I feel guilty
My brother John had advanced cancer and we knew that the outcome was not good. I have lived outside the US for 30 years
and he lived in the US. We only had one other brother who lived in the same town in the US as John but who was extremely busy with family and professional obligations. I was retired but with residence and my life since 30 years outside of the US and thus the obligations that entailed. Since his diagnosis of late stage IV cancer in September I alternated about one month in my residence and 3 to 4 weeks with my brother in the hospital where he has been the whole time due to his condition. He was in a very good long-term care situation, as a Viet Nam veteran,
and received not only good medical care but also good care emotionally and psychologically and was happy to be there as he was unable to eat or speak very much due to his type of cancer. I came to the US a few weeks before his death on 30 March 2011 and was with him on 29 March when he was in step down Intensive Care due to an infection from a low white cell blood count. This had happened before and although he told me he was dying and I accepted that, I didn´t think he meant immediately. We talked about stopping chemo and hospice and I swore I would help him in anyway possible, but I did not realize he really meant he was dying. At about 7 pm after being with him most of that day, I kissed him goodbye and said my other brother and I would be back the next day to talk to all concerned about his wishes to be "let go" no more suffering, no more treatment. I went to the place I was staying to have supper and sleep. At 6.20 the next morning the doctor called me to say that after a brief period of respiratory distress, he had stopped breathing and they had let him go as we all had wished. But now I feel so guilty for not really realizing that when he said he was dying I didn´t take him literally. When I left he seemed tranquil. I left him some water and a magazine as well as his new glasses which we had gone out and gotten only a week before. Since he died I feel so horrible at not being at his side when he died. I really feel that my life now has no sense and cannot stop crying even two weeks later.
A lost sister.