A day of guilt and tears...

Discussion in 'After dementia — dealing with loss' started by babystar, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. babystar

    babystar Registered User

    Apr 10, 2013
    Mum passed away two weeks ago now. Her funeral is next week. Everything has been finalised and once the funeral has happened that'll be the end of it all.

    I am being a wreck today and have given myself a major headache as a result. Why are these thoughts so easy to get in your head and so hard to get out?

    I'm punishing myself for not seeing Mum enough. She was in a care home and I moved within walking distance away but I still didn't go and see her all the time. And now I wish I had. Just to sit and hold her hand and give her some comfort. I used to go with my sister and we would sit and chat to each other and with Mum, even if she didn't understand she heard our voices. I found it harder by myself. It was upsetting to see her like that with no one else there as a distraction. I can even remember thinking that when she was gone I would wish I had seen her more, but it still didn't change anything! Now I can't stop thinking how I could have been there for her more.

    I felt guilt with my Dad as well. He texted me one day and asked how my weekend had been as I'd gone away. Instead of sending a lengthy text back I thought I'd be seeing him the next day or the day after and I'd tell him then. Of course I never saw him again as he had a heart attack. And how I wish I'd texted back now! Still to this day I wish that.

    Your mind can be a horrible thing sometimes...
  2. marmarlade

    marmarlade Registered User

    Jan 26, 2015
    guilt is with everyone of us on here at times.its always reared its ugly head when we could do without its reminders.When hubby passed away I wasnt there ,we had been at the care home every day for 3 weeks so on the Saturday afternoon we went home for a break ,and of couse he died while I wasnt there,my mind kept saying you should have stayed ,and the guilt with this going round in my head just about done me in. I saw hubby nearly every day but it didnt lessen the guilt I wasnt there,.we all wish we had done things different ,but we do what we can at the time,
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Its easy to be wise after the event. Nothing can be changed now. I'm sure you tried your best but it is so difficult.

    Please forgive yourself. Allow your mums funeral to bring you peace .
  4. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    hello @babystar
    whenever such thoughts enter my head, I now answer them as if I were my mum (after all, half of me is ...) and I know just what she would say; how she would twist it around so that I felt like the good daughter I was, knowing that she was proud of me and forgave my personal foibles
    your mum and dad will be shaking their heads and saying to each other ' just how much more does the lovely lass think she could have done; nothing, we couldn't have asked for better''
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I think a feeling of guilt is a pretty normal part of grieving. Mum passed away 16 months ago now and I still get pangs of guilt over things I did or didnt do.

    We can only do what we can do and with dementia, even if you did absolutely everything that was at all possible, it still wouldnt be enough - thats the nature of dementia, Im afraid.

    Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself (Im sure your mum would forgive you) - you are still grieving.
  6. love.dad.but..

    love.dad.but.. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    Canary sums up how I feel...deep down I know I could not have done any more to help dad or be with him every other day but that doesn't stop me over analysing 18 months after he died.

    You did your best and what you could...we cannot ask any more of ourselves. Dementia particularly presents unique challenges to carers.

    Try and focus on knowing that your mum and dad loved you unconditionally and giving your mum a funeral that is a celebration of her life.
  7. imsoblue

    imsoblue Registered User

    Feb 19, 2018
    I'm so sorry you lost your mum. That's enough pain to deal with and adding guilt to it is really not necessary. As @canary said, it's part of the grieving process. Hindsight wouldn't be called that if we could do everything "right" the first time.
    And "right" does not mean seeing your mum more.
    We all could have called our mums and dads more. Death makes us aware of how precious life is. You must now live without guilt.
  8. Amethyst59

    Amethyst59 Registered User

    Jul 3, 2017
    I do just what Shedrech said...I imagine what my mum or dad would say to me...and neither of them would have said, ‘well really, you could have done better’, they would both have told me to stop beating myself up. It’s so much harder to forgive ourselves for things than for us to forgive other people.
    I truly hope your mum’s funeral brings you peace.
  9. Hazara8

    Hazara8 Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    Alas. 'thoughts' are what play havoc with us each and every day and they are really unreal. They colour and distort reality in so many ways, but we do not take heed when they appear to be of no consequence. The feelings of guilt which are complex, also tend towards falsehood because they are influenced by emotion, regret, ifs and buts and all manner of 'thoughts'. What truly matters is 'being there'. And when you are there with a loved one, whether to comfort or simply to be in their company, that is all that matters. Whilst one can be there physically nearly all the time - as I was with my late mother - the truth is that there will always be a time and a moment when you are absent and things happen. I visited my mother's Care Home every single day and remained for hours on end. But once I had left, the 'thoughts' came into play. "How is she now?" "Is she crying? Is she asking for me? "Is she alone?" and so on.

    Now, as a Care Home volunteer, I see day-to day other mothers and fathers and relations - all dementia residents - living day to day, so very often without event, mishap, sadness. In other words, the 'thoughts' which engender expectation, anxiety, pain and despair in we as Carers, does not manifest as such in reality. They are simply 'thoughts'. The reality, the truth rests
    with the 'here and now' and nothing else. So try not to feel quilty nor have regrets, because they can never be rectified, just add to discomfort and a feeling of frustrated contrition.

    When an elderly resident laughs with joy and you see it in their eyes, albeit briefly perhaps in the way of dementia, you can never capture that, nor hold it in any way - only in 'thought'. And the 'thought' is not the reality. That took place in that instant one was there and it was true and it was good. Let 'thoughts' be what they truly are and don't fight them, or wish them away. If you watch them without any opinion at all, they will melt away.
  10. babystar

    babystar Registered User

    Apr 10, 2013
    Thanks all. Crying again reading all your kind words! My sympathies to you @marmarlade, that must've been heart-breaking.

    I guess thinking what Mum and Dad would say to me feeling like that is a good idea. I know they wouldn't want me to be upset or punishing myself. I think the fact I miss them both so much enhances the guilty feelings and regrets. Or it's just the way I am. I even retain guilt over a darling little dog I had - she had to stay at the vets over a weekend as she was poorly and they couldn't work out what it was. I didn't go and see her as I thought at the time I didn't want to disturb her, or disappoint her when I had to leave. Of course then I had a call the Monday morning saying there wasn't anything they could do, and the next time I saw her was to say goodbye as they put her to sleep. My Dad went a month later. And now Mum's gone too.

    I know that the thoughts will subside eventually. And I'm sure everyone gets upset every now and again about things.

    Hopefully the funeral will go well. I am doing a bible reading so have to hold it together for that!

    Did anyone else feel like they couldn't remember anything about their relative before they developed dementia? I worry I can't remember what Mum was like. The past four or five years seem to have obliterated the previous 30 plus :(
  11. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Yes, I did feel like that. The old memories are coming back now and there are times when I miss her so much.
    It is all part of grieving
  12. Norfolk Cherry

    Norfolk Cherry Registered User

    Feb 17, 2018
    I was thinking the same thing today @babystar. I wish I'd got some videos of my parents as they were, dad died suddenly and I can vividly visualise him talking and joking around. Its much harder to remember the real mum, this new replacement is only too real and is constantly at the forefront of my mind, not in a good way. I'm alone now on our camping holiday as my husband has had to go back and prompt her to eat and drink, as she's refusing the carers. He says I need a break, I'm lucky to have him. She calls him "my dad"?! Whatever sort of life is it?!
  13. Jale

    Jale Registered User

    Jul 9, 2018
    I feel sure that you did everything you possibly could for your Mum and Dad. Please be kind to yourself and take care.
  14. Amethyst59

    Amethyst59 Registered User

    Jul 3, 2017
    My late husband got cancer four years after we married. He was ill for more of our marriage than he was well. It was only years after he died that I remembered what fun he was, what a laugh. My mind was full of the man with cancer. The good memories do come. Give it time.
  15. babystar

    babystar Registered User

    Apr 10, 2013
    @Amethyst59 and @canary - good to know I'm not alone! I used to think I was good at remembering things from when I was younger, I can be quite a nostalgic person at times. I hope the good memories resurface in time - it's not fair to Mum's memory to only remember the way she was in the last few years. Maybe if I stop trying so hard it'll happen. When we met the vicar to discuss the ceremony I thought they were going to ask for specific memories for the eulogy as they had done with Dad, but it was a different vicar and we all just chipped in about Mum's life instead. I can remember going to Gala bingo with her and my sister and she used to tell us off for bickering. Before I was old enough to go she'd always bring me back a bag of pick 'n' mix with chocolate eclairs and toasted teacakes in. And when I was older and used to go out drinking of a night out she was always still up when I got in, no matter what time, and we'd end up staying up longer watching Jerry Springer in the early hours and drinking tea. So I guess that's something, and it's a start...

    @Norfolk Cherry - I know what you mean. I wish I'd just got more photos. I don't know, when everyone's well it seems weird taking pictures of them for no reason. Then when they're gone you wish you had. Dementia blights your memories of who a person was. It's awful and evil and no one should have to go through it. We don't let animals suffer yet people are forced to live like this when everyone in their right mind would say they'd want to be let go. Your husband sounds like good people though, you need some sort of support yourself to keep you strong. And if he brings your Mum comfort too, even if she believes he's her Dad, then that's good too.
  16. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    I'm sorry I've come to this thread so late.

    I just wanted to say that yes, I recognise this -

    My mum passed away 7 years next week and my husband passed away 2 years ago last week. To begin with I felt very much as you describe and all I could remember was the 'dementia years'. Gradually, for both of them I have found that these memories are being replaced by the good memories of them both. All the bad and horrible things that happened don't really matter now and although they do surface from time to time I'm finding that the memories of the fun we all had together are more prevalent. I'm sure that this will be the same for you. It's very early days for you - take care of yourself and keep posting here!
  17. Diannie

    Diannie Registered User

    Jun 2, 2015
    My husband has been in a care home for a year. People tell you to try and make a life by yourself. I have joined several clubs and meet people. But I find I am just going through the motions. I still see him every day. But it’s getting harder not easier for me. Every day I am in floods of tears. No one can convince me I have done the right thing.

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