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Guilt about complicated relationship after Mother’s passing


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I just lost my mother, and our story is complicated.

She was the kindest, warmest, funniest, most beautiful woman there was. She never knew a stranger. On top of that, she was the best damn mom there ever was. I was beyond lucky.

Everything changed the spring of my senior year in High School. My mom had been acting oddly for about a year.... sleeping excessively, staying out later, lashing out over nothing. Then one day I came home and had her best friend tell me that my mom has a drinking problem. It was all over from there.

To keep it short, the next 7 years were a mix of her in rehab but drinking the day she got out, me being 19 and having to go out looking for my mother, staying up all night worrying I would get that call she was gone. My Dad did everything he could to help her, but she was so gone. And she had been so hurtful so many times. They divorced, and she still continued to spiral. She was also a diabetic, and there were about 8 times she went to the ER and no one expected her to live. She would go live with roommates, and when I would visit it was obvious all they did was sit around and drink. I was so so angry and sad at what had become of her and my family. She had cut everyone out of her life.

 In 2011, she had another episode where she should not have lived. She ended up in a wheelchair unable to walk. The silver lining was that she stopped drinking that day. She was mentally back to her old self. But she had caused so much damage. I never had a mom to talk to in college or come visit me. Never to go shopping or get pedicures. Nothing. And now here she was, wanting everything to be fine. I would text her once a week, help her get her groceries, come by for dinner sometimes. I often made plans with her that she would regularly just cancel. She was her old self but didnt go out into the world again like she could have. She also stopped taking care of herself and her health.

 Her little frail body finally gave out on her a few days ago, and she passed in her sleep. I am so riddled with guilt i dont know what to do. There were so many times i could have stopped in or called. I could have stayed longer- I, too, would rush in and out during visits. I wasnt always patient. She would tell me I never reached out and although thats untrue, I could have done more. She could have, too. But I didnt get to say goodbye and I feel like she passed thinking I didnt love her or care, and its eating me alive. I hate that she didnt feel worth enough to care better for herself, and I feel like thats bc I wasnt there more. I hate that she passed alone and I feel like she thought we didnt care. 

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Dear Kk2018,

I am very sorry for your loss. I know its really hard to look back and think about how everything could have been different. Please know you were very young and did the best you could under difficult circumstances. Everything you are expressing is a natural and normal part of grief.

If you want to maybe consider talking to a grief counsellor or joining a support group in the community or through church. It helps to be around others that understand and can offer additional supports.

Please know you are not alone. And we are here with you.

Sending all my thoughts and prayers.

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