I lost my husband of almost 33 years on Valentines Day of 2006. He had lots of medical problems and was on Dialysis for Renal failure for a few years. He had a living will in which he stated that he didn't want kept alive on machines. Even though this was in writing, I still to this day wonder if having him removed from life support was the right thing to do. I still have dreams of him on his death bed and this haunts me every day of my life. I have since remarried and have a very loving husband but this still bothers me to the point that I feel depressed. My first husband and I had our share of problems to say the least but we loved each other inspite of them so this has been so hard for me. I wake up crying some nights and feel like I will never be totally happy. I miss him terribly. What can I do to get past this?

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You did exactly what your husband wanted and gave him what he wished. That is a hard thing to do but I would want someone who would follow my wishes and do exactly what you did.
Hi Linda,I'm so sorry you are still dealing with this,you said this is what your husband wanted,and you did as he asked I can understand your second guessing your descision but what you must ask yourself is what my husband always said, is it really living. Mike, my husband and soul mate of 32 yrs. did not think it was even tho he did not put it in writing he was assured that when the time came I would do what was right weather I liked it or not,he was sick 10 yrs. with emphysema, and we had this discussion many times and I always told him if it gave you a chance to come back and be ok then I would put him on it but not as a way of living as far as he was concerned the way his life was the last 2 yrs. was not living only exsiting and he didn't want to live that way. he had a massive heart attack and I kept him on life support for 4 days the DR. said there was no hope that everything was starting to shut down so I ended it, that was not my husband there, he was a vibrant person and to have machines doing the breathing was not him, so be at peace with his wishes and you don't have to regret it as it was what he wanted, I miss him terrable he passed 4-29-09 and not a day goes bye I don't cry for him but I know he is at peace so I must be to. you have a new husband to give your love to and hopefully you can be happy I'm sure your new husband senses somethings not right do you talk to him about it hopefully so maybe he can help you with the choice that was made . best wishes
Thanks so much for your reply. I know deep down it was the right thing to do and it was what he wanted. The doctors said that there was nothing else that could be done for him and the dialysis was no longer working and he was so full of infection that he couldn't even breathe without machines. He would not have wanted to live like that. He was not the kind of man to let others do things for him. He was always busy helping others. I guess maybe I just needed someone else to let me know that I had done the right thing. Some of his family say I killed him by having him taken off of life support even though it was his wishes.That is what really bothers me. For them to think that really hurts. Thanks again for writing back.
I had to tell the Dr.s not to place my dad in ICU.He had been hospitalized with congestive heart failure.On the third time,I knew he was failing.So when the E.R.doc said you're a very sick man,I knew the time had come.I told the doc comfort care only.The hardest thing I've ever had to say.But it was the right thing!My dad was such a proud man,it was so humiliating for him to have people wait on him.He was sent home with Hospice and finally went to Hospice House.He had told me he was ready to meet his Maker but didn't want to leave my mother.Once in hospice he lasted 3 days.My mother had tell him it was O.K.to leave.After 66 years of marriage,that was the only way my dad would leave her.Find some peace,knowing you made the right decision.
The exact thing happened to my husband and me. But when I remember how much he suffered I realize he just couldn't take it any more.
Dear Linda,

I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved first husband, and I am sorry for the load you are currently bearing - the "what-ifs": Did I do/not do the right thing? Would he have lived longer? And so on.

First, I strongly believe you did NOT contribute in any way to his death, nor are you REMOTELY responsible. You honored his wishes, and as hard and as sorrowful as it is - it was his time to depart the Earth.

I also believe that he bears you no ill will, no recriminations, no blame at all.

My husband died on 29 June 2009 - for years, he had severe psoriatic arthritis, and became increasingly unable to walk or stand. He also suffered muscular dystrophy, intense pain and in the end, liver failure. By the time he died, he had jaundice, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy as well.

When he was admitted to the hospital on 18 June 2009, one of the first things I did was request the doctor to order a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order - I did not want heroic (and painful measures) taken in case he suffered heart failure - and the doctor agreed with me. He was in the hospital for a week, during which he looked like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, he had so many devices, IV's, leads, what have you on him (including a highly bothersome (to him) Foley catheter).

He was not a candidate for a liver transplant; they sent him home on the 25th, placed him in hospice, and he died on the 29th. During the weekend, he went into the end-stage - detachment from surroundings, change in breathing patterns, etc, etc. The hospice also had a DNR.

I have often wondered - Did I wait too late to _force_ him to see a doctor? Did I not try hard enough to keep him from working too long, or not enjoying his chewing tobacco? Did I not try to stop him from using gin to alleviate the agony and swelling of arthritis? Did I? Did I?

I just came to the conclusion that given the situation, and his absolute loathing of doctors, hospitals, tests, etc (the only way he did get into the hospital was because the Home Health Nurse that visited told him he'd DIE right then and there) - there was not a lot I could have done. I made sure he was clean, comfortable and cared for; he died with me right beside him, and I saw him take his last breath.

Peace, healing, grace and comfort be upon you - Yaca Attwood Perkins
Linda, I do believe that when your time comes, it does not matter whether your are on machines or not, God will take you. My husband was on life support for 5 weeks because I could not bear to lose him. We were scheduled to meet with his doctors at 9:30 a.m. on a Monday morning to discuss discontinuing treatment. At 6:05 a.m. on that Monday morning, my husband passed away. He made the choice when to go and saved me making that decision. I don't know whether or not I could have made the decision. I am happy that you have been able to move on with your life and start over with someone else. I wish you all the luck in the world with your new marriage. May God Bless you and give you the strength to put this behind you. The decision was made by God and your husband and your decision did not cause his death.
LINDA,
I DEFINANTLY THINK YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. I THINK IT IS HORRIBLE THE WAY SOME OF HIS FAMILY IS ACTING TOWARD YOU, BUT YOU KNOW I AM DEALING WITH SOME OF MY HUSBANDS FAMILY AS WE SPEAK.IT WAS MY DECESION TO PUT MY HUSBAND ON HOSPICE AS I SAW HIM GETTING SICKER AND WEAKER EACH AND EVERY DAY. HE ONLY LIVED 6 DAYS AFTER I PUT HIM ON HOSPICE. IT WASNT SOMETHING I WANTED TO DO BUT I KNEW I HAD NO CHOICE. I CRYED ABOUT IT ALOT. I AM JUST SO GRATEFUL THAT MY HUSBAND DIED VERY QUICKLY AND DIDNT SUFFER LONG AT ALL. MY HUSBAND ONLY LIVED 3 MONTHS AFTER BEING DIAGNOISED WITH STAGE 4 CANCER THAT HAD METASTASISED TO THE BRAIN. THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT WE BOTH HAD NO IDEA OF WHAT WE WERE ACTUALLY DEALING WITH.MY HUSBAND BELEIVED HE COULD BEAT IT, I KNEW BETTER BUT BELEIVED HE COULD HAVE ANOTHER COUPLE YEARS.WE WERE BOTH WRONG. BUT EVEN THOUGH I FEEL SO HORRIBLE ABOUT HIS DEATH, I HAVE TO BE GRATEFUL HE REALLY DIDNT SUFFER LONG.YOU DID THE RIGHT THING . NOW GO ON AND ENJOY YOUR NEW LIFE.GOD BLESS.
I want to thank everyone for your response to my posting. You have all helped me so much with your words of encouragement and letting me know that there was nothing else I could have done. Thanks again. Maybe now I can begin the long over due healing process.

Yaca Attwood said:
Dear Linda,

I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved first husband, and I am sorry for the load you are currently bearing - the "what-ifs": Did I do/not do the right thing? Would he have lived longer? And so on.

First, I strongly believe you did NOT contribute in any way to his death, nor are you REMOTELY responsible. You honored his wishes, and as hard and as sorrowful as it is - it was his time to depart the Earth.

I also believe that he bears you no ill will, no recriminations, no blame at all.

My husband died on 29 June 2009 - for years, he had severe psoriatic arthritis, and became increasingly unable to walk or stand. He also suffered muscular dystrophy, intense pain and in the end, liver failure. By the time he died, he had jaundice, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy as well.

When he was admitted to the hospital on 18 June 2009, one of the first things I did was request the doctor to order a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order - I did not want heroic (and painful measures) taken in case he suffered heart failure - and the doctor agreed with me. He was in the hospital for a week, during which he looked like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, he had so many devices, IV's, leads, what have you on him (including a highly bothersome (to him) Foley catheter).

He was not a candidate for a liver transplant; they sent him home on the 25th, placed him in hospice, and he died on the 29th. During the weekend, he went into the end-stage - detachment from surroundings, change in breathing patterns, etc, etc. The hospice also had a DNR.

I have often wondered - Did I wait too late to _force_ him to see a doctor? Did I not try hard enough to keep him from working too long, or not enjoying his chewing tobacco? Did I not try to stop him from using gin to alleviate the agony and swelling of arthritis? Did I? Did I?

I just came to the conclusion that given the situation, and his absolute loathing of doctors, hospitals, tests, etc (the only way he did get into the hospital was because the Home Health Nurse that visited told him he'd DIE right then and there) - there was not a lot I could have done. I made sure he was clean, comfortable and cared for; he died with me right beside him, and I saw him take his last breath.

Peace, healing, grace and comfort be upon you - Yaca Attwood Perkins
Linda,
I agree with the others. You respected you husband's wishes. Don't second guess it, because of comments from others. My husband of 24 years died on Feb 7th of this year. He was diagnosed with cancer July of 09. He went through chemo and then radiation. The cancer was gone at the end of last year. But instead of getting better he only got worse. He started having breathing problems. At the end of Jan he went into the hospital. They wanted to do a lung biopsy to see what was going on. We were in the holding room waiting for them to take him back into surgery. The anestheologist came over to talk to us. After a few minutes he said, I must tell you, that with the high levels of oxygen that you are on, there is a good possibility you won't wake up after this procedure. The look on my husband's face, I will never forget it. And he never woke up. He was on a respirator, and unable to come off of it. That was on a Wednesday. I waited until that Saturday. His children were all coming down from up north. When they all got here, I told them we had a tough decision to make. They were able to talk to the doctors. Together it was decided to discontinue the life supports. Jim and I had talked about this kind of thing in the past, never had anything in writing. I have never second guessed that decision. I have no guilt about it. My only concern at that time was his children and mine. He was "DAD" to all seven of them. Don't beat yourself up about this. No one would want to be on life support, with no hope. Your husband made his wishes known. Be happy with your new husband. Second chances are wonderful. You see, Jim was my second husband (my first husband had died also) and I loved him dearly. God bless you.
thank you so much Mary. I know in my heart that the decision I made was the right one but for some reason these doubts come back from time to time. My husband had been on Peritoneal dialysis for 3 years then had to go on Hemodialysis. He developed a rare condition that no one knew how to treat. Only about 4 known cases in the US. So by the time they did the surgery it was to late. He had lost around 60 pounds in a short amount of time because he couldn't eat. He was so sick. His spleen had to be removed as well as part of his intestine which had 4 spots of gangrene on it. He was put back on life support 2 times after being taken off of it after surgery.once when he went into respiratory arrest and the next he went into cardiac arrest. Each time he was revived but he was never awake long enough to talk to me except for 2 days before he died. It was my birthday and he told me he loved me and that he wanted to come home. The next morning he went into cardiac arrest. After he was taken off of life support and moved into a room out of ICU so family could be with him, he only woke up long enough to say his stomach hurt. Finally I could see he was having trouble breathing and knew it wouldn't be long. He would look at me then at each of the kids. I finally told him I would be ok and it was ok if he wanted to go be with Jesus. He then went very peacefully. But that was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. Because I didn't want to let him go and I wasn't ok. But He was suffering so much and I knew it was what he wanted. I know he is at peace now and not suffering anymore. Never thought something like this would be so hard. I really appreciate your reply. God Bless You.

Mary D said:
Linda,
I agree with the others. You respected you husband's wishes. Don't second guess it, because of comments from others. My husband of 24 years died on Feb 7th of this year. He was diagnosed with cancer July of 09. He went through chemo and then radiation. The cancer was gone at the end of last year. But instead of getting better he only got worse. He started having breathing problems. At the end of Jan he went into the hospital. They wanted to do a lung biopsy to see what was going on. We were in the holding room waiting for them to take him back into surgery. The anestheologist came over to talk to us. After a few minutes he said, I must tell you, that with the high levels of oxygen that you are on, there is a good possibility you won't wake up after this procedure. The look on my husband's face, I will never forget it. And he never woke up. He was on a respirator, and unable to come off of it. That was on a Wednesday. I waited until that Saturday. His children were all coming down from up north. When they all got here, I told them we had a tough decision to make. They were able to talk to the doctors. Together it was decided to discontinue the life supports. Jim and I had talked about this kind of thing in the past, never had anything in writing. I have never second guessed that decision. I have no guilt about it. My only concern at that time was his children and mine. He was "DAD" to all seven of them. Don't beat yourself up about this. No one would want to be on life support, with no hope. Your husband made his wishes known. Be happy with your new husband. Second chances are wonderful. You see, Jim was my second husband (my first husband had died also) and I loved him dearly. God bless you.
Linda: My heart goes out to you for the loss of your husband, having to turn off the life support is really hard, my husband and i had to do it for a aunt, whose husband just could not do it I think it was the right thing to do Linda or the hospital would not advised it, and it must be hard to carry this burden around, when we loose a loved one I think we all have regrets, I know ive gone though alot of them, Have you talked to your new husband about it? Maybe just talking about it here and with others will help you, we all go through the would have, could have and should have but to no avail. Its been six years since my husband died, and I replay it like a film of him dying in my arms on my kitchen floor. If only we could have 5 mins more with that person, but life is not fair, and we all share your burden. God Bless

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