Is it worse for the survivors if the death of a loved one is sudden or a prolonged illness, where the survivors have to watch the loved one deteriorate and suffer?

For this question, there is no one answer.

After my husband passedWatching my beloved husband waste away wasn’t easy away, I joined a bereavement group and listened to everyone’s stories, as well as told my own. Some had loved ones that passed suddenly; others were ill for a long time.

Watching my beloved husband who had been a strong man waste away wasn’t easy for me.

I was the caregiver. I spent most of my time doing things for him. I helped him into the car, then put his walker into the back seat, then drove to doctors hoping to find a handicap spot near the door.

After he had a stroke, they had sent him home on the condition that I was allowed to leave him alone only for two hours a day.

I rushed through grocery shopping, then opened the door to our house and shouted “Hello” as I ran in, hoping he was not on the floor from another stroke.

I cooked the meals and did whatever else I had to do to keep the house running smoothly. I helped him dress, and sometimes, if I believed he was having another stroke, I called 911 and accompanied him to the hospital, all the time saying, “You are not alone. I will stay with you.”

Being a caregiver was and is a loving act.

In the group, I listened as others tell their stories.

They spoke of what happened and what they wished had happened.

“I should have called the doctor sooner,” “I should not have left him alone,” “I should have spent more time with him.”

What more they could have done was always uppermost on their minds. They felt guilty.

“But you took care of them,” I said. “That is not a trivial thing. They had you.”

For survivors of the sudden death of a spouse or family member, they wished they had a chance to say good-bye or say “I love you” one last time.

But you showed them love in many ways, even if you didn’t speak it. One answer for all survivors is to remember what is required on the High Holidays: to forgive others and also forgive yourself.

I had the chance in theHe was not alone hospital to tell my husband that I loved him, and for that, I am grateful. He was not alone.

Tonight I am going to shul for my brother’s yahrzeit. He died suddenly, all alone. I didn’t have a chance to say “I love you” before he died. Tonight, I will also say a prayer for my sister, Bayla bas Chaya Sarah.

Last night, I dreamed of the apartment where our family of five lived in four rooms in what was then called Jewish Boston. Early in the morning, my father rose up and went off to work. My mother washed the clothes and put them out on the line to dry before she walked to Blue Hill Avenue to buy the kosher fish, meat or chicken to make the soup for Shabbat dinner.

Friday night we sat down at the kitchen table where the Shabbat candles were already lit. Dad stood at the head of the table to say the blessings over the wine and two challahs.

I don’t remember saying “I love you” to everyone. But I did love them, and I still do.

The best thing I have learned is to remember to show the ones you love that you love them. It’s also important to tell them.

That’s what I plan to do.