I Miss My Friend and I Feel Guilty

I miss my friend and I still feel guilty about not seeing her right before she passed.  She had battled cancer more than half of her life.  I met her in high school and we became friends after we starting working at a retail store together.  We definitely had our ups and downs - - I think real friendships do.  It really bothers me whenever someone passes away under tragic circumstances that people instantly turn them into saints.  She wasn't a saint; she was a person.  

I was pregnant and put on bedrest right before she passed away.  She had a birthday party and I couldn't go and then the week after the party I went into labor 7 weeks early.  My husband came home from Iraq and in the mist of all of the craziness of having a new baby and the worry of him being in NICU, I got a call from another friend.  When I answered my cell on my way home from the hospital the first thing I could think was to tell her that I just had my son, everyone was okay, but he was still at the hospital.  I was so upset about leaving him there it didn't register to me that she never said why she called.  When we arrived home there was a message from her on my machine; I knew instantly why she had called.  I called back and she explained that our friend had moved into a hospice and that they were inducing her into a coma.  I can't explain the pain I felt.  The past few days had been filled with so many emotions; anxiety that I was going into labor so early, the joy of hearing my son's first cry, wishing my husband had been there, being excited when i finally got to see my husband safely on American soil, the heartbreak of leaving my son at the hospital even though luckily he was doing well.  When I heard the news I felt a crack, its hard to explain like something inside me snapping.  I literally thought I was falling apart.  I sobbed, uncontrollably.  To this day, I resent my husband for not being more supportive.  Honestly, I fear I may divorce him over it.  It was one of the hardest days of my life for many reasons and he was too concerned about his mother to give me the comfort and support I needed.

I called my friend's house and spoke to her step-dad.  He explained that there was no need for me to visit, that she would not know I was there and that I should take care of my son.  I didn't go to see her.  I didn't go to see her.  I can't believe, I didn't go to see her.  I regret it everyday.  Maybe she wouldn't have known I was there, but I would have.  I would have known that I got to tell her one last time that I loved her.  I would have been able to tell her that my son was born; she was so happy to feel him kick and would talk about when he was born.  I truly thought she would make it to see him.

She passed away later that week.  My husband had already returned to Iraq and I went to the funeral alone.  I remember not wanting to go, not wanting to face the truth.

She would write me long, drawn out letters (sometimes while sitting in my living room after I had long fell asleep after a night of hanging out at my house) - - I can't believe I will never receive another letter.  I am lucky I kept the ones I have.  I thought writing this all out may make me feel better.  I think it has. 

GR8Chick GR8Chick
31-35, F
9 Responses Jul 16, 2007

Hi friend, I read your story about losing your friend to this non discriminating disease. I have to admit, it sent tears down my cheek because I also lost my very best friend to the same menace. We honestly started kindergarden together and went straight through high school, stood up in each others weddings, and she was my son's Godmother. Now she is gone and so is my son but I know she is taking my place untill I get there. My heart goes out to you because I know what you are feeling and it isn't pleasent. I make a few crafty items for Breast Cancer Awareness and send the proceeds to the cancer fund. It's not much ,but it makes me feel a little better for a while. I just hope we live long enough to see this thing erraticated once and for all! I will pray for your friend and also for you to be able to heal.

sorry for your loss, i lost my mother with breast cancer, and heart problems, she was 83.

thank you for sharing I am sorry for this tremendous loss in your life I know your friends life touched many others. I recently lost a dear friend to pancreatic cancer. She was a remarkable person, one of the nicest, fun person around. she was young only 53 and radiated love to everyone. In a word she was and is a saint. she had a strenght that was always helping others. she had the cancer and went into remission for almost a year then it came back. In her last days she was able to spend vacations with her sisters, husband and friends and her last pictures she showed courage, she never complained. I try to think of the grief of her leaving as she has moved to a beautiful place where she can't be reached by mail, phone. I know she is around us when I think of her. she will be one of the 1st people I will see when I pass over I miss her so.

I wasn't there when my best friend died from a terminal illness (she also was in an induced coma). I could have been, but I wasn't. I think it was a defense mechanism: that out of all the things I was going through, to have actually seen her die would have been worse to live with than the guilt. But I *know* she knew that I cared about her. I haven't forgiven myself for not being strong enough to be there for her, but I don't think I'd be as strong as I am today if I had been. I think you had a lot going on in your life, and that you care that you weren't there speaks volumes about you as a person in a good way. I hope that you can forgive yourself for taking care of your son and yourself and be proud that you are a great friend, a caring individual and a really good mom. The world needs more people like you :)

I also had a friend die of cancer when I was very young. I (seriously) regret not being mature enough to be kinder. Maybe, that's some kind of excuse (not sure on that one). However, I do believe "life" has a priority. You have to take care of you own first and that doesn't need any excuses. You cared about your friend and that means something. You're good people. K?

I can understand your deep pain. the kind of pain that rips thru you taking a part of your heart, the kind that actually brings you to your knees.<br />
I am 38 and when I was 25 I lost the best friend I have ever had to cancer. We had gone thru so much in life together in the short time we had.<br />
I did not see her in the last 3 months of her life. This is something I have had to live with,something I have beat myself up over. The guilt has eaten away at me for all this time. My reason for not seeing her is a story in itself. But basically it comes down to this, she had a boyfriend who was rather possesive, and could not compete with the relationship we had. I was the one who was with her when she go the diagnosis. I was the one who asked th Dr how long she had, I'm the one who actually said she was dying. I'm the one who left my husband and kids to fly to MD Anderson in Housten for a second opinion. By this time she had deteriorated so much we could not really go out and do anything the 5 days we were there. But I would not trade that time we had together, it brought us even closer. Here we were 2 25 yr olds talking about death and dying, about her 5 kids. Very serious,heavy stuff. We even got into the whole god and heaven discussion.<br />
I gave her a silver bracelet when we got back, for her birthday, which she loved. I later found out she would not take it off because it was from me. We left the airport and each went home.<br />
I would call every week to check on her,talk to her. I did not get to talk to her very often because her boyfriend would make up excuses why she couldn't talk to me. I started to think maybe she didn't want to talk to me, and was very hurt. I finally had enough and decided I was going to go back up there on the weekend. We lived in different states. I never got to go up, she died before I got to see her. I never got to tell her one more time how much I loved her, and how much her friendship meant to me.<br />
The morning her mom called is one that will forever be in my brain. I answered the phone and knew something was wrong, before I could ask her mom told me she died a few hours ago. I remember hearing this horrible scream dropping the phone and falling to my knees. My husband and kids came running out, and all I could say was Tami gone. I was inconsolable. I drove the 2 hour trip in less than 90 minutes and to be honest I don't remember the trip. I needed to be there with her family, as they were my second parents. It ended up that no one had told her 5 yr old daughter. The sister in law and I felt she should be told, but the sister in law did not want to make that decision, and make anyone mad. I took it upon myself to talk to Father who was at the house. He and I took her upstairs and explained what happened to Mommy. How do you tell a five yr old little girl her mommy is dead and she will never see her again. You know what she was worried about, did mommy get her hair back in heaven. Yes baby she did and its all long and pretty again.<br />
I finally found out after the funeral that the boyfriend was trying to keep us apart, he told me in tears. Then went on to tell me she would cry for me, want to know why I didn't call or come to see her. I was hurt and angry. I missed out on the last days she had because of him. He then went on to tell me he was jealous of me and how close the 2 of us were. Then goes on to ask me to forgive him. I did not know what to say. <br />
A few years later I learned from her mom that she had become so self conscience of her hair loss and loss of bodily functions, she would not leave the house. She did not want very many people to see her, me included. She did not want me to think of her that way, helpless.<br />
<br />
I carried all the guilt and pain for years. Thru all my counseling I have learned I did nothing wrong. That she knew I loved her,just as I knew she loved me. That I have all the memories stored in my head and heart, that NO ONE can take away.<br />
There are times when I feel her near me, or when the sun shines on my face I know its her sending me a kiss. I know she is my guardian angel. I still sometimes talk to her. If someone has a problem with that, tough. I talk about her to my kids, my oldest remembers her.<br />
She is part of who I am.<br />
I think with every death there is new life, so maybe that is why your baby came early. Yes she is watching over you and your child. Rejoice in the life she led. Cherish the memories you have of her and the time you shared.<br />
<br />
Try to understand your husband most likely did not know what to do for you. Men do not have the same kind of friendships women do, they do not have the same emotional attachment, or to the depth we do. Men do not share everything like we do. If you have never experienced something you do not always know what to do or say.<br />
Enjoy your baby, talk to him about her and how much she loved him. Take out a photo album with your friends pictures in it. Get a box of tissues, and sit down and look at it. Remember all the fun you had together. Laugh at the stupid things you did. Never forget the good times.

HI I am sorry For your Loss,but no true friend would hold it against you ,you had a lot going on in your Life<br />
Things that was important like your son and your friend would not want you to throw away your marriage ..<br />
Forgive yourself and enjoy your family ..<br />
Thats what any friend would want

im sorry to hear of your lost, I just lost my god mother of cancer a month in half ago. Ive felt the gulit you have felt. for months she would ask to see me and i just couldnt do it, i couldnt watch her die and the same week my close friend almost died in a car crash. and i agree when you sd when someone dies ppl turn them into saints as much as a good person she was she had a lot of flaws. i thought it would be difficult to get over her death but the more i talked about it the better i felt. i belive your son carries your friends spirit. stay strong and keep pushing

I am sorry that you went through such a shattering loss, you went through more in one week than many have to endure over the course of years. I hope that you will be able to forgive yourself for not seeing her, you did what you thought was best. My heart goes to you.