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Serious Guilt Trip

MAMcIntosh's picture
MAMcIntosh
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2013

I know no one really has all "the answers," but it never hurts to see if anyone can relate and provide some advice.

We brought Mom home on hospice last week.  She went in the hospital late last month for the NINTH time in the past 8 months, and there is nothing more that can medically be done.  They did offer to try some other treatment, but they said it would at most prolog her life just a bit.  She decided to forego that and go o hospice.  Just a short note about us.  I am the "baby" of the family - yougest of four.  Though I wasn't "spoiled," I was certainly a "mama's boy" growing up and we have always been extremely close.  My sister set up a room at her house for Mom to move into last week with a hospital bed, oxygen, etc.  The hospices nurses and home health visit every day.

I was there last weekend.  Sunday night, before I had to head back (I live two hours away), I laid on the bed beside Mom.  I'm a grown man, but it was just like being a child again.  She held me, stroked my hair, kissed my forehead, and we talked for about an hour and a half.  I know, a grown man in his 40s, that sounds ridiculous I guess.  But we, not just me, I think really needed that.  I think we both knew we were saying goodbye.

My sister asked if I am going back fro Mother's Day.  She knows about that night and actually suggested that - given that Mom is not eating and barely drinking, sleeping a lot now - I should leave it at that.  I hate to say it, but that's what I want to do.  But at the same time, I feel very selfish if I do that.  I feel like I should be there with her, holding her hand if possible, as she passes.

Also, when Dad passed, I certainly grieved a lot but not nearly as bad as I am with Mom.  I well up with tears at the thought of her, and I feel like (I know this sounds stupid) that I somehow was "unfair" in my grief for Dad.  Like I said, I know that sounds stupid, but it's how I feel.  Just a lot of guilt wrapped up in all of this.

Finally, and this is the part that REALLY kicks the guilt in, there are times that I think we all wish the process would move faster.  I love my mother very, very much.  And yes I want the suffering to stop quickly.  But it's not just that.  It's also the emotional toll it's taking.  But I step back and think wait, what does that say about me?  I want her to hurry up because of that?  REALLY!?  But I don't mean it that way.  I would much rather she would miraculously get up and start recovering, which isn't going to happen.  I don't know, it's difficult to explain.

And to top all of this off, I myself have to go in for more testing next week that could possibly be not so good news.  I have not and do not intend to tell Mom about this.  That serves no good purpose.  If there is anything beyond all of this, I hope she forgives me and understands.

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

First, as you know from the title of your post, you are on a guilt trip of your own making. All of the thoughts, fears and even the guilt you expressed are very common and very "normal." Your grieving has begun. Don't feel guilty. We each have to grieve in our own way and that changes as we face more loses during our lifetime. Each lose also brings back all those other loses. Your relationship with your mother is different than the one you had with your father, so it is natural for the grief to be different. That doesn't mean you loved him any less. Different isn't bad. It is just different. 

Now, the feeling that you want your mothers's dying process to speed up is natural, too. When my husband went on Hospice, I prayed for a quick, peaceful passing. Although I wasn't in the room when he passed, I had said my goodbyes. My sons think he chose to go when I wasn't physically in the room. Who knows? your mother doesn't have to forgive you. She knows you love her. She knows you are hurting. She loves you, too. A warning, though. You may think you are ready for her death, but we are never really ready. I'm sorry you, your mother, and your family are going through this. It is very hard. There is no right or wrong way to feel. As one of my friends whose husband and daughter are both dealing with cancer says, "It is what it is." My thoughts are with you. Fay

Ladylacy
Posts: 464
Joined: Apr 2012

Your mother is very blessed to have you for a son.  I have four sons and I don't think any would do as you have done or spoken as you have done.  In fact I know they wouldn't.  Right now their father is dying of cancer and it seems like they are all too busy with their own lives to call or come see him. 

As far as feeling guilty because you wish the process would speed up, NO you are not guilty.  I remember when my mother was dying, my wish was that it would be fast and no pain.  That is the hope for my husband.  Right now he is doing fairly good but I can see the changes and know that his pain is getting worse but he won't admit anything.  I think we all wish (for our loved ones suffering) what you wish for your mother, just that many won't say it.   I also question why anyone has to suffer so.  It is hard regardless and I wish for you and your family much peace.

 

Deborah J Cornwall's picture
Deborah J Cornwall
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2013

You are being a loving son and also are being realistic about what has been happening to her. Your being there more often won't change the outcome, but neither will your feeling guilty about not being there. Right now you have an important task to take care of your own health. Your sister is apparently being very understanding and supportive, and in that you're very fortunate.

Your wishing the rapid end of your mom's suffering, and yours, isn't a bad thing; it's a reflection of how much you care for her. Your grieving has clearly begun, and that's what's triggering your guilt, I think. Perhaps you might want to take out some photos of your mom when she was well, perhaps with you and your sister, and try reviving your memories of those good times. What's important is that you be able to remember her as the healthy and caring mother who inspired so much love in return. She'll soon be out of her pain, but she knows you were there to comfort her, and that was a true gift.

sharpy102's picture
sharpy102
Posts: 337
Joined: Apr 2009

I am sorry to hear what you are going through. ..it's a big battle that no on will able to give advise. Why? Because while lot of people understand what you are going through (I do too- I've been there) these are the choices you have to make. I don't know what you did, whether you ended up going back on Mother's day, but....my suggestions, put aside your "selfishness" and just be with her. And here, I'm not insulting you when I say selfishness (hence I put it in quotation mark)! But living later on for th rest of your life with the regret of not being there for her because you had a hard time will eat you up in th long run. Be with her. This way, in the future, you'll be "better" off even though right now it's hard, and plus, your Mom will be grateful for having you there until her last minute. Be with her! I was with my Mom 24/7, and it was both physically as well as emotionally draining...and yes, I had moments when I caught myself wishing this whole thing to be over, but as soon as I thought that I felt disgusted at myself. Then I battled that if I want her to be here long that means I'm selfish and want her to stay and suffer. It was a huge battle. A huge one! But looking back now, I'm glad I was there for her. And I would do it again and again. I know now I would have never ever forgave myself if I was not there for her. And I know that in her heart she was very very very happy that I was with her. It won't be an easy battle....and you'll have to fight in a way that you don't show it to your Mom. I'll be thinking of you and if feel like it, you can always send a PM, or a regular message. Everybody, as well as myself, are here to help you, and everyone!! Take care of yourself....and your Mom!

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