Fran

Unexpected loss of mother - guilt and anger

5 posts in this topic

My mother passed away recently, she was in her mid 60's.   She had a chronic, progressive illness for 20 years, has been asymptomatic for most of that time but in the last few years had started to decline, have symptoms, hospitalizations and so on and since March has been pretty ill. The writing was on the wall, I should have realized. However, her doctors (she had 4 or 5, all specialists in specific fields) who assured me that this was a "hump", they would "get her over it" and she'd go back to "her normal."  I felt reassured.  This was in May before I left the country for 2 months.  Obviously, this didn't happen. She died alone, in her apartment, in the middle of the night and we don't even know exactly what happened and will never because the ME said no reason for autopsy and my siblings didn't want one and I didn't want to traumatize them more. I am heartbroken.  I keep replaying what could have happened that night and I am terrified she was panicked, in pain, scared, lonely.  Her docs said would have been very sudden and very fast, I want to believe that but I feel anger towards her doctors. I feel they weren't forthright with me.  I would have dropped everything and gone to her.

 

The guilt I have has to do with my mom's living situation.  I had decided to move her in with me next summer, then in June thought to myself, hmmm, I need to move her in sooner (after a procedure that left her feeling scared and fragile). I needed some months to arrange it all, find doctors, etc (I live in another state).  I am so angry with myself I didn't start the process sooner, like last year. She was lonely. My siblings and I are obviously all grown, with busy lives and even if she had lived with my siblings that live in the same state, she would have been alone much of the time. My schedule is more flexible, I work close to home, I have kids, there would have been more activity around her. Her living situation wasn't bad at all, though, she had a very nice apartment in a community of older, retired people with game nights and so on, actually more social interaction there than she would have had with us and with her peers. But of course she wanted to be with loved ones.

I am struggling with this, I feel like everyone let her down, my poor mom. We all thought there was more time. I am so sad I wasn't there every day, sitting  by her, keeping her company.  I am angry with myself that I didn't prioritize her, that I let myself get caught up in my life. In retrospect, I see that she was obviously very ill, there were signs and the doctors were trying to manage the illness and keep her going but it wasn't happening.  

 

 

 

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Dear Fran,

My deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of your beloved mom. I'm very sorry for your loss. I know the pain is deep.

I know you tried to do the best you could for your mom. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at that time. I know you wanted a different outcome. I had a similar situation with my dad. The doctor had told me my dad had 6 months to one year to live with his heart failure but he passed two days later. 9 months later I am still so angry about his final months, weeks and days. I regret so much. And I replay in my mind all the different things I would've have done to help or prolong my dad's life. I saw him every day so I am very angry at myself for not being more aggressive in his care. He depended on me a lot and this why I feel I let him down.

It is a terrible struggle to accept a beloved parent's passing. I have tried many things to help me cope including counselling, support groups and reading different books and websites.

Please know you are not alone. And if you need to talk it through some more, we are all here to listen and support you.

Thinking of you. Sending all my thoughts and prayers.

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Dear Fran,

I am so sorry for your traumatic loss.   I can understand and relate to your anger.  I'm beginning to realise that anger goes  side by side with grief.  Loosing a mother is traumatic.  Mine was in hospital for 6 weeks.  One complication after another.  We never thought she'd die.  She'd improve and then a new issue would arise and that went on for weeks until the week before we were told she would not recover.  She died in hospital from another infection.  I was still traumatised and angry.  The care was not great.  Hospital was massively short staffed we had to be on them all the time.  Your loss is a different kind of pain and trauma.  I'm realising from the posts here, we all have regrets and things we wish we had done differently.  Guilt is horrible.  It adds another layer.  Guilt, anger, regret spin over and over in my mind too 6 months later.

I think if you had moved your mom sooner into your house, the same thing could have happened.  You could have popped to the store, gone to work and the same thing could have happened.  You would feel equally terrible.  Loss is so hard for us to relate to but with a parent/mother someone who has been there all our lives its a loss that is so deep and the many layers of emotions that come with it just seem to go on and on.  If you had a good relationship with your mother most of your life, try to hold onto those memories.  Thats what I do in-between going mad with grief.

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Thank you reader and sadandlost,  it really helps to know that others have experienced something similar. 

Me too!  I never thought she'd die, not anytime soon.  I hate that I didn't see this in time. Part of it was the doctors-they did not give any indication that the end was imminent.  She had a blood disease, sort of a chronic leukemia, and had been getting blood clots in her chest that weren't responding to blood thinners, they kept trying different meds, so that's the situation we were in, trying to keep her stable, get her over this setback and back to her regular self.  

 

I think I had a premonition, looking through my texts, in early June speaking to my aunt, telling her, you know, I think I'll move mom in sooner rather than later, I'll start making arrangements.  Telling my husband, I have a bad feeling,  I shouldn't have left the States.

 

I just wish I had spent time with her and I'm sorry she suffered towards the end (clots were very painful, she was on O2 round the clock).

My mom also suffered from mental illness, bipolar disorder, and was so unhappy much of her life, really since childhood and it just breaks my heart. It's unfair she had to deal with both, she was such a good person, so full of empathy for everyone, especially the marginalized.  

 

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Dear Fran,

I can relate to what you said about your mum suffering with bipolar and being such a good person.  It feels so cruel that someone should have to suffer so long with a dreadful illness.  My mom looked after my dad who had a nervous breakdown when I was a small child and diagnosed with bipolar.  My entire life he made my mom suffer with him.  He was narcissistic and could only think of himself.  He was cruel and abusive and refused medication because of his paranoia.  He made my life hell and her life hell but she was so good she endured the cruelty and tried to protect me as much as possible.  Eventually after 30 yrs of abuse she divorced him.  She suffered from anxiety and depression because of the dreadful situation.  After a few years after divorce my mom had one health issue after another.  Cancer and then many other illnesses.  I too feel she suffered so much in her life, had no real life and then she died.  it breaks my heart too, so I know how you feel.  One is left with so much to carry when they're gone.

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