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I let her down and I feel so lost without her

Posted by Judyg on 2 September 2013.

Before I married H I knew she liked to drink and also had a voltile temperament (never physically violent).  It was only after we married 3 years ago that I found out H had been abused as a child and we talked abour her getting help.  Unfortunately the time H started counselling also coincided with her starting to feel ill and a visit to a specialist reveaved she had liver damage, but at that point not irreversible.  I didn't really believe it and thought they had it wrong, H had said she wasn't drinking other than what I knew about - social drinking we were both doing.  That said we followed the advice and stopped drinking for a year - I did the same to support.  I think H lasted for 6 months but a call from the specialist saying H was on the right track and it was a green light to H to have a drink, but just a normal drink....
18 months ago, we woke up one Saturday morning and H was yellow.  I can't believe I had not noticed it before.  I wanted to take H to the hospital but she refused but on the Monday H had bad stomach pains and I called a doctor and then went straight to A&E.  H spent 28 days in hospital and nearly died.  I was with her every day and so confused.  The Consultant told me H was an alcoholic and could never have a drink again or she would die.  H stayed off alcolhol for 10 months and did brilliantly.  Last Christmas H unfortunately started drinking again, followed by a period of 3 months sober, but since the beginning of May things got really bad.  H died in June all alone.  We were supposed to go away and the day before H decided she didn't want to go. I should not have gone, but I did.  I really needed a break.  At best I thought H would realise how horrible the week was without me and sort her head and drinking out, and at worst and more realistically, just be drunk when I got back and we'd start again.  When I got back I found her head on our living room floor, she had been dead for over a day and the cause was aspiration pneumonia.  Hellen had drank a lot while I was away on the night she died the Consultant thinks she passed out or fell asleep, vomited in her sleep and suffered aspiration pnemumonia.  The thing is if I had not have gone away I know she would have still been alive.  I'm not sure how long for, but as long as she was alive there was hope.  I have read a lot of stories ranging from recovery to people living with this for years and years with untold damage all round.  My life is peaceful now, but I am not at peace.  I miss her every minute and feel very guilty.  H was a beautiful woman who was lost and could not stop drinking.  My biggest regret is that I did not know more about this disease and therefore did not support as much as I could.  I wish I had gone to support groups and shouted from the roof tops for more help.  I wish I had tried to get H sectioned, towards the end H was upset and talking a lot about the abuse but when the psych team came they would not assess her due to drinking.  I should never have gone away and left her.  I suffered from what a lot of loved ones do and that was diminishing compassion, I lost patience with H and I never should have.  H was the love of my life and I should have always been there for her, and now she is gone forever.  I know it is tough, one of the hardest things to go through, but please try not to lose your compassion or patience for your loved one.  Whilst they are still alive, hope is alive and get some help, it is important you understand the disease so you can support and stay sane yourself.  Good luck.

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