about a year on

Today is the anniversary of my husband being admitted to hospital. Diagnosis of a brain tumour came a couple of days later and 6 weeks later he was dead.

I am still so sad but can't tell people except whoever reads this.

I feel guilty that I should have spotted things earlier and got help for him, that I should not have encouraged/supported him in a decision to have surgery (from which he did not recover enough to have a conversation but survived for a couple of weeks), that I could have spent more time with him in his final weeks ......... so many regrets about time not spent with him over the 42 years of our marriage, the holidays not taken together.

17 Replies

  • Hello Knotty

    I am so sorry for the loss of your husband so soon after his diagnosis of a brain tumour.

    Your feelings of regret, guilt and sadness are all part of the grief you feel for the loss of your husband. You are questioning yourself whether you could have done more. It sounds like you were incredibly supportive to your husband. It seems to me that you are looking at your decisions from your point of view today and not from your point of view as it was then. I am sure you made the best decisions with the information you had available at the time. It is all part of grieving and in time I hope you will resolve these issues. Give yourself time.

    If you find that you need help with this you can talk to your GP who can refer you for bereavement counselling. Alternatively you can contact them yourself - CRUSE bereavement care, their local telephone number is in the phone book.

    You will always be welcome here.

    Take care, Lottie.

  • Thank you.

    I actually saw my GP last week truly unrelated to my bereavement.

    She was aware of my husband's passing as he had been a patient of the same practice and I had sought help for him (a year and a day ago) but she had recorded my seeing her as my stress and had not done anything about him (but thank the good Lord for NHS 111 and the paramedic responders).

    She asked if I had friends I could talk to. I said I had though they mainly lived a hundred or more miles away. I didn't say that I didn't talk to them because I don't want their over-fussing - which is what I had when he was in the last two weeks and when I had to ask one particular friend not to phone every evening but that we could exchange daily emails. My friend is trying her best but either tells me I am "doing really well" or suggests that I must be feeling low because, for example, it's Christmas, our wedding anniversary, almost his birthday, etc which makes you think you ought to be feeling bad!

    The one place where I generally feel not unhappy is our home.

    Thank you again for your time.

  • Hello Knotty

    First I want to apologise for the delay in getting back to you. I have had an unusually busy day today.

    I wanted to thank you for your reply Knotty. I did wonder whether it was coming up to the first anniversary of your husband's passing. It is so important that you do what is right for you and what feels comfortable. You are so right friends mean well but can 'fuss' too much. Of course you feel sad and that is ok. Maybe in time you will feel sad less often but I cannot say that it ever disappears completely. Try to take one day at a time Knotty and remember that we are always here for you.

    You take care.


  • This must be very hard for you. I feel very similiar. I am thinking of you and you can always pm me. I lost my partner to cancer just over ten weeks ago. Our birthdays are coming up in August it is hard for me. I speak to Cruse.

  • Hello Knotty

    A very warm welcome to our friendly Community.

    I'm so very sorry for the loss of your husband. You will always feel a tinge of pain when the anniversary comes around but please try and understand that in no way have you anything to feel guilty about Knotty. You couldn't have known how quickly this dreadful illness was going to take him and you are in no way to blame for supporting/encouraging the man you love.

    It would really help if you felt able to see a Bereavement Counsellor and I know you said you can't talk about your loss but just posting here and letting out some of your grief out will help immensely and maybe this will give you the strength to talk about him to others, because you really need to Knotty.

    We're here to support you always.


  • Knotty I know how you are feeling. I lost my husband in February to either PSP or MSA. Both are progressive neurological conditions. So I watched him lose all use of his body and his speech. Yet he knew what was happening. It is the most awful thing to have ever gone through.

    I have been having Bereavement counselling and it has helped a great deal. I am starting to make myself do things now. Chloe is right to advise you to do the same. Go and talk to a stranger. Family and friends don't really understand how you feel no matter how kind they are?

    One of the worst things we do is beat ourselves up about all the things we didn't do. Or we didn't do as well as we think we should have. The thing is all of us do our best? Nobody knows what is around the corner and I too wish I had gone on more holidays with my husband. I wish I had taken better care of him too. Others don't see it that way. They remember me fighting to get him the best care. However because he died I feel I failed. The truth is I did my best.

    My best might not be the same as someone else's but it was the best I could do? You are in the same position. You did your best. Nothing you could do would have saved his life. That is the same for me. In the end they die? I think it was the best thing that happened to my husband as he was free of all his suffering but even thinking that way makes me feel guilty.

    I am sure reading your story that your case is the same. You feel guilty for feeling that way though? I do at times but not so often now. I am trying to recognise that I could never have saved his life and he was suffering a great deal. So be kind to yourself Knotty. You did the best you could do at the time and although it might not have been perfect it was all you could do for him. Nobody can do more?

    Marie x

  • So true Marie, So true

  • Yes part of grief is GUILT! "It's all my fault; if only, if only, if only! " Christ all Mighty (and I say this with all the honor and praise I can muster)

    My husband recently died of PSP a nuerological disease which has NO treatment....He lived with it for four years after diagnosis and probably 2 or 3 years before diagnosis...... Guilt and Anger and palliative care all happened at the same time....."Why are you doing this to me Bruce....Did you fall through another: piece of furniture, wall, window, toilet.....pee on the floor again...why are you doing this to me...."

    I so had to get on my knees and ask the Lord for comfort...."Please Lord why is this happening to me.."...You know what I learned.....? It wasn't happening to me, Bruce wasn't doing anything to me purposely and it was PSP NOT MY HUSBAND...or me!

    Let me say that again....it wasn't my husbands fault it was PSP. And I did the best I could to help him be safe and comfortable.

    You did not give your husband the tumor, He did not get the tumor to hurt you

    The tumor just was.....

    And you did what you could do in those 6 short weeks.....Ask anyone on the PSP site and you will see that a true diagnosis was not had for YEARS after their loved one started showing signs.....Guilt could be had there, but for the most part the caregiver does not feel guilt because they know there is nothing more they can do for the nesxt 6 to 10 years but help their loved one feel safe and comfortable

    You had 6 short weeks ..... PLEASE dear K, please just give yourself that so needed hug and some grief therapy. It is not anything you can do more than love the happy memories that you and your husband made.....

    Get some counseling....No Guilt K.....but unfortunately its a normal feeling...it's also normal to get through that feeling on to the next part of your lif'es journey....

    May God help you through this sadness......


    The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8-9

    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being Ephesians 3:16

    I reread my words and I should speak more for myself than for how others dealt with guilt....please don't misunderstand that those who's loved ones have PSP Don't have guilt.....I think somehow we work through this knowing that our guilt only makes our task, that of taking care of our loved one even harder....working though guilt and anger was imperative when changing the wet sheets for the third time that night....etc....So I apologize to anyone who assumes PSP caregivers don't suffer all that there is to suffer....


  • Thank you, everyone.

    When the surgeon went over options - 1 surgery followed by radio/chemo; 2 chemo; 3 radiotherapy; 4 do nothing - I asked about a prognosis for the 4th option. The answer was "up to 9 months". So back in April I thought now could have been the time he died in any event. But we would have had a few more months together even if not 9. With hindsight I also realise that a surgeon will always suggest surgery as the best option. I've learned a lot.

    One positive - I now know where eventually my own body will be placed in the good earth.



  • Knotty

    I feel for you, I really do Knotty. Hindsight can be so cruel and is rarely if ever helpful. You and your husband were not to know the outcome of surgery at the time you both made the decision.

    It is still early days Knotty. I do think bereavement counselling would help you. We are here for you whenever you need us. Take care.


  • I am able to talk to myself sensibly, particularly that I can't change the past and to live in the present and for the future.

    It took exactly a year for me really to cry for my mother's death, when I was 50, so maybe this coming month will release something (though I did sob heavily for my husband in the first few days and get weepy from time to time).

    There are also people who say that being upset shows over-attachment to other people and our bodies. Even had one person tell me she was not particularly upset when her firstborn suffered a "cot death" because all that was then left was a useless body to be disposed of and its soul was elsewhere - but that seems strangely alien to me and to most people that I mention this to.

    Thank you for reading

  • Knotty

    I believe our emotions have a habit of coming out when they are ready and not to any time scale. For me the second anniversary of my partner's passing hit me the hardest.

    Anniversaries and significant dates can be a particularly difficult time. First anniversaries can be the hardest for some, while others breeze through them. We are all individuals walking along a new path. I think it is important to listen to ourselves and do what is right for us.

    Take care Knotty, i am thinking of you.


  • Thank you so much for your message.

    What would have been my husband's 70th birthday is this Thursday and I have no particular plans - may be out at work during the day but will try to do something in the evening, possibly just walking in local green space, something we used to do for a time to walk and talk.

  • No family anywhere.

  • Thank you. Having been an only child and not having married into a big family, I am used to being on my own and it is not a problem - I am comfortable in my own company, basically not missing what I never had. I do, however, find still going out to work (I'm 70) and regular volunteering is probably a good thing.

  • Well today is that 70th birthday date and it has been very quiet. To remember him today I've bought some Blue Riband wafer biscuits (he had liked these for as long as I could remember) and had one as I sat at the kitchen table (where we had most of our meals at home) with a mug of coffee with cream.

  • Thank you for your post Knotty it resonates strongly with me. I am sorry for your loss and I share your feelings of guilt and regret .I also found it hard to deal with the phone calls when my husband was in hospital last year and after his death, I still find it hard. It was his birthday on Friday he would have been 67 and we would have been married 43 years on the same day. I had a curry with my daughter and grandson because that was his favourite meal. I too try to keep busy working part time and volunteering but sometimes that makes me feel even more lonely. I guess I just have to get used to a different life now and I am thankful for the support I get from my family.

    Take care

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