Re: Guilt and Grief

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Posted by Marie on January 29, 2001 at 19:43:39:

In Reply to: Guilt and Grief posted by Jason on January 23, 2001 at 20:26:30:


Where do I begin? I have felt all the emotions that you spoke of in your message.

My husband(37) passed away 1/03/99. He had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. This was his second bout with cancer. The first time was when we got married. He went through intense chemotherapy and was "cancer free" until Sept. of '98. This time it came back in his spinal cord and it had paralyzed him from the chest down by Dec. and left him on a respirator. He couldn't talk...because of the tube in his throat...but he was also not aware of us because they kept him so heavily sedated to keep him comfortable. I never got to speak to him or say goodbye and that has been a difficult thing to accept.

I am flooded with guilt. I wonder if I did enough......and I wonder if I maybe did too much to prolong his life. Maybe I should have let go a long time ago instead of putting him on the respirator. There are hundereds of questions I have. None that will be answered.

The hardest part of all of what you spoke of. Knowing that my children will never really know their father. I have a 6 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. My daughter remembers a lot of her father....but I'm not sure which is more painful. Her KNOWING what she is missing.....or my son NOT knowing what he is missing. Either way....they are both losing out. I too, think of the wonderful influence he would have had on them. I think of all the things that he would have done with them...and taught them. Like you...I will never be able to fill that. There are times, when I feel I can barely do what a "mom" is supposed to do. I know they love me though...and depend on's what keeps me going. They don't really LET you give up, you know?

I can remember getting through the day...and finally getting to the point where I could put them into bed. I would hold everything in....and as soon as they were tucked was like I couldn't hold it in any longer. It would build up inside of me and by the time I shut their door.....I could feel the tears begin to flow. It was almost a relief to not have to keep it together. But it also hurt like nothing I've ever felt before. I still feel that pain. Only it's not every night like it used to be. I don't think the pain ever really goes away, Jason. But in the past two years... I can say it HAS "softened". I don't know any other way to put it. And hopefully, in time, you will know what I'm talking about.

I waited and waited for Tommy to come to me with some kind of sign. I mean ANYTHING! But I never even had a dream with him IN it! Of course, not sleeping more than 3 hours every night probably had a lot to do with it. But eventually this is what happened about 6 months ago. I was having a VERY difficult time with my kids. Especially my son! I can't even begin to tell you what it was like for me. I was so emotional and so stressed out! One night I just broke down. I was crying and I was so damn mad at him for leaving me. I was crying because I needed him more than ever and I knew he just wasn't going to be there for me like he had always been before. I was crying because I knew the children needed their dad. I finally fell asleep...and had this dream. In my dream...Tommy was not alive...and I was walking through our house...I was going to check on the kids. We have a spiral staircase that leads up to a loft and I walked up there to see if they were up there. I walked slowly...listening...but I didn't hear any voices. When I got to the top of the stairs...I realized why I didn't hear was because they had fallen asleep on the floor....and there......lying between them....was their daddy. I stood shock at what I was seeing...and then without saying a word...he stood up and held his hands out to me. As badly as I wanted to...I couldn't get myself to reach out to him...for fear that he would vanish. We stood there...looking at eachother and even though he never spoke...I was getting a message that he wanted me to know he was always with the children. That's when I woke up...and spent the rest of the night lying in bed...going over every detail. It real. Even as I write has the most profound affect on me..... The strangest part of it that the very next son was completely different. I had really been struggling with him for several weeks. And suddenly...all the things that had been happening with him....were gone. I know that probably sounds silly to you. Hell, it sounds silly to ME! But I know it's what happened. Whether Tommy had anything to do with that or not, I don't know...

I have a friend that also lost her husband...and she is always sharing things with me. One thing she told that they will come to you when they know you are ready. It was almost two years before I had that "dream" or whatever you want to call it.....I will always have that image of him lying on the floor between them.....and it's just what I needed. I will never forget that...ever.

You will make it through this. I know that. Because you'll do it for your children...and for you're wife. One will be for yourself too. Take baby steps. They're better than no steps....and when you fall won't have far to go to get back to where you were. I tried hard to not think too far ahead. It would get too overwhelming thinking of myself being without him that far out into the future. I focused only on the moment. And eventually it turned into hours..and then days....and so on. There are so many hurdles you will face...but overcoming each one will heal your heart....just a little bit more each time.

I will never understand why these things happen. To me..there will never be a good enough reason....but I also can't spend the rest of my life beating myself up over something I'll never find the answer to. Unfortunately, life does go on....I noticed that the day my husband died. I wanted to scream when I saw people carrying on and doing what they do everyday! Eventually, I learned that I had to do the same. It's still a struggle, no doubt. And some days are worse than others....but I keep thinking that each day gets me a little bit closer to "living" again. And my children...well, they deserve to be as happy as they can be.....and a lot of that depends on me.

I am so sorry for your loss, Jason....
If you ever feel like me. Sometimes having someone to talk to that understands is the only comfort....


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