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"If Onlys"


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Today I had a lovely morning with a friend. We got up very early and hiked along the coast -- an escape from the heat with lovely scenery.

I came home to a life insurance check in the mail. Bill looking out for me still. He was so worried about that. It was so important to him that I be okay. He worked so hard for it. As usual, he came through. But it made me very sad.

Then they start. The "if only" thoughts. The regrets for things I should have done better, particularly in the last several days. The regrets for things I simply should have known better about when he was in hospital. Times I was thoughtless or too preoccupied to notice little things. The idea that I of all people -- the person he most counted on for everything -- might have done anything to increase any anxiety he was feeling. Might have made him believe that I had given up hope.

How do you deal with that?

I tell myself I know what Bill would say. He would say "thank you." He would tell me to see the big picture. He would give me excuses, like I was under so much pressure, scared, sad, exhausted, etc. Or maybe those are excuses I give myself. Either way, they don't work right now, and I'm not sure if they ever will.

But he looks out for me still.

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I cared for my Mom for a long time in her final illness. It was logistically hard for me - I was working full time and still raising 2 children, and honestly could not miss seeing her for even a single day due to her needs. I was sometimes frantic with stress and know that at times, I didn't give her my true full attention. This was for reasons that now sound silly to me, like worrying about being home in time to get my housework done, or feeling too tired. Once she passed, a lot of those moments came rushing back to me, and I felt like kicking myself. I felt like an idiot for having rushed her bath or feeding, or curtailing conversation with her so that I could get my own (meaningless) things done.

I've simply coped by gradually realizing, knowing, somehow, that she now understands and forgives me. I really feel that somehow, and I believe that it's her telling me.

As for you and Bill - I've seldom witnessed anyone rising to the occasion as you did for Bill. You poured concern, hope, and compassion on him. You modeled a lot of traits that I learned from, even at this distance. You have nothing to regret, except that his illness happened.

I think that he sees and understands everything about you now, and has only love and appreciation.


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The " Coulda, shoulda, Wouldas, and 5 $ will get you a Large Starbucks coffee!!" don't let the guilt take over. You did everything you could in every way you could. Bill is always watching over you and protecting you from Harms way Teri. You did the best you could and Loved Bill unconditionally of course. THis phase will pass though and the sun will shine for you. iw went through it also and There was something else that bothered Me when Deb p[assed but I got over it. You will be ok Really!!!! Hugs and Prayers.

http://www.inspiringthots.net/movie/limit-cancer.php Check this out. HTis is one of My Faves!!!

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Remember that life is not a dress rehearsal. We do the best we can with what we have at any given time. Sure, in retrospect, there are many things we'd ALL like to change - there isn't a reset button to push. There are too many variables to decide that a one or more things done differently would change an outcome drastically.

Sure, there are the big things you read about, better bridge inspections and those people in Minnesota wouldn't have died on their way home from work/shopping/appointments...one little thing may have changed that outcome... BUT, in life, cause and effect looked at in a rearview mirror is a skewed look.

Bill knew you love him. Bill knew you were doing the very best you could in an extremely difficult situation. I'm sure you could never have eased all of his anxiety, because no matter what, he knew he was leaving you.

Don't beat yourself up, you were there in the end and eased his transition to that next stage of being. What more could you have really done? Metaphorically, you were sitting with him in the waiting room for his next big appointment - you just couldn't join him in the office, yet. Just by being there, you eased the journey.

Take care, Teri. Stop beating yourself up, he KNEW.



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The ''if only'' thoughts will always

be with you but they will change their

tune.......with time.

Now those I have are ''if only'' that new

medication-treatment-test-would have been

available for Mike.........

When we take care of a person we walk the road

with them, we can watch for holes or bumps on

that road and help them along but we don't wear

their shoes.

You did all you could to make him happy during

that walk, now you have to keep going and it

is fine to look back once in a while, but without

those ''if only''.

Bill would have been saying this to you

May I go now,

Do you think the time is right?

May I say goodbye to pain filled days

end endless lonely nights?

I lived my life and done my best,

an example I've tried to be.

So can I take that step beyond the light

and set my spirit free?

I didn't want to go at first,

I fought with all my might.

But something seems to draw me now

to that warm and loving light.

I want to go, I really do,

it's difficult to stay.

But I will try as best I can

to live just one more day.

To give you time to care for me

and share your love and fears.

I know you're sad and are afraid,

because I see your tears.

I'll not be far, I promise that,

and I hope you'll always know.

That my spirit will be close to you

Where ever you may go.

Thank you so for loving me

and know that I love you too.

That's why it's hard to say goodbye

and end this life with you.

So hold me now just one more time

and let me hear you say,

''Because you care so much for me,

you'll let me go today''.

because he knew you did all you could

for him.



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The words you have written could have been mine. For the most part I have gotten past that but there are still times.

The circumstances surrounding lung cancer and caring for someone who has to deal with not only the treatments but the inner turmoil effect us who love them as much as it does them only in a different way. The one thing that I know without a doubt is that NO ONE could have given Johnny the love and care that I did. I made mistakes and like you I know I missed many things. It took a long time to accept that his death was meant to be at that time and in that way. It took a lot longer to realize that those same circumstances are what ruled my every thought and action. I know that Johnny realized that long before I did.

You were there you did a wonderfull job and NO ONE could have done it better. That is just the way it was supposed to be. I hope you find peace because the journy ahead is still a long one. It is hard enough to travel without being weighed down by guilt that doesn't belong to you.

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Thank you to everyone for taking the time to write. You are all blessings, truly.

Jackie, the words you included were like nothing I've ever read. Incredibly moving.

Day by day, right?

God is good and I received a lovely phone call from my step-daughter Gemma this morning. I'll be over in England in less than two weeks, and I couldn't feel more welcome. How pleased Bill will be with that!

Much love,

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Hi Teri,

Your post stung my heart. You were right by Bill's side every step of the way. There was nothing more you could have done. Don't ever doubt yourself as you were the light of his life. He would never have survived as long as he did without your love and devotion. You were his guardian angel here on earth.

Jackie's poem brought tears to my eyes which hit a place in my heart that I know that is how Bill felt.

You both had a special bond that will never, never be broken. Your love for each other is endless.

You were having a down, pity day where you wanted to beat yourself up. I am glad you posted that so we could help you through that. I am glad your mood has improved.

You have a wonderful extended family who loves you like their own. You are a very lucky lady to have them in your life and they in turn are fortunate to have you, who made their father's life so fulfilled and happy.

I rememeber when Bill first started posting with that saying, "It is what it is" and that is so true. I can't hear that saying without thinking of him.

Even in death he looks out for you and his family. He provided for you as he knew his outcome and there is nothing you or anyone could have done to have prevented that.

Take care, hang strong and I know when you get to England that will help you through your healing process.


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I had the same feelings as you - regret, maybe that I could have done more - would have, should have...etc. You did all that you could and the main thing was that you were there for him. Although we did all physically possible to rid the disease we can only do what we can do and unfortunately nature takes its course. I know that when Ger looked at me as he passed that he was ok with me and what we had and what we did. If it is any consolation to you - you are not alone with these feelings. And - yes - another nick name for that insurance cheque is "blood money" and I felt like I had traded Ger for a cheque when I got it - but you know there are alot of women/men out there that are not prepared and do not have that to back them up. He is looking after you and watching out for you now - just as you looked after him then.

Kindest regards and all my best thoughts,


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