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i let my mum alone

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i found this forum yesterday when i searched the internet for death of mother and blaming my self.

I am not an englisch native, so sorry when my writing is not so good.


My mum past away at the 6th of november. She died with 74 years. I am her son 48 years old, i have also a sister with 56 years.The last 8 years i am living in thailand, but i come home to germany every year to my mums birthdays in July. Then i stay average around 6 to 8 weeks to spend time with family and friends.  Mostly  i also come home for christmas, i stayed around two weeks.

At my last visit this year i stayed from 20th of June to 20th of august. A few days before i flew back to thailand, my mum complained about pain in her right arm. So she went to a doctor.I have to say my mum was never really sick in her life, and she never went to a doctor for a check up, even if i suggest her many times. She always waited until it get really worth and she have big pain. So when i was back in thailand my mum gets the results. She had breast cancer,  and have to do a lot more tests. She told me the doctor see also a shadow on her lung. I was scarred as i thought the cancer spread already. Next day she called me again and she said, falls alarm, lung and rest is ok "only" breast cancer and she need to do surgery soon.So my sister brought my mum to hospital and visit her every second day, after 10 days, she came out of hospital and went to her own home again.

We talk a lot by phone and sending messages. She was tiered after surgery but recover soon, and after two weeks she drive car again and made a good impression. I was surprised that she was so strong so fast. But two times she start to cry on phone, and she said she have to stop talk now as she felt tiered. I wonder a bit, coz i thought everything went well with surgery, but may be she is worry that cancer will come back. She said she must go now everyday to hospital for radio therapy for the next 6 weeks, so we made plans for my next visit on christmas in germany which was scheduled from 15th december to 1st january. We continue to talk by phone, she said she was happy and evertyhing went well, and she still have a while to life.

At the 1st of november everything changed, i called her, she sounded weak, she said she not feel well and lost a lot of weight, and she have to go to hospital again at the 2nd of november. I start to feel very worry, and thought about to change my flight from december to november to see my mum more early. I asked my mum about this idea, and she said no no, better come christmas, then i am healthy again. I was not very happy about that answer, but honestly also not disappointed. everything was planded for december, and honestly i thought my mum will not die and the situation is not so serious. At least this was what i want to belief.  On 5th of november my sister send me a message that i should come to germany, situation of my mum is now very bad and it looks not good for her. So 5 hours later i sit in plane and arrived at the 6th in germany at 1pm, a friend picked me up at the airport, and he said that my mum passed away in the morning at 9 am. So i was 4 hours to late. In the afternoon i said good by to my mum in hospital, and the next three weeks i was like in trance. Had to arrange the funeral, clean her condo, do paperworks, and so on.When i cleaned out her condo, i also found the result of her tests. Breastcancer, metastatis in lung and in bones, cancer typ 4, very agressive. The hospital noted on the result, that my mum denied to get a chemotherapy, and she don´t want more test about other metastatis. 

In exactly three weeks  everything was done, and i flew back to my home and my girlfriend in Thailand. During the flight it start already, after all the pressure was gone i cried almost the  whole flight.I start to hate my self, as i let my mum alone in the moment where she really need me. I have no excuse, no explanation why i not go back to germany more early. Why i belief what my mum said about her diagnose, why she not told me the whole truth,  why i not call the doctor in germany by myself and so on. I was all my life there for her, and i support her with many things, but at the most important time i was so selfish and let her alone. This make me sick now, as there is no way to go back in time to see her one last time and talk with her. I don´t know how i can life with that. I absolut underrate the situation and thought everything will went well, and i felt comfortable with that idea. If my mum told me how serious the situation was i would fly of course more early. I even start to hate her for not telling me all, and she brought me now into this situation. To make things more worth yesterday i had a bad fight with my girlfriend. I told her i hate myself, and she said she didn´t also not understand why i not go to germany more early as i have enough time. So it is my fault that i not see here again and let her alone. I asked her why she not talk to me about this situation before, and make me more pressure to go.  So now i am siting her and my thoughts spinning about this again and again, but i didn´t found any help to life with that....Do you think i can life with that guilt in the future?


Thank you for reading










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Dear AlexL,

I'm so very sorry for your traumatic loss.  I'm almost in tears reading.   Of course you can not blame yourself for this.  Your mother didn't tell you the whole truth.  She must have been very scared and tried to protect you.  maybe she was in denial, had not absorbed the severity of her condition in her mind?  Or maybe she was just unable to tell you the truth because it was too painful?  I feel sure from everything your wrote she was trying to protect you.  If you had made the decision to leave sooner, you would not have saved her.  Stage 4 cancer in lung and bones, even with chemo it might have been too late?  The only thing is you missed seeing her before she died.  You did not know!  She did not tell you everything.  had she told you everything, you would have gone immediately and at least seen her before she died but you could not have saved her.  I'm sorry to say this but your girlfriend is very wrong to say what she said.  You need compassion and understanding for the terrible shock you've gone through.  Its very traumatic and life changing.  You will have to live with this terrible loss forever, the last thing you need is for anyone to make you feel guilty that its your fault.  You did not know the whole story.  I'm truly sorry for your loss.

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Dear Alex,

My deepest sympathies and condolences. I am very sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is a terrible shock. We all do the same things and want to go back in time. Please be kind to yourself. Like sadandlost said, you just didn't know. Of course, if you had known you would have flown back earlier. You tried to do what your mum wanted. She said wait for Christmas and you only wanted to honor her wishes. I know its really hard right now. Please know you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings. We are all here to listen and support you in anyway we can.

I have to tell you, my father was a lot like your mum. Never went to the doctor. I could never tell him anything. I tried my best like you do what he wanted.  The day he passed, I had seen him in the hospital. He was terribly weak but I still had the expectation I would see him tomorrow. The doctor told me they believed he had six months. He passed two hours after I left his bedside. I too have terrible guilt about being away. I have to tell you, I was exactly like you, replaying every moment and blaming myself. It takes a lot of time for our minds to work through our deep grief. One year later, there are still times when I wished I did things differently.

I don't know if these services are available in Thailand, but if you want to consider talking to a grief counsellor or joining a support group. I feel it takes a long time to make sense of this moment in life when our parents pass on.

Thinking of you. Sending all my thoughts and prayers.

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