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Finding it hard to forgive myself

PMM1485

Registered User
Dec 16, 2018
50
0
Hi everyone,
It has been a while now since I last posted. We lost mum at the end of last year, and I have to admit that at first I was relieved because she had suffered so much over the final few months. Now some time has passed, and the thing I am finding hardest to deal with is the guilt. Mum was always a cantankerous character and even before dementia there would inevitably be flash points whenever I visited when we would end up bickering, and occasionally rowing. I would always try to rise above it, be the adult, but found myself failing.

Don't get me wrong, I think we understood each other and had a very loving relationship; we spoke every day. It is just now in hindsight I replay all of those times over the past couple of years, once the dementia had surfaced, when I was short with her, lost my temper, raised my voice etc. I have to confess that anger at the disease sometimes made me angry with her, and I said a few hurtful things I wish I hadn't, and could be short with her. Not often, but they are there nevertheless. Did it even stray into bullying? Then there were other times I was just too busy when she wanted my attention, or dismissed her concern.

All I do is replay these instances again and again in my head and can't get past them. I want to say sorry. I DID say sorry before she died, and I know she knew I loved her. I just seem to fixate on the bad which is preventing me remembering the happy times. Is this a normal part of guilt? Have others felt the same? Does it pass? Any tips for moving past it? I so want to remember the good times without this guilt.
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,972
0
N Ireland
Hello @PMM1485

Firstly, may I express my condolences for your loss.

I'd say that what you are feeling is par for the course. I identify with these emotions as I care for my wife.

Try to be kind to yourself.

The Society has a Factsheet that contains some tips on this subject and if you would like to read it just click the 2nd line of the following link - Pg 7 onwards is pertinent
Carers - looking after yourself (523)
PDF printable version
 
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lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
1,392
0
Hello @PMM1485

Guilt seems to accompany many of those who have experienced dementia in a loved one and it is difficult when we get stuck in a guilt loop. Your mum knew you loved her and that is what really matters. You sound to have had a good relationship and I doubt she would even remember any of those things you feel bad about - or if she did, probably saw them in a different light. My mum can still be pretty "fiesty", has always been quite volatile, and I have come to the conclusion that she actually used to enjoy a good old row, even if nobody else did! In fact, I think one of the things my mum doesn’t like about me is that I never argue!

This is just an idea (and may sound a bit bonkers) but may be worth trying. Write a letter to your mum, saying everything you want to say, and then burn it (safely, obviously). It will no doubt make you cry but putting things in writing and then destroying them can be therapeutic, a sort of ending if you like. Then give yourself a treat of some sort (tea and cake, glass of wine) get out some old photo's of your mum where she is happy and you are happy, tell your mum in those photo's how much you love her, and keep those images in your head to replace the ones you currently have.
 
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Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
10,088
0
Yorkshire
hi @PMM1485
I think guilt is a part of grieving
your mum understood you and your relationship with her ... you got to say you were sorry, so she heard you and no doubt would both forgive you and say there's nothing to forgive, in the way mum's often do

I'm not sure all regrets completely go away ... I have some, of course I do, over my mum, and it's been well over a decade, but I have them mostly in perspective ... I know she would tell me I'm being daft, that everything negative I didn't do or did, or didn't say or said, are far outweighed by all I did, all we did together and everything kind and loving we said to each other

when a regret (I no longer call them guilts) comes to mind, I acknowledge it, and put it back into context by also deliberately remembering some lovely moments, having a look at a photo that brings back a good memory, and just being so glad that mum was in my life for so long and we shared so much ... after all that's how she wanted to be thought of
 

PMM1485

Registered User
Dec 16, 2018
50
0
Thanks to everyone for the help. I love your idea of writing mum a letter lemonbalm. I am definitely going to find time over Easter to sit down and do that. It's sound very cathartic.
Last week was quite tough with a series of first -Mother's Day, then mum's birthday and today the anniversary of lockdown, when it feels like so much changed. Still, I know I am not alone.
Mum would be so upset that I am fixating on the bad things, and there were so many good. Just need to refocus. Xx
 

Andy69

Registered User
Feb 21, 2021
23
0
Guildford
Hi there.
I lost my wonderful dad on the 15th of Feb.He was in his 88th year.I was lucky that up until December the 18th he was still working with me. We have been working together for over 40 years and this is why im struggling.I look up at the office door every morning waiting for him to come in.
But he doesn't.
He got Covid and went to hospital then that sped up his dementia so so fast but all the time im thinking what if he never got covid, how long would he have lasted. Yes he was slowing down, forgetting lots of things and sleeping a lot but he was still able to chat with customers.
I guess I have guilt as to whether he got covid from me or not. I will probably never know.
I find myself going back over the days from his last day here at work to his last days with us and I just cant seem to put the pieces together. No one explain to me what the effect is with covid and dementia. Maybe when I know this I can let things go.

I just miss him so much.😢

Andy.
 

Evie5831

Registered User
Nov 7, 2015
179
0
Hi everyone,
It has been a while now since I last posted. We lost mum at the end of last year, and I have to admit that at first I was relieved because she had suffered so much over the final few months. Now some time has passed, and the thing I am finding hardest to deal with is the guilt. Mum was always a cantankerous character and even before dementia there would inevitably be flash points whenever I visited when we would end up bickering, and occasionally rowing. I would always try to rise above it, be the adult, but found myself failing.

Don't get me wrong, I think we understood each other and had a very loving relationship; we spoke every day. It is just now in hindsight I replay all of those times over the past couple of years, once the dementia had surfaced, when I was short with her, lost my temper, raised my voice etc. I have to confess that anger at the disease sometimes made me angry with her, and I said a few hurtful things I wish I hadn't, and could be short with her. Not often, but they are there nevertheless. Did it even stray into bullying? Then there were other times I was just too busy when she wanted my attention, or dismissed her concern.

All I do is replay these instances again and again in my head and can't get past them. I want to say sorry. I DID say sorry before she died, and I know she knew I loved her. I just seem to fixate on the bad which is preventing me remembering the happy times. Is this a normal part of guilt? Have others felt the same? Does it pass? Any tips for moving past it? I so want to remember the good times without this guilt.
I think guilt is part of the dementia package tbh. Should I have spotted something sooner, should I have done xy and z but ultimately we are all human and you know you did everything you possibly could have done for your mum. You say that the two of you were feisty together, that is who you and your mum were and always will be and she would have undoubtably missed that type of interaction and felt that “something was wrong” and questioned why you were treating her differently when she has having a better hour or day.
Spirit is what we are made up of and I guarantee your mum wouldn’t have wanted you by other way. Learn to forgive yourself !
The cliched “ time is a great healer” may not be a 100 percent accurate but things do improve
 

Whisperer

Registered User
Mar 27, 2017
257
0
Southern England
Hi there.
I lost my wonderful dad on the 15th of Feb.He was in his 88th year.I was lucky that up until December the 18th he was still working with me. We have been working together for over 40 years and this is why im struggling.I look up at the office door every morning waiting for him to come in.
But he doesn't.
He got Covid and went to hospital then that sped up his dementia so so fast but all the time im thinking what if he never got covid, how long would he have lasted. Yes he was slowing down, forgetting lots of things and sleeping a lot but he was still able to chat with customers.
I guess I have guilt as to whether he got covid from me or not. I will probably never know.
I find myself going back over the days from his last day here at work to his last days with us and I just cant seem to put the pieces together. No one explain to me what the effect is with covid and dementia. Maybe when I know this I can let things go.

I just miss him so much.😢

Andy.
Dear @Andy69

I lost my mum recently so I know grief. We have never met but perhaps a stranger can help you a little? Please accept my words are meant well.

As you say you will never know if you gave COVID to your dad. Please let that doubt go and concentrate on a few positives. Through your loving efforts your dad remained engaged in work he clearly enjoyed. I put it to you that routine, talking to customers, etc, kept his Dementia progression in check over time. Without that stimulus your dad may have fallen to Dementia much sooner. Please accept how events unfolded, your positive and loving role in them, etc. I am sure your dad would not want you to “beat up” on yourself, over matters you can never fully have the complete facts on. He would thank you for what you did for him, the love, trust and respect you showed him working together, etc. Please let the doubt and possible guilt you are feeling go. Best wishes for the future.
 

Joancz

Registered User
Oct 2, 2019
30
0
Hi there.
I lost my wonderful dad on the 15th of Feb.He was in his 88th year.I was lucky that up until December the 18th he was still working with me. We have been working together for over 40 years and this is why im struggling.I look up at the office door every morning waiting for him to come in.
But he doesn't.
He got Covid and went to hospital then that sped up his dementia so so fast but all the time im thinking what if he never got covid, how long would he have lasted. Yes he was slowing down, forgetting lots of things and sleeping a lot but he was still able to chat with customers.
I guess I have guilt as to whether he got covid from me or not. I will probably never know.
I find myself going back over the days from his last day here at work to his last days with us and I just cant seem to put the pieces together. No one explain to me what the effect is with covid and dementia. Maybe when I know this I can let things go.

I just miss him so much.😢

Andy.
Dear @Andy69,
I'm very sorry for your loss. I do hope you can free yourself of the guilt you are feeling. Covid is an invisible enemy, there is no way of knowing where he got it from. As a daughter who is currently grieving to loss of my mum, I do understand the range of emotions that you are feeling, but if we loved them so much, we are bound to hurt and miss them dearly.
Dementia only goes one way, and you appear not to have gone through the full journey with your Dad, but even if you had (like myself), I'm not sure that you would feel comfort from the experience. I guess what I'm trying to say, its a huge loss, no matter what the circumstances. Sending my wishes to you for lighter days ahead x