I didn't recognize mom had a stroke and postponed immediate care. Then my mother passed away in a nursing home. How can I cope with guilt?

Asked by

My mom passed away at 88-years-old in January in the nursing home. I'm feeling guilty that I didn't recognize she had a stroke and that I postponed immediate care. How can I cope?

Answers 1 to 9 of 9
Top Answer
Dear Anne,
You mustn't feel guilty about something you were not aware of. Please try to realize: YOU were not in control of your Mother's life. Something bigger than you and I put together is.
Lot's of things happen in life, and whether we are there or not, outcomes are different. I'll bet other people have had the same kind of stroke, did get immediate care, and still passed on--because it was THEIR TIME. Lots of awful, random things happen to people at different ages, and they live. Seemingly harmless accidents happen to others and they die.
Who is to say?
Life is NOT fair, no way, and there is NO rhyme or reason. Maybe someday we will "zoom out" into space, and look down onto this giant Board game and see the pattern.
For now, if one has faith, it can help. Faith, and trust that somewhere in time it will all make sense.
Take it easy and Carry On!
Love and Hugs, Christina
The part of you that feels guilty is the part that wants to feel like it's possible to be on top of whatever happens in our lives. And we wish we could be on top of whatever happens because that would make life less scary. So pay attention to the feelings of fear and the feelings of desire for the ability to steer things. If you listen compassionately to those in yourself, they will release a little of their grip and the guilt will ease up too.
Anne, there could be all different signs of a stroke or possibly no visible signs at all and unless you are a qualified health-care professional, the signs can surely be missed - even by professionals. My cousin had a stroke in a hospital and it was quite a while before the staff realized it. Obviously you were there for your Mom and that's what counts. I have always felt guilty for leaving the hospital room and my cousin passed away while I was gone for a while but the nurses told me that sometimes the person dying wants to make it easier on their family and sometimes wait until the family leaves the room. They said it is quite common so at least that made me feel better. I do believe things happen for a reason and someday it will all be known to us. Take care and God Bless!
Even getting to the hospital quickly is not a guarantee of survival or of a quality life if she had survived. My mother got to the hospital within three hours put still has vascular dementia and a weakened left side (she had passed the whole SMILE stroke test and only took her to the hospital when we erealized she couldn't get out of her chair) . It's the choices she made before the stroke that led to the stroke in the first place (food choices, not exercising and not taking all her meds because she thought it was making her lose her hair). We can't control an other person's life or the choices they make. I know I don't want my kids telling me how to live. I'm sure you love your Mother and miss her, I miss the person my mother was, but I also believe she doesn't want you blaming yourself. Sometimes it's just time, I know I would rather go all at once than in pieces. Take comfort in her love for you and place the rest in God's hands. Wish you peace.
I hope the previous answers helped you Anne, as much as they did me. Last June my Mom called me (we live 3,000 miles apart) and complained about being heavy headed and a few other symptoms that pointed to a possible stroke of some type. I had her hang up and I dialed 911 for her cause she didn't want to do it herself but she was really scared. Even with immediate hospitalization, she suffered aphasia (speak problems) and cognitive dementia and severe short term memory loss. She has never fully recovered. and now must reside in a nursing home. I can see now that no matter how much I want to make it better and make her happy, I cannot. I pray a lot, I keep in touch with the nursing home and take comfort in knowing that she is safe in this environment. Don't beat yourself up. There are just some things in life that we cannot control and as others have so expertly said, someday, we will know all the answers. Now is not the time for us to know. When I finally came home from being with her for several months, I called my own physican and had a heart to heart chat about my own mental health. It helped a lot to talk with a good listener. Hugs.
Anne, I'm very sorry for your loss and certainly the inner turmoil you are going through. My heart goes out to you.

There are three aspects of dealing with things of this nature we must contend with. Forgiving others, self and God...else the inner turmoil escalates - even though such might not be consciously known because it is occurring in our subconscious.

With respect to forgiving self, Christina (as well as the others) started you on the right track. The idea is that we do what we are able and recognize most things are beyond our control. (as Always stated) That's where Jesus and His 'yoke' come in. Just as you with a tiny baby don't want that baby to suffer emotionally, so too with God and you. Give to Him what He desires of you... the burdens you carry. Especially those that you just can't do anything about, anyway.

My best...

V
Dear Anne and JRW,
Yes, I hope the messages of love and encouragement from all of us here will sink in. You are still grieving, Anne--JRW, too, for the Mom you knew before--so the feelings are a part of that. Bargaining, or negotiating, the 'what ifs' that go along with our immediate denial that 'it just can't possibly be' are normal stages of grieving. You will move past your doubt in time, and I hope you will be gentle with yourself, and believe US--because we would not lie to you.
God Bless You Both.
Love and Hugs, Christina
I am sorry to hear of your Moms stroke. I look at it differently. Why didnt the Nursing Home know is #1 and #2 if your Mom received help, what would her quality of life have been afterwards. I know myself, or my Mom, would rather go to heaven than live being paralyzed or in horrible shape from a stroke. Being in a NH her quality of life was already diminished and to stay there even sicker? Do you understand what I mean? Maybe its a blessing she passed before she got worse or went into a coma for many months, I am so sorry, take care.
Call hospice and ask for information on grief counseling. They do an excellent job of helping people get through this time. Most people feel that they didn't do the right thing or didn't know the right thing to do. Please call them and go for the counseling. You will be so glad that you did. I am so sorry for your loss. It takes a while for the sad and hurt in your heart to melt. Talking about your loss with others will eases the pain.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support