My mother died in a hospice house with end stage Parkinson’s disease. She was 95.

I cared for mom and dad for many years in their home and moved mom, a widow, into our home when her home was destroyed in a hurricane.

People sometimes feel enormous guilt after a loved one dies which is sad, but it is important to process our feelings.

People who suppress their emotions are filled with anxiety and depression.

I learned this by participating in many hours of therapy with a well trained professional in his field.

I am very grateful for the help I received in therapy. My therapist is compassionate and a straight shooter which I deeply respect.

We place guilt upon ourselves and other times, people that know us well and not so well, will impose guilt on us by feeling that we could have done more or didn’t understand when we lost our patience or had disagreements with our parents.

There are legitimate reasons for disagreements. It would be nice if others could understand but unless they have walked in our shoes, they really don’t know what our experience has been like.

I suppose that it’s natural to question if we did all that we could as daughters and sons.

I am sure many parents question if they did an adequate job in raising us.

My mom would speak about regrets at the end of her life.

I told her that it was water under the bridge.

I didn’t want mom to feel badly. She didn’t want me to feel badly about my flaws. Mom did have a conscience as do I.

We were truly blessed to have come to these terms. Resolution isn’t always possible for some due to certain circumstances.

The truth is that none of are perfect. Everyone has made mistakes.

No one wants to be remembered only for the mistakes they have made.

I choose not to remember people only for their mistakes because I am miserable if I live with resentment in my heart.

I find that forgiveness brings forth peace. All of us would like to be forgiven for any shortcomings or wrong actions.

My grandmother used to say that we all have good and bad inside us. I believe that she is correct.

We are constantly learning about ourselves and others.

We have our own frame of reference that we have patterned our lives after.

Some people are private. They see asking for help as a failure, a lack of control, or even as embarrassing.

Some of us followed in our parents footsteps and others of us are more independent and follow our own path.

I am not a person who believes that guilt is a ‘wasted’ emotion.

I am speaking ‘specifically’ about guilt, not grief. Guilt and grief can go hand in hand. Each are valid emotions. Guilt in the proper context is helpful. So is grief.

People tell others that they aren’t feeling ‘guilt’ and that it is ‘grief.’ That isn’t always true in certain circumstances.

I have absolutely felt ‘guilty’ about certain things that I said to my mother. We may grieve for what could have been but that doesn’t erase the guilt that we feel. Guilt isn’t a dirty word to use in the proper context. It’s quite accurate.

Most of us know when we have been unkind in some way, whether it was intentional or not, we still hurt the other person.

It’s not that I didn’t have a right to say what I did.

In the heat of the moment I chose the wrong way to express myself and certainly regret it because I never wish to be intentionally cruel to anyone in this world.

My therapist explained how important it is to forgive myself for anything hurtful that I have said and that all of us have been disappointed with ourselves at times.

It’s better to allow a person to feel what they feel, process it, then forgive themselves because we have all done this when under enormous stress.

If experiencing true guilt motivates us to change our behavior or to make amends then it is indeed a productive emotion.

So, I am asking you to share with others, how did you process your mixed bag of emotions after a loved one dies.

Thank you for your condolences and support.

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I am so sorry to hear about this loss for you, NeedHelp. You well know my feelings about the G word. You aren't a felon. You are looking for the word "grief" instead. It is very sad for us to witness what comes at the end of life for our elders. It is quite simply loss after loss. You have given such excellent advice here for so many years, and I know that you already "know" all there is to know in all this. That doesn't stop the hurt.
I simply don't believe in guilt for those of us struggling with the care of elders. I am so sorry for your loss, and so grateful you have been here helping others to deal with the feelings we all struggle to deal with, human that we are.
I never really felt any guilt with my brother's passing. To tell you the truth I felt relief for both my beloved brother and for myself. No one should have to go through an unending struggle at the end of life.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
NeedHelpWithMom May 2, 2021
Thanks so very much, Alva. I appreciate your kindness.

However we express our sentiments, we can feel badly and often have regrets about certain situations. It takes time to process and adjust our emotions. I am so relieved that mom and I were able to settle things before she died. I am glad that she is no longer suffering. I am extremely grateful to the hospice staff that allowed her to die free from pain and with dignity.
I have not really lost anyone close except my grandpa and M's dad. I felt nothing except relief, no more suffering and tired. I slept alot for a few days.

M took the death really hard, they did not have a good relationship and I gave him space. His bro, omg probably the cheapest person on Earth bought a used urn on Ebay from NO for $20 ashes and all. Once they flushed the juju ashes, his dad didnt fit in it so bro was gonna flush him too. We ended up saving the ashes and put them under 4 trees in the yard and put a bird fountain in the middle of them as kind of a memorial. M's dads best friend still will not talk to the family over lack of closer and the no obit or memorial. Personally, I still have an issue with a used urn.

I asked M one day if he still thinks about his dad, I really dont. He said yes everyday but instead of the negative emotions as an adult, he thinks of happier times when he was younger.

I guess I have no great words of wisdom but am wishing you the best and know it will get easier.
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Reply to Stacy0122
NeedHelpWithMom May 2, 2021
Thank you for your kind words.

That is sad. People go through all sorts of experiences that are difficult to understand. I can’t imagine a ‘used’ urn either.

I remember selecting the urn for my oldest brother.

The funeral home had a nice selection of urns for sale. Most were traditional, adorned with crosses, scriptures or angels but one had a motorcycle engraved on it. My oldest daughter said to me, “Mom, that’s the one that we should get. He was a free spirited guy that loved his bike.’ She was more or less joking because she knew that my mom wouldn’t consider an urn with a motorcycle to be tasteful or appropriate.

My mom adored my children and did get my daughter’s sentiments and sense of humor, although of course, she went the traditional route.
As it has just been 7 1/2 months since my husband died, I am still working through my grieving process. And a process it has been. Some days I feel like I'm doing pretty good, and then other days I'm not. But I'm ok with that. I want to feel every emotion as it comes along, as that is how I believe we heal. It does none of us any good to try and pretend that everything is ok, if in fact it is not.
In the beginning I did have some guilt over the fact that at times I had lost my patience with him, and even had hollered at him on occasion, but I didn't let that guilt linger long, as I knew(and my husband knew)that I did the very best I could under the circumstances. Being a 24/7 caregiver is hard, very hard, and it certainly can take its toll on you if you're not careful.
Watching my husband die during his 6 week dying process was very hard for me. He suffered terribly and the fact that hospice couldn't get his pain under control made it all the worse. At first when I thought of my husband after his death, those visions of him suffering was all I could see. I have had to work very hard to replace those memories with our good memories, so that now when I think of him, I can smile instead of cry.
My children, grandchildren and I will be going to my husbands favorite beach May 8th-May 15th, where we will be scattering his ashes. I am crying as I write that because in a way it seems like that will be the final step in letting him go, although I know that he will always be in my heart and mind, and it will be just one more step in my healing process.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
NeedHelpWithMom May 2, 2021
I love your heartfelt response. I can relate. The pain of watching those we love suffer is overwhelming at times. You are right in saying that it doesn’t go away immediately.

My mom knew that I did my best too. It is wonderful that your husband and my mom knew this. They were struggling as well. We saw their struggle and it broke our hearts.
You cope with it by not denying any feelings you have. Let them come and accept them as part of who you are.
Don't judge yourself if you feel anger, rage, resentment or any other negative feelings about your mother. If one of those negative feelings happens to be guilt let that feeling come too. When a person accepts that all of these emotions are part of grief, they're able to unpack their grief and process it.
No person or relationship is perfect. When a person close to us dies people tend to idealize them and see them as being perfect and totally blameless. The person who is grieving then will judge themselves and blame themselves for everything that went wrong. Don't do that to yourself.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to BurntCaregiver
NeedHelpWithMom May 2, 2021

This is how I feel too. A lot of people do idealize people that have died. It’s kind of odd. We don’t magically erase our memories. We may even have wounds or scars. We can find positive ways for our wounds to heal. As time goes by, the hurt and pain will naturally lessen. At least for me it has.

We can live a productive life while bearing scars. Yeah, most of us wish that we hadn’t gone through certain situations, while others use it as a learning experience and say that it made them who they are today. They help others to cope and heal which is beautiful.

My stumbling point can be if there are triggers from being around people who are really angry and haven’t come to terms with hurt from their deceased parents. I have a friend who holds horrible anger and resentment inside of her regarding her family members. I have to limit my time around her because she will ask me questions about the past, which I have made peace with. She wants me to be angry all the time like she is. I guess so she won’t have to let go of her anger. We need a balance in our lives. Her anger is justified but it has crippled her to the point of not being able to feel any joy in her life. She has beautiful grandchildren that she doesn’t enjoy.

When I suggested therapy she said that she went but it didn’t help her. She didn’t commit to it. She only went for a couple of weeks. I find myself getting depressed if I am near her for too long. I have suggested activities for her. She always has excuses not to do them.
Continued prayers for you and your family, NHWM
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Reply to BL1982
NeedHelpWithMom May 2, 2021
Thank you so much.
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You made profound statements. I believe we have memories for a reason. I handled grief throughout my life by remembering positive, happy moments with those I mourn. You'll smile and have a lighter load to carry.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to LNReason
NeedHelpWithMom May 2, 2021
I agree. Thank you for your response.
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