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Feeling guilty about my feelings...

Tigger82
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2012

My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer on my 29th birthday. On her birthday, she had a port put in and started her first round of chemo and radiation. During this time, she stayed with my sister who is a stay at home mom and lives about 10 minutes from the cancer center. She stayed with her during the week and came home (about 45 minutes away) on the weekends. This went on from mid March until July 4th when she decided she wanted to come home. I was working a full time and a part time job at that time. My full time job allowed me to work from my parents house to take care of my mom and take her to her appointments and treatments (which is a 45 minute commute each way) every other week. The week before mothers day, my mom decided to stop treatment, go on hospice and allow the cancer to take it's toll. Being that my mom was a nurse, she does not accept help from hospice on much except for the nurse to take care of her pills and take vitals and blood work. Since then, I have lost my job, lost my boyfriend of 2 years (who couldn't handle the stress of my situation), my dad was laid off, and I'm now trying to find a night shift position so I can afford to take care of my mom during the day (which is her request). I'm starting to really get depressed, but can't show my mom any of this. I feel guilty because my mom is going through so much and fighting so hard and I don't feel like I will ever be half the woman she is. She was given 6 months to live and has been fighting like a champ for 20 now. She has such a big heart and the stress that my family has endured during this time is horrible. My dad and I have had to stick together through this. We have realized who we can really rely on. It's really sad how tragedy really brings out peoples true colors.

My question for everyone is... What do I do? How can I deal with things better? I don't like taking medication. I work out 5 days a week (I'm a water fitness instructor and teach private swim lessons). I have very few friends who have stuck by my side through this. I have trouble sleeping because I'm afraid I won't be available if my parents need me. I'm just having a really hard coping with everything and don't know which direction to take.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

First, dump the guilt. From what you have written it would seem that you are doing the best you can and that's the most you can expect from yourself. You are grieving now for the life you expected, the loss of a boyfriend and a job. We are often really hardest on ourselves. Your father needs to step up, too. I'm sure he is already helping, but you may need to let him know you can't always be there during the day. Also, your mom may need to accept more help from hospice. Have a family meeting. Maybe your sister can help out once in awhile, too. Oh, and you have a right to your feelings. After all, they are your feelings. It is ok to have them. Just because your mom is on hospice doesn't mean you aren't supposed to feel. Know, too, that caregivers usually feel some guilt. There are always those woulda, coulda, shouldas. None of us is perfect. Cut yourself a break. Take care of yourself, too. Fay

Noellesmom
Posts: 1293
Joined: Aug 2010

Two qualities a caregiver would have said before their journey they weren't sure they had. Some of the friends and family who have dropped by the wayside aren't heartless or thoughtless: they don't know what to do or are waiting to be told what would be useful. No one likes to feel as though they are a spectator to a family loss.

Tell people what you need. Verbalize it, write it down, show them a list. If all you need is a phone call to talk things over, pick up the phone and call them. Invite people to come have a cup of coffee or tea with your mom, even if she doesn't do those any more.

Get people, good people who mean well, in the house. Privacy seems like a good thing and can be: isolation is not. Invite people over. You need people.

Sleeping - go to sleep, Tigger. You won't sleep through anything important.

Hospice - your mom may not need their services but YOU do. Have someone sit with your mom while you take a walk, go outside in the yard - which direction to take? You have that. You go forward because you can't go back, Tigger.

You are being too hard on yourself in many ways. You are only human. Embrace that and all the foibles and dependence on others that it brings.

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