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My husband was a terrible alcoholic and died of liver failure. I loved him but he made my life miserable. When he passed, I was relieved that I did not have to deal with that anymore.


My Mother who was my best friend was also my worst critique. She nagged and nagged and nagged at me every day, but yet at the same time should would do anything for me. I miss her but then again I don't. I am relieved that I do not have to deal with the constant nagging anymore but I do miss her yet I feel I should be devastated by her loss but I am not. What is wrong with me?


I am feeling so guilty that I am this terrible person. How can one lose a husband and a mother and not be depressed? Am I such a cold hearted person? I do not understand why these losses are not effecting me in the usual way. Its like I don't care but I really do. Has anyone else experienced this?

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I never mourned when my folks died and they were loving parents who adored my brother and me. It will be two year in April for my dad and my mom just passed away this past November. They were growing increasingly less mobile and more difficult to live with. My dad was very easy going and slept 23 out of 24 hours a day, but he was slipping into dementia and was incontinent and refused to shower. Getting him to the doctor was next to impossible. He was the easier of the two to care for and even then it was still a relief when he died. At the time I had no idea that my mom's last 19 months would nearly kill me.

She was bedridden the last year of her life and in and out of the hospital/skilled nursing. Every facility told her "you need 24 hour care in a facility" and she refused (she still had her faculties). Every facility told me "she needs to go into a nursing home" and I'd reply "good luck with that". She grew increasingly weak yet still talked about when she'd walk and drive again. She'd buy stuff she'd never be able to use, make, or wear again. My adult son and I were inches from walking out because it was the only way we could get APS to intervene. Long before she got this bad, she commented "I don't want to be a burden" but when she did become a burden she didn't care. She didn't want to go into a facility and that was that, she didn't really care what it meant to us.

I was close to her my entire life and I loved her but she was a self-centered, demanding, narcissist who had no problem trying to run my life, my brother's life and the lives of my kids. I told my kids repeatedly "ignore her, do what YOU want and she can yell at me". She died on November 17 and I've never shed a tear. I'm finally free.

You aren't cold-hearted, in fact you are probably just the opposite, putting up with the nagging and misery all these years. I would imagine there was a point in your life when losing either of them would have caused you grief (my mom nearly died 30 years ago and I don't think I could have borne it then). However you are past that point. If there are any good memories, cherish those and move on. Embrace the relief and enjoy your new life because now it is YOUR life and no one else's.
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Reply to Texangal81
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Yes, I have. I think your reactions are normal in your situation. My borderline personality disordered with vascular dementia mother died just over a year ago. I have felt nothing but relief that it is finally over and I don't feel guilty. Any guilt you have is false guilt as you have done no wrong.

You are not a cold hearted, nor a terrible person. Great burdens have been removed from your life, Feel free to enjoy your life without these now. You have earned it. (((((((hugs))))).
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Reply to golden23
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My partner was happy when his mother died. She was a miserable narcissist all her life and she spent his teen years threatening to commit suicide. Nothing ever made her happy unless you were giving her constant compliments. A Sunday call every week for years, she died, and he heaved a sigh of relief.
We are human beings. We aren't saints. Saints get shot full of arrows and then spend eternity having to listen to the whining prayers of all of us on earth, trying to "fix it all" for us. Not a good job description. Don't apply.
Ultimately we hopefully grow to a point where we understand that we as humans are very imperfect. Likely your "not so loved" ones have some peace now. You have two chances for family. The one you are born to and the one you make. Make another family, whether friends or loved ones, and make their lives and your own as grand as you are able. Wishing you good luck.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Nearly 6 years ago my Dad had sepsis and nearly died. Soon after that he had an aortal aneurysm which almost ended him as well. He was in the early stages of dementia at that time. He never regained independence and for over 5 years he required ever increasing levels of care. Dad died in September and although I do feel occasional moments of sadness and loss I never went into mourning.... and yes I too feel a sense of relief.
It was a difficult, sometimes bleak 5 years for everyone in our family, including Dad. Paranoia and anger are my family's go-to emotions when they feel vulnerable. Things often got pretty ugly.
I lost my Dad in bits and pieces over those years. By the time he passed I think I had already gone through my stages of grief. I don't feel guilty about the relief I feel. I think it's to be expected.
Now Mom is going through her own slow decline. She too has dementia and a myriad of health issues. Her body and mind are ebbing in bits and pieces like Dad. We are slowly losing her.
Regardless of the strained relationship I have always had with my Mom, witnessing her decline stirs an undercurrent of sadness and a sense of loss. It is subtle but always there. When she passes I will likely feel a sense of relief and I doubt I will be grief stricken.
Feelings are not black and white. They are messy and often conflicted. Be gentle with yourself. There are no "shoulds" when it comes to feelings.
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Reply to Tryingmybest
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Sometimes things don't happen in the usual order. Your grief happened during their lifetime.

Don't beat yourself up.
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XenaJada Jan 22, 2020
"Your grief happened during their lifetime."

I loved that statement.
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Yes, I have not mourned my abusive mother's death. In fact, her death seems like it was longer ago than it was. On the other hand, I have mourned my dad's death that was rather recent.

As MLK once said, "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God, I'm free at last!" You, my friend are also free at last! There is nothing wrong with you.
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Reply to NoTryDoYoda
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Thank you all for your advice and wisdom. This does make me feel better. God Bless you all!
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Reply to smilingtulip
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This post really hit home. After 17 years of taking care of my mom, the last two in a facility, she passed away a few months ago. If there's any feeling, it's relief. I do not miss her, which I find interesting because I miss my dad terribly and he's been gone 20 years. When I look back it was so much work to manage my mom's care, her household, her finances, her numerous doctors, her prescriptions, her groceries, her yardwork, her mail, the list goes on and on. She was a good mother to me as a young child, but after college I became her dumping ground for everything that was wrong with her life. She had numerous health problems from head to toe, ending in full-blown vascular dementia, sundowning, hysterics, paranoia etc. It was like the grand finale of the 4th of July fireworks. I grieved every time I visited her in the nursing home. When it ended all I felt was freedom. Now is my time.
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golden23 Jan 22, 2020
I so understand how you feel. I still miss my father too, but not my mother.
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When a loved ones dies from a disease that slowly takes them, alcoholism, cancer, dementia it is not uncommon for their loved ones not to grieve the way that their family or friends think they should. You probably have been grieving the loss of your husband / mother for years. You have grieved the person you knew and loved long before they passed away. At the time of their passing you probably had already cried all the tears you could.

Grief is as individual to each person. Not everyone grieves the same way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. I don't see you as cold hearted or a terrible person, I see someone who had to travel a very difficult path as they watched their loved ones slowly die and I bet you have been grieving for years!

Don't let what other well meaning family/friends say to you determine who you are, they have not gone through your journey.
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NoTryDoYoda Jan 22, 2020
Did you read what the OP said? She's relieved that they are dead and feels like she is a bad person for feeling that way. I've experienced that with an abusive parent.
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Smilingtulip: My sweet mom died almost a year ago. At her death, beside sorrow, I felt immense relief.

The relief was twofold: First, that Mom's suffering was over. She had dementia (and she knew it, which was heartbreaking), spinal stenosis, diabetes, and other issues. She was kind and giving, but she suffered. Now, she's whole, pain-free, and with her beloved family on the other side.

Second, that my suffering was over. I was her live-in caregiver and it nearly killed me. My three sisters were cruel. A photo was taken of me during this time (but before it got even worse), and in that photo I was aged more than 20 years. It's horrifying. With Mom's death, a few weeks of cleaning out her house and a quick sale, I drove away and never contacted my sisters again.

There's nothing wrong with you feeling relief. You're a good person who dealt with terrible things. Your life is YOURS now. Embrace it and live it with kindness and joy toward yourself. You've earned it. *hug*
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