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ELiz

Dealing with Guilt

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I posted in here shortly after the death of my mother. She passed away unexpectedly and healthy on December 19th.  Since then I've dealt with every known emotion. One of the ones that's killing me the most is guilt. I tried my best to be the best daughter most of the time and I believe I brought my mother lots of happiness. However I'm left with the guilt of I could have been a better daughter. I could have called her and visited her more often. We talked on the phone about once every week.  On rare occasions it would be every other week depending on how busy life was. Then I would see her in person about 1-2 a month. We only live about 20-30 minutes away from each other but I've worked Monday-Friday 8-5 shifts for a while leaving little time after work for family obligations. Then weekends were consumed by chores, errands and family time with hubby and kids and occasional hangout with friends.  Yet now I can remember many time I could have set more time to call and visit her.  Especially considering how lonely she was the last few years post her retirement. Now I would drop everything in a heartbeat to spend so much as a second with her. I'm so mad at myself for always having something more "important" to do or being too lazy to drive over to her house on a weekend I just wanted to veg out at home. Little did I know my time with her was coming to and end and now there's nothing I can do about it. How do I not let this guilt eat me up inside?

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Dear Eliz,

My deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of your beloved mother. I think everything you are saying is normal after one's parents passing. I too have the same feelings of guilt and I saw my father every day. I think the shock of losing my father has almost been too much to bear. Please be kind to yourself. You loved your mom and did the best you could. Us women have so much on our plates. And try to balance all our commitments the best we can. Everything is always 20/20 in hindsight. I know everything is easier said than done, but guilt is part of the grieving process. I would try to put it aside and try to replace those thoughts with the happy moments spent with your mom. Thinking of you. Sending you lots of love and hugs.

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Thank you Reader for responding. I'm terribly sorry for your loss. Thank you for normalizing this guilt. I knew this was part of the process but I assumed it wouldn't be as much if I had seen/talked to her more often. You saying you felt guilt despite seeing him everyday made me feel better in ways you don't know. I guess guilt is there no matter the circumstances prior to the passing. Once again thank you and hope you are doing as best as you can since your father's passing. You'll be in my prayers. 

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Thank you ELiz for your prayers. Its true. I think guilt and regrets are part of everyone's journey after a major loss. We all torture ourselves with the could of, should of and would of and what-ifs. Its been three months since my dad's passing and still wish I could have done something different. I took our last year together for granted. Even though my dad was getting weaker and weaker, I never allowed myself to think he would ever pass. I know life is never perfect but I badly want to go back in time. I guess all I can do now is try to honor my dad's memory the best I can. Take care Eliz. I hope we can take comfort in knowing we loved our parents and they loved us.

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Dear ELiz, 

I am sorry you are feeling overwhelmed by guilt concerning your mother's passing and whether you could have spent more time with her . It is a difficult thing when we look back and see missed opportunities to be with loved ones . Perhaps you feel the way King David of Israel felt at Psalms 31:9,10 which says , " Show me favor , O Jehovah for I am in distress. Anguish has made my eyes weak , my whole body as well . My life is consumed with grief and my years with groaning . My strength is waning because of my error ; my bones grow weak . " 

I also had weekly calls with my mother and eventually she lived with us at the onset of her demetia. There are times I thought she was being difficult on purpose . I didn't know it was her demetia and I would be frustrated . It is very hard for me to excuse my poor behavior but at the same time, I have to give myself some special consideration . As wives, mothers, and caregivers, we are usually the last ones to be cared for . It is easy to become exhausted and the need to recharge is so vital . I'm sure your mother appreciated all you did for her and she would have wanted you to enjoy having an outing with friends or even some time to yourself . 

I know for me , I would beg to have another day with my mom , even one of her worst days , just to be in her company . The best way I know how to cope with the guilt is by praying for stability and to reassure myself that my mother would not have blamed me for caring for myself and my immediate family . 

May you have peace -both of mind and heart 

Sincerely,

Frances

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