• How often do you get a little dose of survivor's guilt?

    Asked by GregP_WN on Sunday, June 28, 2020

    How often do you get a little dose of survivor's guilt?

    Again this morning I did. A friend of the family, younger than me, probably in his 50's, healthy by most standards, non-smoker, non-drinker, basically the best type of person you would want as a neighbor or a friend, suddenly dead. I don't know at this point why. But for whatever reason it was it's another example of we don't know when our time is coming.

    Here I have one foot on the edge of the grave and it's a little slippery. I have beaten the odds 4 or 5 times so far with a couple of other close calls with other health issues, and bad life choices, so you would think that if someone's run out of chances it would be me.

    But apparently, it doesn't work that way. I can't help but feel a little strange. Again it's another case of if you think your problems are bad, look beside you, someone else's are worse. I could be on my last flight in, but he has used all of his up. My life might have parts of it that suck right now, but I still have one.

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I am so sorry about your friend, Greg. The fact that we simply don't know was brought home big-time when my son died suddenly and then when, just a few months later, my best friend from grade school also died suddenly. I learned that cancer is not the worse thing in the world because at least we are given some time to say goodbye and to take care of final things - amends, if needed, paperwork (will, powers of attorney, etc.) ... Our family can be there when our time is up and hold our hand and let us know they love us ... not so when you just are here one minute and gone the next.

      I have survivor's guilt ever so slightly on occasion, but usually not too much. I figure it is in God's hands and He knows who He wants when. What it does do to me, though, is make me wonder why I am still here and they aren't. And, wonder what God wants me to accomplish by leaving me here ... I always pray that whatever it is, I'm doing it.

      Hugs. And, by the way, there are a lot of us here who are glad that you've been kept here seemingly past your due date a few times!!! Hope that continues for a long time to come.

      5 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      As the day has passed we have found out that he had a heart attack. Now here's another thing. Some diseases you think you can point to a type of person, weight, lifestyle, habits, etc. and pin a disease or event that's going to kill them. He is not one you would put in the heart attack box. Slender, a farmer and carpenter so a hard worker. Non-smoker didn't drink or at least run around to the clubs. A family man with wife and two sons. This is just one of those that you see every now and then that is a shocker.

      5 months ago
    • Teachertina's Avatar

      I have known several people that have died suddenly with no warning at young ages. It feels strange to me too that I’ve survived cancer 3 times and have lived 66 years. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with the extra time I’ve been given. I try to make every day count in some way. My grandchildren give me a chance to help them learn some important life lessons from me. Maybe that’s my mission. I really don’t know.

      5 months ago
    • TOUGHERTHANIT's Avatar

      I can't say I have experienced survivor's guilt yet, I don't think I can call myself a survivor yet since I've just started treatments, but I do get a funny feeling every time I read about someone dying who is younger than I am.

      5 months ago
    • Bloodproblems' Avatar

      I have experienced it before too, I can't say that I really knew what it was that I was feeling, I didn't know it had a name. But I have wondered why I have made it this far through this when others who haven't lived as long as I have just vanished. Sometimes I think it's like the roll of the dice, your number is coming someday, we just all hope it's not today.

      5 months ago
    • JaneA's Avatar

      I have moments of survivor's guilt. Especially being a Stage IV survivor, most of the people that I knew in a Stage IV colorectal cancer support group have passed away. Yet, a handful of us (current stats are 14% for my kind of cancer) are still alive. The fact is that not even the doctors know at the beginning of our treatment, especially if we have metastatic cancer, which patient will respond to treatment or not.

      I believe that each of us must try to do the most and best with the life that we are given. Still, it pains me to hear of anyone's death.

      5 months ago
    • jdp746's Avatar

      Hi Greg, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. I've experienced survivor guilt many times. Some even before I aware I had it. In 2017, I went to a very dark place that I assumed was a PTSD issue related to my 40 years of a first responder life and 2 double fatality accident on July 4th. On July 6th, Angela (my cancer buddy) as I referred to her, passed. Angela was 23 years my junior. I couldn't escape my depression! At first my Therapist thought my issue was the years of trauma that I had experienced. However, on my third visit she told me my biggest issue was Survivor Guilt. I now had a name for what I was feeling. I feel guilty to the point it chocks me up and the tears flow! I think I feel it mostly due to my battle being quick and easy. I wasn't sick and I didn't suffer like Angela and many others, such as yourself do. It hits me hard when I lose friends in the battle or I hear of someone else I know being diagnosed. A note to TOUGHERTHANIT, You became a survivor the day you were diagnosed. My guilt started very early in my battle and I was totally unaware! I would cry, my wife would ask why. I would say, Just thinking about Angela. I was breezing though my battle and Angela was suffering and losing hers. Please know that I pray for all of us everyday. Jeff

      5 months ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar

      I have had survivor guilt for most of my very short journey so far. I don't care if they are older or younger than I. When I see how hard some people fight and what they have to go through, it makes me feel ashamed that my journey has been so short and relatively uneventful. I think about what so many people do that adds to the happiness and joy and productiveness in this world, and then I look at myself and wonder why someone hasn't just cleared me out with the spring cleaning and chunked me in the trash bin.

      Lots of survivor guilt here.

      5 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar

      Greg, I’m so sorry for your loss.

      While I feel guilty (sometimes unwarranted) about many things, I’ve never felt survivor’s guilt. My having survived thus far doesn’t hurt anyone, and my death wouldn’t have helped those who died. And I’m glad all of you are still here — I hope for many more years to come. I don’t attribute my survival to much more than having had excellent medical treatments and having had good luck so far.

      5 months ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy

    Read and answer more prostate cancer questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Prostate Cancer page.