Having an attack of the guilts

Discussion in 'After dementia — dealing with loss' started by jenniferpa, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    What the title says really: generally misdirected non-specific sense of guilt today. Why didn't I get there in time? Why didn't I visit since April? I have logical answers to those questions but as we all know, guilt doesn't require, or respond to, logic.

    It wouldn't have made any difference in the general scheme of things, but I just wish I had.

    One thing that is preying on my mind is that I had a very nice photo of the children done for her and I thought "oh, not much point in mailing it, I'll take it when I go" and she didn't get to see it. Silly I know.

  2. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland

    Jennifer, you know the 'misdirected' is the operative word, don't you?

    You know you did everything you could, and you know you couldn't possible have got there any quicker once you knew the situation was serious.

    You also know that your mum probably chose to die before you got there.

    It's a shame about the photo, but would your mum have needed a photo to remember her grandchildren? I'm sure she was immensely proud of them. And you'll remember your mum every time you see the photo.

    You know what's happening, don't you? I'm sure you do, but I'm going to spell it out anyway.:p

    You had a fortnight over here, coming to terms with your mum's death, arranging the funeral, sorting out all the paperwork -- no time to grieve.

    You went home, and threw yourself into your new role as moderator -- still no time to think.

    Now your mind is saying, 'Hang on a minute! What about me?' And your mind's right. Give yourself some time. Grieve, weep, remember your mum, and be kind to yourself. I'm sure Sylvia will give you a week's grace on the diet!:)

    And try not to feel guilty. You have no reason to.

  3. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England

    I often wonder at the saying 'Hindsight is a wonderful thing.' It's a bl**dy awful thing at times simply because hindsight = feeling guilty/sad we didn't so something or didn't do it as well as we might have done ..... Just my thoughts but I think it's human nature that we look back and 'kick ourselves' about something ... perhaps we should use hindsight more to look back and give ourselves a pat on the back for all we got wonderfully right first time round!!!!!???

    So how about taking some time for yourself to think about some of the amazing things you pulled off for your mum, all the things you can feel proud about instead of guilty about? I have a visual image of you drawing up a balance sheet - with outstanding assets dwarfing the odd little liabilities you might define for yourself.

    You know, that picture must be very precious. Maybe it is a shame your mother didn't see it, but most importantly it signifies what you were doing for her, how you thinking about her ....

    And maybe we have to accept we all have our 'if only' days ...... I had endless ones after dad died, but now look back on the 'overall picture' knowing I did my best and what I could do at the time.

    Take care .... Love, Karen, x
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Jennifer,

    It seems that reflection is par for the course, especially now life is returning to `normal`and you have more time to think, and possibly to grieve.

    By helping others, by being involved in the lives of others, both on TP and at home, helping your daughter to move, you have put your own life on hold.

    Don`t get bogged down by guilt, there`s no justification for guilt. Regrets, perhaps. We all have regrets, but that`s life.

    Take care, don`t beat yourself up, you`ve lost your mother, you are bound to feel low, it`s a perfectly normal reaction.

    Take care

    Love xx
  5. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    As the others have said, it's time for you to take time for yourself. Do whatever makes you feel better - have a huge, snotty cry. Give in to your emotions and get it out.

    As for guilt, yes, you're right, it's not logical or rational. But use that fine brain to tell yourself over & over you did the best you could have. What else could you have done? You could have dropped your husband & kids, & moved to England until your mother died. No, that would have been wrong. Your husband & children deserve your time and attention also.

    You were in a very difficult position because of the long distances involved. I understand exactly where you are coming from and I suspect when my mother dies you will be repeating my words back to me.

    We never feel we have done enough, except perhaps for those who make martyrs of themselve and that's not healthy.

    Right now you need Jennifer time.

  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I hear you all (lets face it I KNOW what you're all saying is true) but sometimes the only direction to go is down. On well, I guess when I hit bottom I'll bob back up to the top (all that adipose tissue).
  7. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Oh Dear Jennifer, I hope it isn`t inevitable that you`ll hit rock bottom.

    Love xx
  8. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Well no, probably not, although I suspect that my bottom isn't as deep as other peoples. Just an attack of the glums I guess.

    If I keep busy I'm OK.
  9. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Jennifer, when you hit the bottom, there is good news .....

    From then on in the only way is UP!!!!!!!

    You've hinted at the analogy yourself - but methinks you are treading water - paddling away desperately to keep yourself afloat - when if you just let yourself relax and sink a little you'll find the buoyancy of the depths will eventually lift you with a lot less effort on your part ......

    Please be kind to yourself,

    Love Karen, x (a once (and still sometimes) desperate paddler myself :( )
  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Thanks Karen, I know it, it's just... well you know.
  11. Whiskas

    Whiskas Registered User

    Oct 17, 2006
    Jennifer it doesn't matter how many people tell you that you don't have to feel guilty it wont make any difference until you give yourself permission to believe it, (can't you tell I'm having counselling!). Just hope you can do that before you get too far down, though as Karen says then the only way is up!!
    Take care of yourself now, you need a bit of TLC for a change.
  12. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Jennifer, just sending a (((((HUG))))). Lots of TLC winging your way as well.
  13. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    This is a good extract from a previous post.
    Guilt is part of the grieving process!! - you need to get past all that, but to help you through it just keep reflecting on this quote.

    Best wishes Jan
  14. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    Hello Jennifer,
    Very sorry you are feeling glum. Others have given better advice, mine is just to say 'try not to get too tired'. I'm always more miserable when I've overdone things. Do take care of yourself. You are much loved. Deborah x
  15. blue sea

    blue sea Registered User

    Aug 24, 2005
    Such wise words from so many, Jennifer. It is so often said, but it is true, that time will ease the pain and sharpness of the loss you now feel. The guilt will fade, (though can still give you niggles!) and the happier memories will become stronger. One way I found very helpful in 'regaining' my dad, was to make an album of all the happiest moments from family photos, from his childhood onwards. This gave me a better perspective on his whole life, putting his last very traumatic years into the fuller context of a life well lived. It is very early days in your bereavement so try not to rush the process. It will take as long as it takes. You know you did everything you could to support your mum. There will always be the 'what ifs'. It is normal to feel sad, low and guilty after a close death. Life will gradually regain its purpose and you will start to feel stronger and more positive, but be patient, it takes time.

    Thinking of you,
    Blue sea
  16. Tina

    Tina Registered User

    May 19, 2006

    Not silly, Jennifer, only natural. I was the same with my nan - I couldn't be there when she died, adn when my aunt died last November, I had gone home two days before. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. Why didn't I stay? Why wasn't i with nan when her time came? Same questions as yours...I have answers too, but they don't always make me feel better. BUT: as others have said, think of all the things you fought for while your mum was still alive. You gave your best, you saw that she was cared for, in a good place, you visited when you could, you kept in touch, you were there when she was in hospital earlier this year.

    You know all these things, and they won't always console you if you're down in the dumps because there'll always be the "But I wish I had got there in time..."

    What helps me at those times is the knowledge that both nan and my aunty knew I loved them and cared deeply, and we had good happy times together when they were still able. I made sure I visited regularly and there was always that horrible feeling at the end of "Will I see them again? What if not? Well, I'd better tell them one extra time I love them and make extra sure I spend lots of time with them during my visits."

    You did your best, Jennifer. Nobody can ask any more.
    All the best,

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