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Will the guilt ever go?

Discussion in 'After dementia — dealing with loss' started by LIZ50, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. LIZ50

    LIZ50 Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    It's four weeks since I lost mum and still the guilt haunts me. I really don't know why as, deep down, I know I did everything I possibly could for her giving up my job and becoming her full time carer. If I talk to anyone about how I'm feeling they look at me in amazement and tell me that I have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about and whilst I know that it makes sense I still can't erase these horrible guilty feelings.
    I keep thinking I should have done this with her,that with her, I should have been more patient, why couldn't Mum see that I was doing it because I loved her and somehow I'm struggling so hard to find the good memories at the moment, even though, in my saner moments I know that Mum had a good quality of life up till the end and there were many good moments. Will this pass? Is it part of grieving? I am an only child and find it hard as I want to talk about mum but I can't keep bothering the family as they get concerned about upsetting me, but surely that's part of being able to heal?
    Everything goes around in my head (especially her last few days and I can still see her lying in the bed just after she had gone) and it seems as though I'm holding on to myself inside as my emotions are so near the surface although nobody would know as I appear so strong to everybody else but I feel as though I'm not getting over this as well as I should be.
    I can't even think about getting a job yet as I don't want to be around people who don't know my situation and yet, in reality, this would probably be the best option for me but, at the moment, it's just too hard.
    Will these feelings pass? I'm hoping that there's somebody out there who can tell me that this is all a part of grieving and that I will move on because I really don't want to feel like this and I'm sorry for posting this but I really need some advice.
    Love Liz xx
  2. citybythesea

    citybythesea Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    coast of texas

    Liz, I do understand how you feel. Mom died just a few weeks back (June 7). I have my moments that I feel the same way, tho I may have an edge. I don't know if you took care of your mom and immersed yourself in learning all you could about AD. I'm going to guess not. I was told early on that the more I knew the better prepared I would be. I think they may have been right.

    My mother was my right arm when she was healthy. She was my confidante for years until this disease took over. I used to disappear to her house just to talk. (We lived next to each other.) Mom went alot and over the years I learned alot about my mother. I grew to like the woman who made my life difficult as a teen. I finally understood her only after she got AD. These past few weeks have been hard..writing thank you's and getting her estate in order. (something I have bee tryiong to do for 5 Years.) I have a brother....but he was not around for her disease and still does not talk of her. After the funeral we gathered (as a family) at my house and I felt so bad for my neice (she was born after my brothers marriage fell apart and her mother was good an emotionally manipulating her in youger years, about us) I went to my moms cedar chest and took out her "love letters" from my dad. The girls (my neice, daughter, sil and myself) learned how my father loved her almost immediately. We got to the point we would know how the next letter would begin. My neice took home a part of her grandmother and grandfather knowing how the love existed. (I did'nt find the letters my mother had wrote until after they had left) She looks forward to reading those now. My brother was quite upset with me for reading their "personal thoughts"...."my mother kept those and she knew someone else would read them someday" is what I told him. He is supposed to execute the will..but I will being doing it as he does not know what is going on and has already faux pauxed by letting it slip his wife would do it not him. I told him I would do it as I am next in line if he's not going to do it.

    the point being what you are going thru is natural. Each person grieves in his own way. Some longer than others. Some barely at all. It will take time and it will happen. Just realize that death is a natural part of life. If you can't find the good memories...seek them out. I know it may sound foolish, especially since you have probably had to write her obituary recently...but sit down and rewrite it...write all the good things about her and then elaborate on them. I think once you start looking for the good memories they will flood you with warmth.

    If you need to talk and can't find someone....just type away that's what we're here for..we do listen.


  3. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Liz, love, you've answered your own question before you've even started!:)

    You know you did everything possible for your mum.

    But you're also right, that the feelings of guilt are a normal part of grieving. Your mum is dead, but you are alive, and perhaps beginning to find some pleasure in life? So you feel guilty.

    But isn't that exactly what your mum would have wanted? Would she want you to be miserable? I'm guessing that she'd want you now to start thinking about yourself, and what you are going to do with your life now.

    Not rush out and get a job, you're not ready for that, but start to think positively about the future.

    Yes, it's perfectly normal, and yes, the feelings will begin to lessen. You know you did a good job; keep telling yourself that, and try to remember all the good things you did for her, the days out, the special treats. Remember how happy they made your mum.

    Yes, it is too hard. You need time to come to terms with losing your mum. You'll know when you're ready.

    Please don't apologise for posting, that is what this section is for, and many of us know exactly how you are feeling just now.

    Post as often as you like, and if you'd like to talk over your feelings, either Samaritans or Cruse will listen. You don't have to be suicidal to ring samaritans, and Cruse is not just for people who have lost a partner. Why not give them a try?

    Love and hugs,
  4. Katie Malarkey

    Katie Malarkey Registered User

    Mar 29, 2008
    Hello Liz,

    I lost my mam recently too (4 June, just a few day's before Nancy lost her mom) and am also an only child, so can understand what you're saying, you're not alone in feeling incredible guilt!

    Like yourself, even though i know i tried my best for mam, really, it's feel's like i'm not happy unless i'm punishing myself for times i'd been nasty to her, or got angry with her (especially when i was getting so frustrated that she wouldn't eat or drink), and how i wish i hadn't left the room when the carer's changed her for the very last time - because when i went back in, she'd already stopped breathing. Although you know guilt is destructive, i think it's part of the grieving process unfortunately :eek:.

    This is what i'm trying (which seems to help for me!): whenever i have a 'guilt trip', first i let it happen and cry for what i should have/could have done differently - but then force myself to also remember one of the many 'good' things i did for my mam. Every 'guilt' thought has to be accompanied by a 'good' one. Worth a try?

    Thinking of you,

    Katie x

    The song has ended.... but the melody lingers on.
  5. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Katie, what a good tip!

    Thank you for sharing it!:)

  6. twinone

    twinone Registered User

    May 19, 2008
    Hi Liz

    I understand how you are feeling. I lost my husband 8 months ago and sometimes feel guilty for the times I lost patience with him because he couldn't do something. I so much regret those times and think about them often. But I also know how much we loved one another and I know I did everything I could for him 24/7.

    I am still seeing the Admiral Nurse who came to see me when Steve came out of hospital and she says that these feeling's are normal and that I couldn't have done any more for him (as I am sure you did for your mum)'

    I went back to work for a few hours each day 5 months after Steve passed away. I was also frightened of going and thought that people would be staring at me knowing that I had lost my husband. My manager came to see me at home beforehand and said that everyone was looking forward to seeing me and to only do as much as I was able to.

    I am glad that I plucked up the courage to go back to work as it gave me something else to think about and also have some company. I also meant that I had to get made up and ready every day which also made me feel more like me. ( Steve would have hated to see me how I was in the first few months because I had always looked after myself.

    I am still grieving badly and still cry every night when I come home from work to an empty house but I know that I have to try and make a life for myself.

    I know everyone is different and that you will do what feels right for you but just wanted to let you know my experience.

    Best Wishes

  7. LIZ50

    LIZ50 Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my posting and giving me reassurance that the guilt is a part of the grieving process and that I'm not alone in feeling this way.
    I guess, in a way, I was thinking that after 4 weeks I should be feeling better but now realise that until after the funeral I didn't really have time to think about things so, in reality, I'm trying to hurry things along and, as I've been told, you can't do that with grief. When I lost Dad to cancer, it didn't seem so hard because Mum and I were always there to back each other up and share those precious memories but the memories of Mum are mine alone.
    Katie, I will give it a go putting a good thing after the guilt one and thank you for that suggestion.
    I also know that I have to stop punishing myself and as the song goes 'always look on the bright side of life' but, for now, it will be one day at a time.
    Love Lizxx
  8. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    HI lIZ50
    Next Tuesday it will be one year since my darling Peg died,and I am still grieving.
    I have so many regrets and I wish I could have just ten minutes with her to apologise for loseing my temper with her,and speaking sharply to her at times.
    I know I can't but I too follow the idea of following the regrets with thinking of some happy memories,I find it works.
    Liz you are not alone,It has been said to me that it gets better,I don't believe it does, I believe it gets different
  9. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Norman, it is so good to have your down to earth sense on the forum.

    I will be thinking of Peg and you on Tuesday, as I often do.

    You both shine from the front of the new Talking Point flyer, an inspiration.
  10. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    I do doubt my sanity at times.
    Next Friday July 4th Is the date one year since Peg died!!!
    Thank you Bruce for you kind remarks
    How could I forget American Independence Day.
  11. twinone

    twinone Registered User

    May 19, 2008
    Hi Norman

    I feel exactly the same as you. I remember the times that I lost patience with Steve and really regret those times, I would give anything for 10 more minutes with him.

    I am sure that both your Peg and my Steve would understand and forgive us as it is a very stressful situation to live with.

    I am still grieving and dont feel it gets any easier - I just hope that eventually I will learn to live with it and remember the many lovely memories.

    Take your time and look after yourself.

    I will be thinking of you on the 4th July.

    Love and best wishes

  12. frederickgt

    frederickgt Registered User

    Jun 4, 2005
    My Anna died one week after her 70th birthday(Jan7th)
    Worst thing I ever did was to call for an ambulance when she fell down,at the hospital she rapidly got worse,and I thoughtthey were professionals and she was in good hands How wrong I was.
    Now I look at her empty chair,and yes sometimes I weep.I wish that I had brought her home from the hospital,at least she would have been cared for with love.Not as at the hospital,"not my job" when I asked for her water jug to be filled,or "Ive got ten other patients to care for" when i asked how could she have fallen out of bed. I miss her so much,I hate that hospital.
  13. Kazzette

    Kazzette Registered User

    Sep 11, 2008
    what a relief

    I thought I was the only one who had got frustrated and cross with Mum because she wouldn't couldn't and her behaviour was adding to her demise. I was waiting for Social Services to find out and come take her away from me. It's only been a day but it has been filled with should'as could'as and oh my god why didn't I.....Mayhap I will get some sleep tonight. She was never responsible for her behaviour but I was for mine. I badly need her to tell me that I done good.
  14. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    Kazzette, don't torture yourself ...

    Your Mum wouldn't want that. Of course you lost your temper sometimes, said things you wish you hadn't, thought things you wish you hadn't. Looking after someone suffering from dementia is SUCH a difficult thing to do; there is no 'rule book', no set time-scale for the progression of the disease, very little help or guidance at all. You are trying to navigate with no landmarks, not knowing where you are heading next, not knowing if you are doing 'right or wrong' a lot of the time (There IS NO right or wrong by the way, there's just dreading tomorrow - until it's over, and then you're wishing for yesterday, even though it was awful.)

    You're not a perfect human being, 'cos there is no such animal. You're a daughter doing her best in a no-win situation, as I was, and I too was grumpy, exhausted, frustrated, depressed and hopelessly trying to find answers & solutions which don't exist.

    Be kind to yourself; be proud of yourself for doing a difficult job. Your Mum would want it, and tell you that you deserve it.

    PM me if you want to.

    Best wishes
  15. salacious

    salacious Registered User

    May 25, 2008
    west midlands
    firstly i am so sorry for your loss, as i havent lost my mom yet, i cant understand fully how youre feeling, but i will say this. once the doctor diagnoses a family member with this terrible disease you start to grieve right there and then, whether you know it or not. i think as far as your job goes, there is no real time span for how long you should have off and how long you should grieve, and just because people seem to be getting on with life, they still may be grieving inside. my advice is to talk to people around you, as you have on here. it does help and you will feel that little bit lighter. as with all things time will heal this feeling of guilt, dont let it get you down, your mother wouldnt have wanted you to be like that. just remember you now have a life to live and your mother would most likely have wanted you to live it.

    my thoughts are with you at this difficult time.


  16. olivej

    olivej Registered User

    Mar 13, 2007
    Just tomorrow to get through

    We have to be at the crematoriam at 2:30 tomorrow. My mum was only diagnosed with AD in December 2006, though looking back we should have seen the warning signs. She died 18th Sept. weighing a little over 4st. We never had the best mother/daughter relationship but when things got bad we were there for each other. She never wanted children and was I made to feel it at times!! Like others I think did I do the right things? Should I have put her into a residential home-yes, it was for her own safety-she was found on more than one occasion running up & down the embankment in London in her nightie shouting abuse at the No 24 buses as they went by. The district nurses even found a man asleep on her sitting room floor, she had no idea who he was. Then there was the setting fire to her food, phone calls very 2 minutes day and night....the list is endless.
    I am an only child and I lived 150 miles away so it fell to me. Altough my kids were brilliant. I will miss her dreadfully despite the fact that she could be bloody minded, stroppy and awkward and that was before the AD set in and she only got worse after it had. I am trying to be positive. If she could have seen how she had become she would have commited suicide. The once smart, intelligent woman by January of this year had become the opposite of how she had been. Refusing to wash, eat, get out of bed... yet again the list goes on. What will I do with my weekends now that I do nt have to drive 150 miles up and down the M1. This weekend I'm going to do nothing. Once I get a grip on myself I am going to celebrate no longer being a member of the sandwich generation. The kids have all left home and now I am going for me time.
    I have said no flowers at the funeral but to give donations to the Alzheimer's Society. My daughter has set up a web page. I have sent it to all the people in my email address book. Please feel free and send it to your friends.

  17. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    Dear Liz

    Quite simply, once you've got tomorrow over 'welcome back to the rest of your life'. Well, once you have fought your way out of all the "stuff" that has to be done after someone dies, & after the funeral. It may sound shocking to think that way, but I certainly do!

    My Mum's funeral service was 2 weeks ago, and although I was dreading it, it actually turned out to be quite a healing & pleasant day. At the gathering afterwards, we exchanged tales & memories of Mum (some quite shocking!) and generally resurrected the lively person she used to be, full of ideas and fun. It did me good and I hope you experience a similar feeling.

    Best wishes

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