Jump to content

Mom gone; guilt, sadness and confused


Recommended Posts

Hello everyone, I've been lurking here the last couple weeks and found some comfort but still very much in pain.

My mom passed unexpectedly Dec.26, 2017. It is hard to know where to begin without this going on for pages and pages. I'm going to do my best to make this as short as possible.

My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, she had some surgeries and began chemo and was seeming to respond well. I visited as often as I could and felt better knowing my dad was with her so she wasn't alone. The problem for me started near the end of 2015, what it boils down to is one of my three dogs got cancer and we were told he only had about six months to live. I didn't want to leave him alone and go see my mom, worried that he would die while I was gone. So I didn't visit her and comforted myself by telling myself that at least my two daughters were seeing her with their children and I knew she loved seeing the grandchildren. When my dog was put down in July 2016, I was just so tired all the time I just couldn't get out to see her and I felt like such a jerk because I felt like I put the dog before my mother. But, a part of me felt like I was also depressed about the realization that my mom was sick and I was going to be losing her sooner than I thought I would.  The end of 2016 I lost one of my other dogs to cancer completely unexpectedly. So, more sadness and depression but I felt a little better knowing that I would see my mom for the holidays. My parents always come to my house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had a good time and I'm glad I saw her.

January of 2017 was the last time I went to visit her at her house. It kills me knowing I let so much time pass without seeing her all because of my dogs.   I also didn't go to see her in the summer like I was supposed to because my grandmother who lives with them had c-diff which I understand as a bacterial infection in the bowels and I didn't want to be exposed because my oldest daughter had a new born baby that I was around and didn't want to possibly expose him even though the possibility was probably slim.

So, anyway, my younger daughter made plans to bring my mom to her house and my older daughter and me along with the grandchildren would all get together. The plans fell through because my mom's white blood cell count went down and she couldn't be around too many people. We rescheduled but it happened again. Now we were into November and we didn't go see her for fear of possibly making her sick in case we were carrying anything and we wanted her healthy for the Thanksgiving and Christmas which she was looking forward to. Unfortunately she got a virus anyway and was sick for Thanksgiving and then Christmas. My heart broke for her. She was in the hospital Christmas night. The next day my dad told me she was resting and on pain meds and they were going to run some tests to see exactly what she had. I did 't call her because she was asleep from the meds and needed her rest. We were waiting for the results to see how long she'd be there before we would either go to see her there or hopefully she'd be home and we'd see her then. Problem is, the routine, low risk test they were supposed to perform to take some fluid from her lungs was botched and she bled into her lung and died.

Now I'm left with extreme guilt, sadness, and my entire body hurts. I called her every Monday and my dad told me that she always looked forward to my calls. Sometimes I'd call a few more times during the week but the calls seemed to make her very tired so the weeks she had chemo I'd only call on that Monday.  This sounds nice that I gave her something to look forward to but I feel like 'big deal' I called my mom. I SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE MORE!! What is wrong with me? I should have said more sentimental things, told her more how much she meant to me. Now it's too late. I can't go back and fix the past. And what's hard now is it's been a couple weeks, the memorial service was a couple days ago and anytime I feel like laughing or smiling or doing anything I feel guilty. I feel like I have no right to feel anything but sadness, remorse, guilt and loss.

I don't know what to feel right now. I know somewhere in my brain I'm trying to punish myself for not being there the way I should have as if that is going to make things better but I honestly don't feel like I deserve to feel anything but sadness and guilt. I can feel a part of me trying to take a break from the stress of it all by thinking about doing some of the things I enjoy but I feel myself quickly shut it down and bring myself back to the remorse and sadness.

I'm sorry, this ended up a lot longer than I intended. Even if no one reads the whole thing it still felt a bit cathartic to just get it all out. So thank you for a place to do that and thank you to any who were actually able to hang in there and read this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, Kaly said:

I know somewhere in my brain I'm trying to punish myself for not being there the way I should have as if that is going to make things better but I honestly don't feel like I deserve to feel anything but sadness and guilt.

My dear, I think you know yourself pretty well, and you already recognize that the person from whom you need forgiveness is not your mother so much as it is yourself. This guilt you are feeling is just that: a feeling, and feelings are neither right or wrong, nor are they always accurate or justified. As a grief counselor, I can tell you that sadness, guilt and remorse are all normal reactions to the death of someone we love dearly, and so common as to be nearly universal. We are human beings, after all, not angels and saints, and we live in an imperfect universe. We all do things we look back upon and wish with all our hearts that we could do differently if we had the chance. But in most cases, we do what we think is best at the time ~ and as I read your story, it seems to me that the decisions you made about whether to be with your mother were valid and reasonable, given the information you had available to you. Of course you'd give anything to re-write your story and change the outcome, but that is not to be. Instead, you must find a way to take yourself off that big hook and one day forgive yourself. I suspect that will happen only when you feel as if you've punished yourself enough ~ and only you will know when that will be. Meanwhile, I like the Catholic concept of absolution: finding forgiveness through confession. By sharing your story with others, as you have done here ~ and as you might consider doing in an in-person grief support group ~ you will be among others who can relate to your humanness and help you to see your situation more objectively. 

You may find these articles helpful:

 Guilt: Guilt and Regret in Grief

Guilt: Grief and The Burden of Guilt

Guilt: Guilt In The Wake of a Parent's Death

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry for the loss of your mom and your dogs.  Sometimes we're called upon to make some hard judgment calls, as you had to here, and it feels like a lose lose no matter what we do because we want to be in two places at once as our hearts are in two places.  You were responsible for your dogs though and your mom had your dad with her.  Sometimes it's not so much about what we did/didn't do as how things evolved that made them go the way they did, I think that's what happened in your situation.

Guilt seems to be a part of grief, one we have to work through, and I hope you read the articles Marty gave you links to.  I also want to assure you that it's important to give ourselves permission to smile and laugh even after losing someone so important in our lives.  I remember reading an article about it after my husband died, and it really helped me (sure wish I'd saved the article but I was barely able to think at the time).  Keep in mind, it is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and it continues still.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MartyT and kayc,

Thank you for your responses. There seems to be some comfort in the responses from others who have been through this loss and grief also.

The other thing that plays over and over in my mind is what I'm sure many of us have had and that is, "I thought I had more time with her. They said she was doing well, and had a few more good years left." Well, now I know, too late, don't count on that. You never know how much time you have with someone. All the plans I had for this year with my mom mean nothing now, and I wish I learned the lesson of not putting these things off earlier. And the hard part is that I have heard this sentiment from many other people who have lost someone many times in my life, but somehow it just never sunk in the way it has now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We never know how long we'll have with someone.  There are people in their 20s losing their spouses!  Mine was barely 51 when he died, I thought I had YEARS left with him!  My mom lived into her 90s so I expected to lose her, but the loss is the same, just without the shock.  It's never easy.  

I think it takes going through it ourselves to realize this.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Its the hardest and most unexplainable feeling after loosing a parent, feeling abandoned, angry, really angry, I know I feel that way, I lost my mom its just over 100 days! mom left me to be in God's care on the 25th of jan 2018.. the incident still haunts me. I cannot eat sleep or focus on anything, I am really really sore. this diarrhea and stomach cramps refuse to leave.   This is a very very big change for me and very very hard. Being the only child of my parents and having lost my dad when I was 7.. my mom was my everything for 37 years...I sacrificed my life and always put her needs beyond my own because seeing her smile was the most beautiful thing ever. I left working within the office environ,ent so I could be with him at the home, I am glad I did that atleast when it happened she was not alone and I was here, I felt so hurt and helpless see her go through that pain of that heartache suddenly that I froze for a few moments.. being alone to go through this is not nice. So know so much has happened in the 100 days. My birthday, prayers.. people walking out.. I strongly feel that time does not heal. time reveals.  

 

Know I am alone. I have nobody to call my own. I have God by my side. Everything is hard, but the simple things... like when I send a whatsapp it would always end with "my name & mom at the end" know I send messages and its me (just standing alone) then it hit me, no more being behind mom and being protected by her, I am alone know. No more guidance to make decisions... I have to make my own know... something as simple as filling in form that requires "next of kin" details broke me down... I have no one, there is no one anymore.  Its very hard... yes ppl have the best of intentions I just feel they want to know your business, when you really need them then nobody is around... The religious month of fasting is coming up - I have absolutely no idea how I am going to deal with this. I miss her, her presence. I just miss he lots. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Pari  I am so sorry for the loss of your mom.  I lost my husband nearly 13 years ago, my dad 36 years ago, my mom 3 1/2 years ago and now I just lost my sister.  I know what you are talking about, being alone.  I think people do care but don't know what to do, what to say and the worst are the stupid cliches.  I know I never would have made it through without this place, I've learned so much about grief here, and just having a safe place where people understand and don't give you cliches, well, it helps.  We still have to do our lives alone, but at least can share about it here.

Do you have any aunts or uncles?  I know it's not the same.  I wasn't close to mine, I had a lot of them, they just weren't close.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...