Jump to content

Regrets


KatieB

Recommended Posts

This is a rather different side to my grieving process I guess, but I wanted to share it with you guys nonetheless.

I have no regrets emotionally when it comes to my dad, our relationship, things done and said in that regard. We made the very most of our time together. Which, I guess is why I hurt so badly at the emptiness I feel without him. His absence in my life is deafening.

My regrets stem from those last ten days of his life.....

They keep replaying in my mind. The way he looked, the way he moved his head, the way his skin felt when I held his hand. Every second, everything I did or didn't do in those ten days, all the things I might have been able to do, things like that. I constantly question myself and IF I had just done this, or if I had just done that, would it have made a difference?

I feel like I failed him. Like I failed my mom, my family. I know I am putting far too much stock into myself and my mere mortal abilities :wink: , but I took on this disease, Dad let me be the captain of the ship, so to speak, and inside, I feel like I failed him.

What if I had insisted on things being done differently? What if I could have yanked him out of there and taken him somewhere else? What if I had insisted we take him home.... I could go on for days with my what-ifs...

I know. It's not rational thinking. We'll never know...sometimes things happen because they just DO or because it was meant to be....but it's still unfair and it still tears me up inside.

I feel like I am missing a huge piece of myself and after a few days of being OK...I just fall apart.

Thanks for the ear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie,

If it helps any, what you are going through does sound like it is a natural part of the grieving process. But you already know that....

I know after my grandmother and my dad died, both of whom I was very close to, I went through months of "what ifs?" and the need to rehash things over and over again. Particularly in my grandmothers case, she had died violently at 90 years of age and to this day, the circumstances are still somewhat questionable. I tortured myself for months with "what ifs" and "how comes". I had hundreds of questions and no answers. Someone told me that this was normal but it didn't help any at the time.

We all know how much you did for your dad...I know your rational mind knows how much you did for your dad. I think you recognize what you are going through as something that you need to go through. All these painful steps will take you to the place where you can remember your father without tears, and with a smile. It just seems to take so long to get there sometimes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie,

You did nothing wrong and everything right in my book.

You were in charge yes and you created some of the most beautiful memorie for him and the rest of your family. You gave him an awesome party. You found his long lost friend and reunited them. You took him on outings with you. You carried on the best that you could in those last months and then days. You helped all of us get to know Jesse the man. You continue to give your time and your talents to this board. You put yourself out there and did so far and beyond what anyone would expect. You didn't fail anyone.

I so understand your loss.... I wish that we didn't have to continue to play the end over and over in our minds. I wished that I didn't have any regrets either, but we can not change the past we can only effect the present. I thank you for what you have done for me as member of this board. I pray that we will all find the peace we need as time goes on.

((((((((((((KATIE))))))))))) Shelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, Katie! From every post I read of yours, it was so evident how much you loved and cared for your Dad! You must be one of the world's most caring and loving daughters. I am certain that your Dad knew beyond a shadow of a doubt how much you wanted him to live! Please, allthough it is perfectly natural, don't ever second guess your actions during your father's illness. We all know what great support you were for both your parents during this time. Please Katie...don't beat yourself up. You did everything you could have done. Some things are in God's hands and he uses his infinite wisdom to make decisions in our lives. I like to think that because my Dennis was such a good guy, God spared him many heartaches by taking him now. This is so hard on all of us at this time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are a time for families and we have all lost someone from our family, be it a father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter. I actually am to the point of praying every night that Dennis will come to me in a dream...just so I can have some time with him! You are in my prayers, Katie. We must all take care of each other right now!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie,

for 7 months afterwards all I could think of were the what ifs. Everytime I talked to my family, my friends, etc., it was a what if scenario, filled with so many questions. I have tried to let it go recently, because the memories like those you are having, and the questions are just too painful. In some ways I guess I felt that by reliving and questioning that period in my fathers life would keep him closer. I'm trying now to concentrate on other memories, and slowly they are becoming the predominant ones. This part of the journey has just started for you Katie. You will be OK. Everything you feel is OK. I am thinking of you. Mirrell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Katie,

I am so sorry you are in so much pain. You did the best that you could have done for your father. He was loved and knew it. You cared for him as much as he cared for you. He would not want you feeling like you did not do enough. He probably told you more than once that you did everything you could and more. Please don't let these feelings take over the wonderful memories you have of your Dad. It will eat you alive and then who will your son and Rick have? Honor your father and his memories. He does not blame you. You did the best you could and that is all any of us can ask of ourselves. WE have to accept that we are not able to do it all. But that does not mean we did not give OUR all.

If you were here, I would give you a big hug. You have been in my thoughts and prayers these past weeks and months. I pray for peace for your soul and that you feel your fathers presence.

Much love,

Shirley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie I am so on that exact same bus your traveling on right now. I think that there are many of us traveling on it lately.

I fight with did mom fight when she didn't want to anymore but she did cause of us. OR did I fail seeing a sign she tried to give me in the last few days. OR was she in pain and just would not say so , so we would not feel bad,

the list is endless and will remain unanswered until maybe someday we reach that place where they are. (IF)

I wish I could help you, I wish I could help me, I wish they were still here :cry:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie,

I have the same feelings about Ada. What has been bothering me most is the last day in the hospital and the moment she realized that she wasn't going to win her battle. Her calm and reflective acceptence. I also think I could have done something different - especially when we were trying to chose a clinical trial - did I do enough research?, Could I have spent a couple more hours and made a better decision? I guess we could beat ourselves up - but you did everything possible - trying to make the best decisions possible while giving all the love and support you had. That is an overwhelming, emotional task. You have to take comfort in the fact that no one in the world could have done for your father what you did. No one could have proveded the combination of both love and guidence that you were able to do. I think the sadness of the loss brings all these thoughts to the surface. I'm probably not a good one to be giving advice, because I am having the same feelings. I can't get the last several days out of my head. But I know time will help.

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie, I'm sorry that you are having a rough time. It is probably acute right now because the holidays are approaching and your dad won't be there. Hopefully, one day you will be able to say, "I have no regrets. I did what I could, and I am forgiven for those things I couldn't do." When you get to that stage, it will be a great gift in your dad's memory. My prayers are with you. Don

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest canuckwebgrrl

Katie,

There's nothing I can say that others haven't said to you already about your 'what if' feelings...I think that's perfectly natural and speaks to how much you loved your Dad and miss him now.

I think 'what ifs' even now, as my stepdad is going through different treatments. I wish there were words/wisdom I could share to make those feelings/thoughts go away.

Please know that I'm thinking of you and wishing you peace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie -

I'm not signed in right now -- but am a member.

Just had to reply to your message. Apparently we all suffer from that tape of our loved one's last days that plays over and over no matter what we do. Starts up at random any time and any place and doesn't always begin at the beginning. And the recurring thought is always "what if". This happened to me in 1989 when my son died. He was brought to the hospital by ambulance after a motorcycle accident and was on a respirator by the time I reached him and there was absolutely nothing I could have done to affect his outcome. He was conscious but couldn't talk because of the tubes, but he responded to questions by blinking his eyes or squeezing our hands. He died on the third day.

Logical thought tells me I should be glad we had the chance to let him know we were there and to express our love. But this continuous play tape knows nothing about logic. It just played over and over. It's like watching reruns of a movie and trying to make it end differently. I cannot remember now how long it took to stop reliving those hospital days, but it was a LONG time. Even now, some event can trigger it, but it's hazy and quickly gone.

Now I have a tape that covers from the July 18 diagnosis of my husband's lung cancer, through his three week hospital stay, to his death on Sept. 1 and boy, there are zillions of "what if I had", "what if he had", "what if the doctor had". It plays over and over and I feel guilt because I can't change the ending.

So I won't tell you not to think about or dwell on these things, and try to focus on all the great things you did for him. I know you're conscious mind is already doing that -- and girl, you were and are amazing. My own daughter is much the same -- your dad and my husband did somethin' right in childraising to inspire such loyalty!

I will tell you that little by little, over a long period of time, your conscious thoughts and memories will overpower that dratted trauma tape and it will fade away. Until then just know that it is indeed extremely normal. I bet if you ask people that you know have undergone a traumatic event "Do you have a tape of it that plays in your head?" most of them will know exactly what you're talking about. I think it's because we were so intensely focused on one thing and the brain can't just drop it when it's over.

I have read many of your posts on this board, and you are an inspiration to so many. Some things we can't orchestrate the outcome of, no matter how desparately we want to. But you did an amazing job of orchestrating the preliminary process and I admire you greatly.

In time, the love of your husband, your sweet little son, your mom and other family members and the good memories of your dad will slowly take the place of these traumatic doubts. So sorry you have to suffer this intently meantime.

Gloria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie,

I feel the same way. You hit it right on the head. The last days of my dads life were the worst days for everyone. Its what you see when someone dies of cancer that makes you cry and second guess yourself. I have so many Questions in my head of whys and ifs. I feel my head will explode sometimes becouse I think of it so much.

My dad had lung cancer that spread to the brain and then in the end it was in the bone. I question myself about the gamma knife talk that I hear about so much on this site and I wonder why my family and myself never knew about this procedure. The doctors told me that the brain mets would NOT be the one thing that ended my dad life, but in the end it was the brain mets that did it to him. His lung cancer shrunk 50%.

I guess that the memories of him in that bed are the one thing that kills me inside. When I try to think of the good times and good memories my mind goes back to those days of him lying in that bed and the stabbing through my heart hurts more each time. The doctors told us my dad had two years of survival and I believed that. They were wrong, my dad had four months and he was gone.

William John Hines 1934-2003

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for your heartfelt replies. I do struggle alot with this.

"hersheydaley" ironically, when my dad died he was cancer-free in his LUNGS. can you believe that. :?: It's like a bad joke. He died from complications resulting from mets to the brain and, eventually we learned, mets throughout his entire skeletal system.

I am constantly asking myself, with everything that I knew to watch for--- HOW COULD WE NOT KNOW THIS? How did we NOT catch it in time to do something about it? WHY didn't we catch it, WHY didn't daddy complain about his pain? and a million other WHYS.

I guess there's a sick joke in the fact that my dad did NOT have cancer in his lungs any more....just everywhere else... Ugh... I guess I could make myself sad and angry with all the whys. :cry:

Bottom line at the end of the day, I just miss him dreadfully so much.

Thank you all for your support when I am down.

((HUGS))

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie:

I think your dad and my dad have a lot in common. I think from reading your posts that your dad was also former military and a fighter! I've kinda been nominated the captain of the ship as you were. My mom is doing as well as can be expected, but she is still in the angry stage. She is very supportive of my dad and they have a marriage I've never seen duplicated. They had only each other so many times while traveling our entire lives, that it made their relationship so special. It's hard to watch her struggling, too. SO, I have to be the tough one now (I'm the middle child of three) because my siblings aren't as strong as me. I know how to deal with "SARGE" and help him keep his sense of humor. I worry every day that we are making the right decisions. I live in Louisville, KY and my dad is being treated 2 1/2 hrs away from me. I was spending 5 hrs on the road to help take him to 15 min radiation treatments. I stress that Louisville might have more options than Evansville, IN, but I don't see anything better or different than he is receiving now. Relatives keep asking us about clinical trials, Mayo, etc. I offered to take my dad anywhere, but he feels comfortable close to home and seems to be receiving right treatment plan. I know how difficult it must be for you, but from what I've read, you were a wonderful daughter and how very proud your dad must be of you! I've shared tears, hugs, kisses, etc. with my dad and really broke down when I overheard him (he thought I was asleep in his hosp room) tell my mom he was going to take this "like a man". I told him later in the day that he didn't have to -- it was okay to break down in front of me. Anyway, you hang in there for the holidays. I can't imagine my dad not being here, but the holidays are tough for me knowing he may not be next year. Please also know that your posts have given me strength and hope and made me stronger for my dad!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Katie,

My heart breaks at the pain you are going through, I wish I could make it better. Your precious dad was given 4 months to live and you helped him fight and live much longer. You continued to help him when doctors had their doubts. You did so very much. Your dad knows how much you did, you never gave up and you love him so much.

I remember joining this group and reading your posts about you helping your dad in his fight. I was so scared embarking on this unknown road. I read your posts and was admired by your strength, your determination and all your hope. You continue to inspire me with your posts, helping me to not lose hope and know that I am not alone. I know you have touched many others besides myself and for this you should feel proud. I thank you for helping me to stay strong.

I question myself everyday, if I am doing enough. But I will never ever question my love and dedication to my mom. You shouldn't question yourself either.

Love,

Andrea

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regrets?

Oh Katie I know so much how you feel. Regrets are a large part of grieving.

I know it does no good to tell you not to have regrets. That you did all you could do under the circumstances. I have so many regrets and with so much more reason than you do. I live with them everyday of my life. My rational mind tells me that given the circumstances and my emotional state that I did the only thing I could have at the time. Yet there is a part of me that questions every word and every thought and action of mine. That is the part of me that aches for Johnny to just touch me again. The part of me that begs just to hear him say my name one more time. The part of me that watches him die over and over and over. It is the part of me that can't find any other emotions but pain, fear, loss and above all anger. I just get so damn mad. I try so hard to do the right thing. I want to be the woman that Johnny loved but sometimes I just can't find her. I'm so tired of stepping around the feelings of everyone else. I want to screem at them" it just isn't fair. I hurt can't you see that. Someone cut a part of me away and I don't know how to live without it." I want to screem at God and Fate and I want to damn the people who took him away from me. For once in my life I want to just feel what I feel and not give a damn about anyone else.

This time last year Johnny was in a nursing home just for a few days of rest but I know it was to give me some rest. I know he went there because he knew the strain I was under and he knew that it was causing problems in our relationship. He decided that he wanted to go home the night before Thanksgiving and I talked him out of it. I had been so against him going into that place. I had begged him not to go yet when he wanted to go home I talked him into waiting until the day after Thanksgiving. Why? That is the question that haunts me. I understand part of it but another part that I know is just so painfull for me to face.

I was so upset with his kids. So much of that was because of their indifference and lack of help. They were so caught up in their own lives that they didn't see or didn't want to see how badly he needed them. They never came to see him in the hospital. He would call them time and time again just wanting them to say that they cared or were concerned. Most times they were either gone or busy and never called him back. I saw the pain it caused him and I was just so damn mad that they were hurting him and still he needed them. I was there I would do any thing for him but still he needed them so much that just trying to talk to them would send him into an anxiety attack. Because of that I didn't want him to be out for Thanksgiving because I knew he would want to spend it with them and I was so angry that I couldn't face it. If only I had taken him home that night! God how different things would have been. He was so well that day. For the first time in over two months the anxiety was gone. I had found hope for him when I got him an appointment with the Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center in Seattle. It made all of the difference in the world in his condition.. But Thanksgiving day for some reason they decided to give him Morphine in a nebulizer. In less than two hours he was coughing again. His voice got raspy and you could hear a rattle in his chest. I know that is what caused the problem that sent him to the hospital and started the process that killed him. Had I only taken him home that night it never would have happened. Why did I stall? Why didn't I insist that they check his vital signs that last morning? Why didn't I remind them that they were supposed to put him on a resperator? Why did I just take it for granted that they would do what he wanted? Why was it so hard for me to see what was going on? I have so many regrets and they eat at me every day of my life.

My rational mind tells me that I did nothing wrong but my heart tells me had I only done things differently he would not have suffered so much. Had I only not felt that he could help himself get past the anxiety. I saw the things that caused his attacks and he knew that it was anxiety but I thought I could shake him out of it. There was a part of me that knew better. I saw the fear those attacks caused but still I thought that he could help himself with my help. I thought that I could handle everything but I couldn't. I had my own fear and it made it hard to deal with his. We ran into brick walls everytime we reached out for help. There was no one we could depend on but eachother and I feel like I let him down! I know that my love for him was used against us and I know too that there are a lot of others who have more reason than I do to feel guilty but that is little comfort at night when I am alone and wanting to hear him say just one more time "Snuggle my back Mom, I love you."

Lillian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Katie,

I am soooo sorry for all your pain. I am sure you did nothing wrong, and you know that you can't do the "what if" game, you will go insane if you do. Ya know? Haven't you seen "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Sliding Doors" etc? you know, maybe things would have been worse, it is hard to say, but I am sure you did not fail anyone and it is so apparent to how much you loved your Dad.

My heart goes out to you and I am sending you an extra big hug!!]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.