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.