I have always taken good care of and helped my mom. In addition, she stayed with me and my family for months at a time after each of five hospitalizations--2 knee replacements, 2 hip replacements, and a calcium overdose. At her request, I visited assisted living facilities all over our area with her and without her because she lived in a second floor apartment and was having trouble with the stairs.

I chose not to move my mom into our home because I had just finished taking care of my dad with dementia for two years in a nursing home with no help from my other four siblings, and I just felt I couldn't. Also after the hospitalizations, I started getting stressed and snippy with my mom, who could be difficult and judgmental. I was now stressed from the two years with my dad, and felt I couldn't do it at that time--especially with no help from anyone else. We ultimately got her into an assisted living and retired about six months later, just as COVID was becoming known.

My husband and I had been planning to retire out of state, and after settling my mom in her assisted living for about six months, we moved. Before making the move, I checked with my brother who lives in the area and who did her grocery shopping to make sure it was okay to leave, and also my adult daughter assured me she would help her grandma so I should go.

When I was settled for about a month, I started asking my mom to allow me to move her near me, but she kept saying no. Ultimately, she got COVID in the fall of last year and died.

It's been six months and I am struggling and feeling lost without her. I feel so much guilt for not moving her into my home. I was so beaten down by the years with my dad and her, and I was also pulling away from her emotionally and I know she could feel it--I was there when my dad died and the pain was too much. I needed time and thought I would have time to "fix" it all. How do I deal with this pain and guilt?

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Thank you all for your help. Although my mom had me looking at assisted livings, when I could see it was going to become an urgent issue, I told her she needed to pick one and that I didn't want to move her into my house. She said you said you would never put me in one of those places! I told her I didn't remember ever saying that, but that I wanted a life, too. So I have guilt about how upset she was and clearly she didn't want to go to an assisted living.

Also the guilt is about how I was pushing her away when she needed me most. I know now that it didn't help me avoid pain, but that's why I did it and I so regret it.

I am going to try to find a counselor. Thank you all for your help.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JaneE11

Please don't feel guilty. Grief is quite enough for you to bear. Covid was not your fault. It was at her request that you helped her to choose an assisted living situation. You did what you could do and you could not have known the outcome. What happened is horrible, but you did not make it happen. So very sorry.
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Reply to ArtistDaughter

I am sorry for your loss.
People say it all the time don't they? I just looked up the actual meaning of *loss* : the fact or process of losing something or someone.

It IS a process. I don't think it can just switch off after a month, 6 months, a year or whenever. I think it is perfectly OK to feel this loss. To feel sad you miss your Mom.

What can you do to connect to the good memories you have of her?

A friend put a favourite photo where she could see it every day. When she walked past she smiles at her & says Love You Mom.

I'd like to make a pre-retirement move. I'd love to have a small part of the garden with a nice chair & some gentle plants. A peaceful spot to remember those I loved & outlived.

I suspect there are certain personalities that gravitate towards healing & caring more than some other types. They can sometimes feel they must take on care roles or fix things but forget how important self-care is too.

Imagine giving your Mom a big warm hug today. For both of you. Tell her you are sorry, about Covid & about old age. Then ponder what would make you feel peaceful today?
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Reply to Beatty

I believe we all have a certain amount of time here on earth, and when that time is up, it's up. No matter what we do or don't do, if our number is up, we die. If Covid didn't take your mom that day, a heart attack would have; that's how I look at life. If you believe you are responsible for your mother's death, then you are playing God. You made a decision based on lots of criteria; not based on malicious intent. You were tired, you had back up, lots of family were going to help your mom in AL, you made a reasonable, lucid decision which was not wrong. Hindsight is always 20/20 and the 'should haves' and 'could haves' are abundant.

My own mother has lived in AL since 2014 and I suffer no guilt about that decision whatsoever. Why should I? She gets great care there, so it's not like I've done a bad thing.

Feeling lost now w/o your mother is one thing; feeling guilty for her death is another. You should expect to feel grief, anything else is unwarranted. We 'children' cannot fix our parents' issues or extend their lives in any way, much as we might like to. Please get some counseling/therapy so you can allow yourself to live a full life now, free from the all consuming burden of guilt you're assigning yourself.

My condolences over the loss of your dear mom.
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Reply to lealonnie1

Please recognize the wisdom you showed in not moving your mom into your home. She had become difficult and you knew you were stressed and exhausted. That’s a bad set up for caregiving. She was exactly where she needed to be, at her request. You didn’t abandon her, quite the opposite, you ensured her care was being accomplished. Her death was due to an awful sickness that wasn’t preventable. It was her time, just as we all have one. I’m sorry for your loss, seek grief counseling, and know that you did well. I’m sure your mother knew your love and support.
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Reply to Daughterof1930

Oh my goodness JaneE11, you are far from being a horrible daughter. You took great care of your father, and did what was best for your mom and yourself as well. That's nothing to feel guilty over. Guilt is for someone who has done something wrong. You haven't done anything wrong, but love both parents, and tried to do right by them. And you did do right by them, and yourself too.
Your mom certainly wouldn't want you feeling bad over any of the choices made. She chose to stay where she was, and unfortunately she got Covid. That's not your fault. I am a firm believer that when it's our time to go, it's our time to go, no matter what, so there's nothing you could have done to prevent her death.
I hope and pray that you will seek out some grief counseling to help you work through all the feelings you're having. And please allow yourself to grieve not only your mom, but your dad as well. God bless you.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to funkygrandma59

Also I did take care of her from afar and promised to visit monthly once visits were allowed--once I stood outside her window for a visit and i went to visit in person when allowed. She had a lot of medical conditions, a lot went into my decision, but I feel like a horrible daughter.
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Reply to JaneE11
cherokeegrrl54 Apr 26, 2021
Jane, as you stated, she was where she wanted/needed to be. You did nothing wrong so you should not be feeling guilt. You took great care of your mom! Please rest easy now and seek out what makes you peaceful and happy. And if you need to, please seek out a therapist to help you understand how/why you are feeling. Im so sorry for your loss...
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