Filled with guilt for neglecting and mean to deceased father. It haunts me daily.

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Please see a counselor about your guilty feelings. Some guilt is normal. We tend to think back and remember instances where we should have been kinder and more understanding, or more helpful to our parents. However, if you are being "haunted" by these thoughts daily, you really need to talk with someone about it.
Likely, nothing you did or didn't do was that bad. However, even if you really were remiss, you can't go back and change the past. With counseling, you can learn to move forward and maybe make amends by helping some other aging people. Talk it out and see what a counselor recommends. You could start with your spiritual leader, if you'd like. But is this is a serious problem, you may want to see paid counselor for a time. I'm sure you are remembering things worse than they were. You are just human. Take care,
Would you mind sharing with us what situations are causing you to have these thoughts? Why do you feel you were neglectful and mean? Were you verbally abusive, physically abusive, lived out of town and not able to visit as much as you would have liked, placed him in a facility and didn't visit? Were there issues from your childhood you never resolved with your father and had a difficult time treating him with respect?

There are so many levels of guilt we lay on ourselves when we are caregivers. We can't do it all and as Carol said, remember, you are human and we do have flaws. We do the best we can then beat ourselves up because we don't feel we did enough or because we burn out and just plain can't do anymore. There are times we want it all to end so we can have our lives back, then feel guilty for having such wishes. And because we are exhausted and just can't do it any longer, we may not be as wonderful as we would have been if we were not shouldering both physical and financial burdens and mentally going down for the third time. Once it is over, then we remember the good times and tend to forget how awful it was when we were at our wits end and our loved ones were so draining on us. We can only do so much and I am sure your father knew you were doing the best you could psychologically, physically and financially.

We need to be gentle with ourselves and realize we can only handle so much and if it means we were less than what some others would consider perfect, then that is okay too. That doesn’t make us terrible people.

Care giving is one of the hardest things we will ever do in our lives and bless you for doing what you were capable at the time. Be kind to yourself and know there isn’t a one of us here who has cared for and lost a loved one that, that at one time or another, hasn’t felt exactly how you are feeling. This is where we can come to share our deepest frustrations, the feelings that haunt us and know we are not alone. Wishing you peace.
I think it's normal to remember certain things we said/didn't say or did/didn't do to someone who passed on. I've done that even with pets. I had a Love Bird who was remarkable. It had a volcabulary of about 20 words. One problem it would bite. When I let it out of the cage it flew to my shoulder. I thought that was cute until it always tried to bite my ear. When it died I thought I should have been more patient with it. Remember there's nothing that can be done now. I'm sure you did your best. Many times when someone it ill they almost become someone else, someone we don't know. After a while it wears you down and we react. When I get frustrated with my 97 year old father I need to get out, if it's only for an hour. I find myself talking to myself, under my breath, about whatever happened.
I also have taken up knitting again. I call it my therapy. It relaxes me so much that I went online and found out it is theraputic. Something about the eye movement and the concentration. I've been knitting fingerless gloves for relatives and friends, they love them. It works for me. Try to have pleasant thoughts.
If counseling is not your thing, (I say this because it is not my thing), you could try doing something nice for someone else to make up for whatever you thing is so terrible....kind of like a penance. Volunteer at a nursing home, school or homeless shelter. Bake or purchase some cookies and give them to a neighbor who no one ever visits. If you haven't been to church in a while...stop in and light a candle and ask God or whoever you think is in charge, to help you get over your guilt. You can apologize to your father, even though he is gone...just talk to him and cry and say you are sorry. You have to forgive yourself. (((hugs and love))) to you.
Here's a case where grief counseling is recommended. For sure.
It's not all the things that you did; it's all the things that you didn't do. Seek out group counseling, or one-on-one counseling. They say it brings amazing results, relieving the pain of guilt. It's hard to believe, but that's what they say.
my mom has not even passed and I have guilt feelings about many incidents in which I was about totally out of my mind with frustration at not being able to fulfil her needs and her criticising me about it. I too am handicapped and she is 94 in almost last stage of dementia and does not have any understanding of how she has turned my life into torment.

I put her in a nursing home a couple of weeks yet and haven't went to see her one time. I am going to try to go today. Reason? She broke her hip over a year ago and was in rehab at a nursing home and she treated me horrible when I visited or constantly cried and begged to go home. When rehab was over, I thought since she could use walker and potty alone I could do the rest. NOT TRUE. I could not bathe her or wash her hair, she'd fight me as she hated water - when she fell I had to call my son to pick her up as one time I did I HAD TO GO TO DR as I strained my back.

She'd fuss and me and I'd fuss back - knowing she didn't know what she was saying, but it was my only therapy. Many times I wished I'd ignored her or just calmly tried to satisfy her. It's hard to be sweet when you are in horrible pain and nobody gives you any credit for your work.

I've decided no matter what mistakes I've made that I'll forgive myself as I'm only human. I hurt for my bipolar son who tried so hard to help me and he baby sat her so I could get out and he feels guilty about many harsh things he said to her also. I'm constantly telling him how great he was as he was only family member to help me and to not feel guilty.

So all just remember HUMANS make mistakes and must move on and learn from them.
I can certainly relate to all comments written here. I have days, while caring for my mother, when I have so many negative feelings like resentment, bitterness, guilt, and the list goes on. Then there are days when all of these feelings are washed away. I dont like myself much when I feel the negative things, but I do pray to God to deliver me from these feelings and asking for forgiveness from the Lord Jesus does help tremendously. I will admit that my life has its ups and downs while caring for my Mom, but this is where the Lord wants me to be right now and I am very thankful for it, it just takes a lot of convincing of that some days!
Wonderful advice from everyone. Believe me, I don't think any of us can every really do enough -- but if you really had a poor relationship with your father that you wish you could change, counseling can help you understand why you did what you did (there are always reasons) and how you can change. And you can still help other people, or do volunteer work, that will help other people and you too. You can also write your father letters, and apologize, and explain. It may sound odd, but those kind of letters can really help you, even if they will never be delivered. Some people burn the letters after they write them. Please try some of the suggestions you've been offered, and don't keep punishing yourself.
I agree with the suggestion for greif counseling. Being a caretaker of someones father for four years and they seem to be in denial as to what is going on even when it is laid out for them in detail. They need counseling now and will need it when he is gone. He is very hurt but will not disrupt their lives by asking for
the obvious. Love and time.
My mom just recently passed, and I understand the loss. It's easy to blame yourself for everything and thats probably not the case.... If your'e upset that you didn't go see him all the time, that is o.k. Everyone deals with issues differenly. With myself It was hard to go because I blamed the kids, in reality it was really hard to see my mom in that state. And my brother is the same way, so when my mom passed she was alone. I do not feel guilty, because this is how it was supposed to be.

Always have faith in god and you will always be forgiven.... And because you have guilt mean that you were not negletful.....That you still love and will always love your father, even to a certain extent.. It's really hard to deal with these issues and I can understand if you do not want to see a counceler (that's why your posting here) So instead see a priest or pastor.... If you don't have faith now is the time to get some. I hope you feel better and sorry for your loss.

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