so I’m told). It’s only 4 months for me and it hasn’t got any easier, in fact it’s harder right now, but others here say that you learn to live with your grief over time.
The fact that I’m old and you are young makes no difference to our grief but I understand what you mean about a lot of life without her.
Right now it’s best not to contemplate the future and concentrate on the “now”. If you do that you can deal with what’s really bothering you at the moment instead of what might trouble you in the future.
Hope that makes sense.

I feel your pain as my wife was back & forth to the gp with pains all over her body over the years & the gp actually said you are a red herring it is all in your mind then she admitted her self into hospital with awfull pain in July 2019 & was told she had Metastatic breast Cancer that had spread to her bones.
She was put on medication which helped for 9 months then cancer got more aggressive & went to her liver.
So if gp had took her more seriously maybe she would still be here now.
I miss her terribly & if I had 3 wishes 1 would be to rid this world of Cancer so the likes of us & many other people would not have to go through this & bring all the people back to there loved ones.
I wish I could tell you when it will not hurt any more but a lot of lovely people on this site tell me to take 1 day at a time.


I forgot to add that you should not feel any guilt for any perceived failures of the health services. Read some other posts and you will see what I mean.

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Hi DanT
you are searching for answers, I doubt if there is a person among us who hasn’t asked these same questions.
Give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel and to express those feelings, The thinking part of us knows that illness, pain, suffering and death are intrinsic parts of being human, but when the one we love is taken from us, we see it as a sign that something has gone terribly wrong. It is only human to rail against this horrible injustice, to feel overwhelming feelings of pain, helplessness, frustration, hurt and fear, and to scream at the heavens, why?

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Geoffs, I can relate to your story. The hardest part for me is that she felt things were not right, as did I, but when the drs / specialists seemed unconcerned I put my faith in them. Now looking back I just wish I had taken over, got more involved, listened more. People say it doesn’t help looking back, that it won’t change anything etc, but the reality is that my wife is dead… and I could have done something. Just feel like I failed her and I can never go back, never make amends, never say ‘sorry, I’ll be better next time’. Worse thing is that her dad died at 52 in similar circumstances, lots of drs trips, constantly fobbed off only to discover too late that he had undiagnosed gastric cancer. Why oh why did I not put 2 & 2 together and be there when she needed me?

Now I feel I have to live the rest of my life with this guilt, it’s been 2 weeks and it’s eating me up. I have little faith in drs / hospital now, but that won’t bring her back.

I am actually going after the GP that kept telling my Darling Tanya had nothing wrong with her I don’t aspect any thing to happen but I will give it a bloody good try I owe it to my wife to do it.
I realise we have covid19 but when my wife was in hospital she was getting confused & she asked me to come to hospital & consultant told me she had weeks to live on the phone outside the hospital I should never have got that news on the telephone.
My wife had Epilepsy & I could help her with that & medication helped.
I need to get my Daughter checked regular as she is 13 but I will not take no for a answer.
I don’t know what I would do if I saw the Gp again.

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Good for you! I’ve also raised questions with the hospital, not that it’ll bring her back or do any good, but looking for answers.

My 11 year old son also has epilepsy, so I appreciate the stress of living with that. Makes me concerned about my future looking after my son, who is also developmentally delayed. Also have 2 older daughters so I now find myself as a single parent with no clue how to balance work/ bills/ life.

Hope you get somewhere with the gp!

Dave, it doesn’t matter how many times people tell you not to feel guilty and “you did what was best at the time” “you didn’t know” “everybody would do things differently with hindsight” None of those platitudes make a blind bit of difference to what you’ve got going on in your head. I was wracked with guilt for not realising my lovely husband had Aspergers, eventually diagnosed just three months before he died . Why ever hadn’t I realised I kept asking myself , over and over. I could have helped him but I didn’t . The thought crushed me and wouldn’t go. I was thinking about it all the time. And I can now tell you that the only answer is time, 4 months on and I can feel that painful guilt fading very slowly so I’m not obsessing about it, I’m still feeling bad about it but I a calmer more rational way which is letting me be a bit kinder to myself. Hope this helps. hang in there! x

Thank you. When I think about it logically I know I did what was right at the time and that I would never intentionally do anything to cause harm / make worse. I also know that my wife didn’t question either, like me she put her faith in the professionals. I think my feelings now stem from the fact that I was her husband, her protector, the one person above all others who should have listened. Last year I was stressed with work and she practically begged me to take time out, reduce hours, work from home, something. Looking back I think had I listened maybe that time together would have given me the space to really ‘hear’ her.

I think the problem is that the ending is so final and I will never have the chance to go back and make better, or ever talk to her about it again.
I hope this does pass, as it hurts so much and I’ve got a lot of life to live and carrying guilt will not help.

Dan, the guilt does very gradually and slowly start to seep away, I have felt that recently. But you’re right. it’s the finality that’s the killer.What I’d give to be able to go back , do things differently , apologise to him and talk everything through. But sadly the opportunity is gone and we have to learn not to keep punishing ourselves for something that was beyond our control.Hope today will be better x

It’s the mornings that are the hardest. I actually felt ok last night. Got up this morning and all the guilt and anxiety is back. Just cannot bear this feeling, I pray it passes in time.

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It’s the waking up and for a second thinking you’re in your old, lovely life then the reality hits you like a ton of bricks. And it all just comes back and crushes you. I know how you feel x And at least you can come on here and have feelings validated, which has really helped me and I hope will comfort you a little too .

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I sent a email not to the Doc surgery but above them to the complainants department which is way above the gp.
I was worried about the Doc surgery not taking any notice of me.
I relise it won’t bring my Darling Tanya back to us but I promised Tanya that I would do it & if helps somebody not have to suffer the heartbreak & loss that we have suffered after the gp said there was nothing wrong with her that will be something.
We miss Tanya so much the pain ,& loneliness is awful.:broken_heart::cry:

Geoff your post has made me so sad for you. What a terrible thing to happen and no closure for you. I so admire you for pursuing this not just for your Tanya but for others too. Wishing you every success and sending love x

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