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Guilt over my moms death


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My mom passed a little over 2 weeks ago. She was only 61. I could write a novel to try to explain the events leading up to her death, and the complications of our relationship. But I will try to keep from rambling on.

I am feeling major guilt over my moms death. I feel this way, because I feel that her death was preventable. Tracing back 20 years, her mother died of pancreatic cancer at 64. My mom was extremely close to her mom, and she very angry after her death. My father said she became depressed and never really found a way out.

Meanwhile, I was 13 when this all happened. I was very upset when my grandmother died, but I was too young to have the insight into what my mom was going through and did not see that she had become depressed. This is on top of the fact that I was a teenager and starting to pull away from my parents. My mom tried to attach herself to me and was a but overbearing, in retrospect. I am an only child, and have always been the center of her world. She was an amazing, giving, loving mom. But as a teenager, all I wanted was space. I imagine this didn't help with my moms depression. We didn't have a bad relationship whatsoever, but I can't say we were extremely close.

I went to college and beyond... Moved to NYC to try to start my career, moved back to my hometown, went back to school, met my husband...... My mom was always my biggest supporter, but always pretty smothering. Calling me at least once a day and complaining I didn't call her enough, buying furniture for my new apartment without consulting me first, sending me 20 emails in one day with links to job postings. It always frustrated me that she wanted to do everything for me and wasn't taking care of herself.

My mom was always overweight and kept gaining over the years. Everything took a turn for the worst when she had a stroke. Apparently she hadnt been to the doctor in 25 years and had type ii diabetes. We were devastated. But she was lucky. The worst that had happened was that she lost her balance. My dad and I were encouraged that maybe this was the wake up call she needed. It had the opposite effect and since the stroke 6 years ago, she has been in a downward spiral. I started by wanting to really encourage her. Finally opened up and told her I needed her... To be there for my wedding (which was a few months after the stroke), for when I had kids. I was shaken up and wanted to be there for her.

I began to get frustrated fairly quickly. My mom wasn't being consistent with things she needed to do to take care of her health. Didn't want to continue doing physical therapy. Began going out of the house less and manipulating everyone to come to her all of the time. She had a lot of pride and didn't want anyone to see her as a cripple with a cane or walker. So she refused to use one. So she just hid and stayed in the house. I tried several times to get her out and to do family events out of her house. Every time I tried, she got upset with me. It was a tough balancing act.... I had a new family, too, who wanted to do things outside of my parents house.

I'm sad to say our relationship just never improved, and we never got close, even after I had my 2 daughters. I always told myself I should try to open up more to my mom. All she wanted was to be close to me. I don't know why... I could never be brave enough to sit down and just open my heart. I knew she needed it. But I didn't know where to start. And I was so frustrated with her. Her health just kept deteriorating. I thought my daughters would be a new motivator for her. She loved them so much. They were her world. But I had to bring them to her. She never saw them in my house. They are only 3 and 1 now, and it wasnt easy on me the past few years. I would try to bring them to her as much as I could, and it wasn't easy... but it never felt like enough. She was so deeply unhappy and in such bad health and it was a hard thing to watch. She was in such a dark dark place and it seemed like she was just waiting to die.

Her death wasn't a huge shock to me, but I keep telling myself... If I knew, deep down, how fragile her life was...... Why didn't I do something more? She told my dad she refused to see a therapist, but why didn't I push her to see one? Why didn't I tell her I loved her more, and appreciated her? She did so much for me. I tried to help her when she had the stroke, but she resisted, and I never forcefully spoke with her about her health since.. Almost 6 years. In the last couple of years, when she was just so sad and housebound, I did finally start calling her every day, like she had wanted for so long. We talked about my daughters. But I felt myself losing her day after day, week after week. I felt like I lost her way before her death.

But now, it all feels so permanent, and there's so much I wish I did differently. Nothing I did was with I'll intentions. My mom wasn't an easy person to deal with. But she was a good person, and she loved me so much. And I feel like her ending was just so sad. She probably felt like a failure. All she wanted was a close bond with me like she had with her mother. I just wish I could go back in time and change it all.....

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Hi Rachellelaura


I am so sorry for the loss of your mom.  One thing you said really jumped off the page for me ... "it all feels so permanent."  I lost my mom almost a year ago and I carry that feeling as well.  It does sound like you were a good loving daughter.  You told her that you needed her to be there for your wedding and when you had kids.  That is a HUGE testament to how important she was to you.  It sounds like your mom didn't feel well for awhile and I know it is hard to see people we love reject the help that is out there but you respected her and didn't push her to do anything she didn't want to do.  You mention how you tried several times to get your mom out to do family things, that is another testament of the love you showed her. 


I also went through some guilt in losing my mom.  I felt that I could have done more as well.  I believe that our mom's knew that we did our best and that is why they loved us so much.  One thing that will crush our spirit is guilt and I worked hard to kick that feeling to the curb.  I finally got rid of it in looking at my blessings rather than wondering what more I could have done.  I was blessed to have her for as long as I did ... blessed to have her for my mom ... blessed that she was there for me all my life ... even when I was a rebellious teenager and a know-it-all young adult. 


Please take care and kick that guilt to the curb!

Cindy Jane

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I last Saturday I lost my mom, I to understand the guilt of wanting to have done more... Every part of her death haunts me... I feel like I'm going crazy. And I'm so angry at her. I to have a young child, my daughter is 4. She was very close to my mom. It has been very hard on her... People keep telling me one day it will get better. But I feel like that makes me feel worse. I shouldn't be able to feel better. She won't so why should I...

Your in my thoughts and prayers

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