I have written several times before about the regret/guilt with which I am paralyzed due to the last weeks of my Mom's life. She had multiple chronic health conditions and was fragile/frail. I extended her rehab due to her needing 2 people to assist 24/7 per her therapists, etc. I had planned on bringing her home, but only had 1 caregiver lined up and the 2 person bombshell changed the plans at the last minute. Though not thrilled, she agreed to 30 days restorative care/pt/ot to see if she could build strength and get to a 1 person assist. She was not thrilled the first few days, but then when the 30 days were up and I was ready for her to come home, she decided to stay another month to continue the progress she was making in therapy. COVID hit - I could not see her...she still wanted to stay unless they had cases there - they never did. During that time she started having stomach/bowel symptoms (increased from prior levels). Her PCP saw her, did blood work, bedside x-ray, etc. - adjusted meds, etc. Misdiagnosed her with an ileus and constipation. Things declined quickly the end of April/beginning of May. After refusing additional diagnostics and refusing the hospital, she eventually agreed to go when the pain became unbearable. At the hospital she was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis and acute decompensated cirrhosis. With her prognosis, pain and other health issues, she ultimately decided on hospice. I was with her at the hospital and during the week in hospice - until she passed away in my arms.
Despite feeling blessed for being with her at the end, my rumination torments me 24/ 7- now affecting all my relationships and my career. I have no peace. Grief counseling, spiritual help, psychiatrist, and medication have still only provided minimal relief form the agony. I constantly ask:
1. Why would I put my sick/fragile mom in rehab rather than just bringing her home as she originally wanted? I could have taken FMLA or a leave of absence and been the "2nd" caregiver...why?why?why did I not. I had taken care of her for 5 years through multiple hospitalizations and rehabs - stroke/heart attack/broken hip/neck.etc. Why would I drop the ball on her care the last 8 weeks of her life????
2. How could I allow her to stay during COVID isolation? Despite the fact that she told me and my family she wanted to stay until she was done her therapy, I should have known she would not do well under those circumstances mentally and physically and MADE her come home. Multiple people talked to her about coming home to me, but she kept saying -not now, maybe in May...I pleaded, begged, explained multiple times why I wanted her home, that I would care for her myself ( with one other set of hands), etc. that we needed to be together, etc, PT was not that important, being home was, etc...but in the end, I still listened to her and did not go get her and MAKE her come home. Why would I do that when I "knew" that was not the right thing...???
3. Before the hospital and hospice, she told me she needed a lot of care - more than I could do at home myself - and that she did not want to argue with me about eating, etc. ( things we fought about when she lived with me) and that if I kept nagging her she would not answer the phone or talk to me...finally, she promised to discuss with me on a "home" date before the end of May ( after more than 20 discussions regarding same).
We never got there - she died 5/26.
The woulda/coulda/shoulda of grief/guilt/regret is more than I can bear -more than I can carry for the rest of my life. I am searching for a way to forgive myself and apologize to my Mom for my bad decisions and lack of appropriate action. If anyone has any ideas on helping me find just a little mental peace, a little self-forgiveness, I would be grateful. I am scared for myself, my mental and physical health ( both are greatly suffering), and the effects on my family. I am a lost soul at this point stuck in negative rumination