Struggling with guilt after losing Mum

Discussion in 'After dementia — dealing with loss' started by julieb00, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. julieb00

    julieb00 New member

    Jun 8, 2019
    Hi, my wonderful mum passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last Monday morning, after battling this horrible disease for years. I have watched the happy, caring woman I knew deteriorate for the last few years, and feel like I have been grieving for my mum all that time, and now she really is gone. Lots of people are saying we should be glad she isn't suffering anymore - and she really did suffer, she was terrified a lot of the time - but I feel so guilty to be feeling that way. I just want her back, but I know it's mum from before her illness that I am really missing.
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Please accept my condolences @julieb00 and welcome to Talking Point.

    People are good at offering platitudes when they feel they must say something but are never sure just what to say. I find them hard to take but understand they are well meaning.

    It sounds as if you really looked after your mother with everything you had so I wouldn`t be surprised if your feeling of guilt is a form of grief. If it is only a week since your mother passed away you have had no time at all to accept her passing.

    It is five and a half years since my husband died and I still have an emptiness in my heart.

    Allow your feelings Julie and know whatever you feel is normal.

    Please continue to stay with Talking Point. There are many many people here living with loss and their support may help you.
  3. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hello @julieb00 . People said that to me when mum died too.
    I thought that I had done all my grieving before she passed away, but when she died I discovered that I had not.
    Yes, I was glad she was not suffering, and yes, there was a sense of relief that I no longer had to keep responding to emergencies, but there was now a huge mum sized hole in my life. I felt numb for months

    Be gentle with yourself - you are grieving and that is normal.
  4. Marcelle123

    Marcelle123 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2015
    So sorry to hear of your loss.

    My mother died 18 months ago, but I still miss her so much and feel either numb or sometimes still a bit shocked and surprised to realise that she's no longer there. As time goes on, it's the memories of my mother before she got dementia that are starting to surface. When I remember all the little crises and all her worries and inability to understand, I feel conflicted - I wouldn't want her back to have to endure all that again, but in some ways I'd want her back whatever.

    I have written of my experience so that you can see that this sort of mental conflict and the feeling that other people are saying things to solace you, but they really have no notion of what it's like for you - it's completely normal.

    Honestly, don't feel guilty. It's such early days still. You can't rush the grief process, but when you've got a bit of distance from this sad event, I advise you to plan something positive to celebrate your Mum and what she meant to you.

    I am busy planning out a new garden for when we move (back to my childhood home town) which will have my Mum's and my Gran's favourite plants in it.

    Wishing you strength and solace, and a thorough bashing for the Guilt Monster. xx
  5. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    My condolences @julieb00. It's almost a year since my husband died and people were always saying to me (and still do) that it is good he is no longer suffering. I understand your mixed feelings between agreeing at times but feeling guilty - but also wanting our loved ones back.

    I think what irked me was that most people saying these things were basing their conclusions on the brief encounters they had with my husband. They only saw 'suffering' in their eyes whereas myself, son and daughter saw the good times, the moments of clarity, the glimpses of the husband and father we knew and loved breaking through time and time again.

    So yes, these are well meant platitudes, and I am grateful people said something rather than nothing at all- but it does stir up a whole mix of emotions and even a degree of indignation at times.

    We can but know that we did our best, made things as tolerable as possible for our loved ones and ourselves.

    Feeling relief when a long, drawn out disease-driven battle is over is natural - and that is all it is - a feeling of relief, not one of happiness - and it's certainly nothing to feel guilty about.

    Thinking of you.
  6. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Please accept my condolences @julieb00. My mother died nearly 3 years ago and I miss her every day. I do have moments still of guilt - guilt that I should have done more during her illness, guilt that I didn't talk to her enough when she was dying, just guilt. I realize it's not rational but it can be very hard to stifle these emotions.

    I don't remember anyone saying that she wasn't suffering anymore. I don't think that she was. At that point in her disease, her lack of awareness spared her the horrible mental anguish she suffered in the early years. We were in calm waters the last few years.

    You are still at the very beginning of your grief journey. Here is a link to a poem which I found and find profoundly comforting.
  7. lis66

    lis66 Registered User

    Aug 7, 2015
    So sorry for your loss Julieb00 I am still on this heartbreaking journey with my mum ,take care xxx
  8. Jale

    Jale Registered User

    Jul 9, 2018
    So sorry for your loss - please take care of yourself at this sad and difficult time
  9. Susan11

    Susan11 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2018
    I lost my Dad 11 months ago. It's Fathers Day coming up and I feel overwhelmed by all the ads and reminders. I caught myself thinking I must remember to buy Dad a card yesterday and it brought tears to my eyes. I miss him so much .
  10. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Volunteer Host

    Apr 1, 2016
    My condolences @julieb00

    My dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly just before Christmas so I know how shocked and lost you must be feeling. I knew, logically, that this was best for dad. No long lingering death. It was what he said he wanted. Me? I want him back. Real dad, not dementia dad... Don't like being an orphan..
  11. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    East Midlands
    Sending you much love & peace @julieb00 - please try not to feel guilty although that is very hard at times. You always wonder this, that & the other but I am sure you were a great daughter to your mum.
    You might feel numb now, you might not feel as if you are functioning very well. I myself seemed to go on auto pilot for about a month or so after my mum passed.... i’m only just coming out of the fog now but I really wasn’t with it at that time. Be kind to yourself now xx
  12. MTM

    MTM Registered User

    Jun 2, 2018
    I’m so sorry to heart that. For what it’s worth, my Dad died on 25th May this year. He went into hospital late January and from there to a care home late February. At the end, it was as if we got him back. He was calmer, he knew more, he knew where he had lived - not always but a lot more than before - the last couple of visits to see him he was very quiet, and hadn’t the strength to speak. But there was so much love in him, and humour and smiles. We held hands, I shared memories of funny times with him and he nodded and smiled.

    Now that he is gone, I wish he was still there, because I would love to hug him one last time and tell him I love him one last time. Or visit him with my brother and mother and have a good visit that they could remember too, with smiling and waving and wiggling eyebrows. I also miss him, old Dad, before Alzheimer’s. And it makes me miss Mum all the more, because she has dementia too.

    It’s a complicated process this grieving. I’d only say, remember that you are not alone. Chances are many people have stood where you are and felt as you feel. Everything you are feeling, the sadness, the guilt, the could I have done that a little better, the relief ... I am convinced all of it is normal. Give yourself as much time and space as you can to get it sorted in your head.

    All the best and God bless,

  13. Hazara8

    Hazara8 Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    I think it is important to understand that how you feel about the recent loss of your mother, belongs to you and you alone. Yes, people will be caring and meaningful in both sympathy and in offering strategies to address grief. Every single life on Earth comes to an end and has done so since mankind evolved. So that is a given, albeit one which even in 2019, challenges our perception of life. But looking very closely at the journey we, as carers take when directly relating to a loved one with dementia, l believe we can come to understand that the intensity of that care, the nature of dementia manifest in all manner of ways - daunting, often traumatic, physically challenging - is what creates a very powerful bond, what l like to term "a secondary bond" and that comes about, perhaps, moreso in respect of dementia, than in any other terminal presentation. Because, the one you love - mother, father, sibling or partner, becomes victim without choice, to "changes". There is nothing you can offer, other than care and supremely, COMFORT. Therein lies, for so many here, a journey fraught with anxiety, expectation, uncertainty, anger, guilt, frustration, exhaustion - mentally and physically - all at the relentless behest of a disease which does not care one iota. So is it any wonder that when that journey ends in the death of that loved one, you will feel strangely bereft, cheated in a way, but not in a selfish way. For the months and years that have constituted that extremely challenging journey of living and breathing care, are invested deep down inside of you. The constant tasks ( incontinence, medications, changing wet beds, cleaning up sickness, bearing the brunt of aggressive behaviour, endless broken nights....etc) and the unreserved 24hr care, are literally what your life becomes. What you might dearly wish could return forever, is the essence of the love which passed between you come what may. The moments of laughter, the days when dementia seemed to recede for a time anyway, the humanity and compassion you felt surging over you when that love dissipated everything negative in your mind and heart. In all of that is a truth which cannot ever die. And so you need never feel guilt at all. And the love for a mother is yours, yours alone and that cannot ever die.
  14. RosettaT

    RosettaT Registered User

    Sep 9, 2018
    Mid Lincs
    I'm so sorry for your loss. Be kind to yourself and remember the love and laughter you shared.

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