I am feeling guilt about my mom passing. I have said some nasty things to her in the past that I am so ashamed of and wish I could undo some how. God, I wish I could have been nicer, done more things for her. Helped her more the nursing home and hospice. Just a ton of stuff I feel I could have done better, been a better son. But now its too late and I pray for her and ask her forgiveness. Any advice?

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Have any of us had these feelings?

Not to be flippant, but have any of us not had these feelings?

As for any advice: one thing I am finding myself doing more and more is recalling all of the other things - a list the size of the index of a small encyclopaedia - that I wish I had not done or said or failed to do or say over the years in all sorts of contexts.

Now this is not an entirely new thought pattern for me. But it is getting a bit ridiculous: these are incidents that really should have been deleted from the working memory forty years ago, not stored away.

If you too are a habitual self-critic, you may find respite and relief in the general confession in the Book of Common Prayer, and especially in the remarks of the Absolution pronounced afterwards by the officiant:

"... We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us.*..."

It is then explained, after some preamble:

"... He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance..."

Note that the prayer is for the gift of true repentance. Not for absolution and peace of mind. First things first, I suppose, is the moral.

This is from the 16th/17th century Cranmer version that I grew up with, so its familiarity is comforting to me, although I can also recommend the poetry of it.

But prayer and meditation in all forms are calming and soothing to the mind; and most schools that I've ever heard of include some method of letting go of what you cannot remedy. So whichever path is yours, I should stick to it. Only, are you praying alone or are you speaking to a minister or joining a congregation? If you feel that you are on your own, please remember that you aren't and you don't need to be.

(*Not, as I misheard it for some years, "there is no helpin' us.")
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Dear Bloom,

I hear you. Please know we are all only human. And even the most patient and understanding person loses their temper. Its not easy being your parent's caregiver full time. Day after day, month after month, year after year. The daily responsibilities will eventually wear anyone down.

I'm still very angry at myself about what happened in the last year of my dad's life. I keep asking myself why? Why didn't I do this? or that? Or why didn't I see that dad was suffering from heart failure? Why wasn't I more aggressive about his care in the hospital? The what's ifs are never ending. I torture myself even though no one blames me.

It was my job to care for my dad. I feel like I failed him because he passed away. People have given me a lot of kind words. The hardest part is putting them into action. I need to change the narrative. I need to be kinder and gentler with myself. I need to tell myself I loved my dad and I did my best. I hope if I can keep doing this over and over again, then maybe some day I will believe it and you will too.
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I absolutely have regrets about some things that were said after I moved in to help my Dad. It was very difficult for me to have to be there helping with every single thing he did. He could make his own breakfast, until I moved back in. He could get his clothes into the washer and dryer, until I moved in. He couldn't get in or out of the shower, the two steps up or down in the garage to the car, without me holding and steadying him. Of course, if I was gone, he could zoom down the stairs to smoke, get his own ice cream, or make a sandwich, get out to the car and go for a quick drive. Then suddenly helpless again when I returned. It builds resentment and it boiled over a couple times. Definitely regret it.
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Bloom I think many people have regrets after a loved one dies. It is not something you can undo. What you can do is look at some of the incidents and see if you feel they were justified. I realize she was dieing but at the same time she must have provoked some of the things you feel bad about.
Be kind to yourself and remember the good times and the fine things you actually did do for her. Be there for anyone else you know who is caring for a loved one so they don't get overwhelmed and say things they don't mean. You have the experience now to help others.
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Sure we all feel that way, but it is important not to second guess yourself. You did the best you could with all the strength you had. No one could ask for more than that.
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