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I feel responsible for my mother's death

(22 Posts)
lonelyandsad Sat 17-Feb-07 14:12:13

I am a regular poster here but would prefer to keep this as private as possible.

My mother died in hospital a few days ago and I hadn't seen her for around 2 months before she died. She had been through a very traumatic experience (a loved one died) a few months before she died, but because we have had a family argument going on for many years, I was unable to deal with or empathise with the trauma she was experiencing.

I loved her and wanted to look after her, but feel that I have let her down and that if I had pulled her out of hospital where she may have received better care I could have saved her.

My siblings were not around to help her (one was abroad and the other not as concerned as me over her ongoing health problems) I am the youngest but feel the most desparate and distraught. I can not even deal with having to see her grave.

I watched the life sapping out of her for the last few days before she died in hospital (she was on life support) and can not put the images of her out of my mind.

I have been having panick attacks and worry about the anxiety and guilt that I may be feeling for the rest of my life.

I have a toddler and feel I need help.

Please give me some advice.

edam Sat 17-Feb-07 14:14:11

I'm so sorry, lonely. Rationally, of course you aren't to blame, but knowing that intellectually probably doesn't help, I imagine.

Have you contacted Cruse? Charity that helps people who are bereaved. Might help you through this difficult time.

colditz Sat 17-Feb-07 14:15:30

Chuck you need some grief councelling. There is no way your actions caused your mother's death, but me telling you that won't make any difference will it?

Scootergirl Sat 17-Feb-07 14:15:33

It's so soon after her death that you're bound to be feeling bad. Try not to punish yourself.

CAMy Sat 17-Feb-07 14:27:50

Sorry your mother has died lonelyandsad
I don't feel qualified to offer you any further advice but offer you my sincere condolences.

griff30 Sat 17-Feb-07 14:27:58

Everything is very raw just now and you are bound to be feeling "all over the place" try to put the last couple of months out of your mind and think of all the good times, dig out some happy photos / memories and do things at your pace.....there are no rules as to what you should be doing .

cori Sat 17-Feb-07 14:32:49

You know feeling's of guilt a quite commonplace after someone has died. Logically that there is nothing you could have done to help her or to prolong her life. But somehow you feel you could have done something, this feeling will probably pass as you get come to terms with her death. But if it doesnt after a few months then I would defeinetly seek grief counselling. I think one the problems with western culture is that we try and hide from death and pretend it will never happen, so we dont have the skills to deal with it when it does.

lonelyandsad Sat 17-Feb-07 16:23:46

thanks everyone. she had a pre-existing medical condition which would have aggrevated everything, but it still seems to me that i could have helped her more to live longer. i wasn't fully aware of how bad her condition had been in the few weeks before her death as the family members i had neraest to her (i live 4 hours drive away) hadn't informed me. they had said she was ok.

i feel this overwhelming guilt that i didn't care enough in her last few weeks of life although i had helped her a great deal in the past with finding medication through private consultants, etc.

i feel she has been robbed from my son and i.

Dior Sat 17-Feb-07 16:34:12

Message withdrawn

HEIFER Sat 17-Feb-07 16:35:02

I understand how you feel.. I felt very similar when my mum died. I felt that I hadn't looked into enough cures for cancer etc...

BUT it is now 14 months on and I have realised that I did what I could at the time... I WISH I did more, but when I look at what else I DID do it far outways what I didn't do (IYKWIM)...

We also had this with my mum feeling guilty when my dad died (5 yrs ago).. she decided NOT to put him in hospital for those last few days and have him at home... then afterward felt she had made the wrong decision..

I am thinking that same with you.. At the moment you think you should have taken her out of the hospital - but if you had, you would be feeling even worse.. trust me on that...

It is very soon for you, and I really do think you will start to feel better about things one day.. not today not tomorrow, maybe not even next year, but one day..

The important thing is to remember the things that you DID do to help her, as I am sure there are many, and I am sure she appreciated them..

Take care and I hope you get some help from others on MN....

lonelyandsad Sat 17-Feb-07 16:46:52

thanks heifer for your very touching personal experience. unfortunately my father also passed away suddenly at age 62, so losing my mum who was also only 67 is very hard, esp. as my son is so very young and will never remember either of them.

HEIFER Sun 18-Feb-07 07:59:28

I agree, my parents were 72 and 73 and I thought that was far too young for them to die (especially as they had lived very healthy lives)...

Also agree re grandchildren.. My DD is only 3 and my mum died when she was a few days over 2....

My mum would have played a huge part in her life (as she did with her other grandchildren who were much older)...

I think that is the bit that is hardest to get over.... although obviously that I miss my mums soo much, everytime DD does something special (which is almost daily ) I want to share it with my mum!..

Unfortunately DH parents have also passed away so DD doesn't have any grandparents...

Take care

WideWebWitch Sun 18-Feb-07 08:19:51

Poor you. It's not your fault, you shouldn't feel guilty. I agree that some counselling might help.

lonelyandsad Sun 18-Feb-07 08:24:49

hi heifer - fortunately dh has parents who are younger than mine and healthier, but they live abroad. i now intend that ds should spend a great deal more time with them. ds is an only child so will just have to make sure he gets to know a lot more relatives.

you take care too.

FiachraFrog Sun 18-Feb-07 08:32:46

Don't have any advice, just wanted to offer you my sympathy.....

batters Sun 18-Feb-07 09:17:48

Grief is a strange thing, lonelyandsad.

I honestly think that a week after your mother's death you are bound to feel very, very odd and sad indeed.

I personally would wait a little while before thinking about conselling. But that is my opinion.

What is very obvious is that you are not to blame for your mother's death.

Can I ask, has the funeral been yet? When my parents died, it was after the funeral each time that I settled into what I now realise is proper full on grieving. The initial shock had gone, leaving the reality.

I am so sorry for your loss.

tigermoth Sun 18-Feb-07 09:40:40

lonely and sad, I am so sorry you are feeling this way - guilt and grief together are hard to bear.

Just looking at this from an outsider's point of view, I think you are taking on too much responsibility for this. Your other siblings were not as concerned or weren't around. None of that is your fault. Other family members who lived nearer your mum hadn't informed you and said she was ok. That is not your fault either. You know you would have come to your mum if anyone had told you she was not ok - living 4 hours drive away, you rely on being told. There is no way you can guess what is happening - you need other people to tell you.

Have you had a chance to talk to the medical team at the hospital or her GP to go through what happened? Knowing the details should hopefully set your mind at rest more. I'd do this before getting counselling.

lonelyandsad Mon 19-Feb-07 08:19:40

thanks everyone once again.

tigermoth - thanks.

it is a shame that i am not very close to any family members to talk through these emotions with them. i spoke to 2 of my auts yesterday (they have been leaving several messages on my phone every day and texting my dh non-stop) who only said terrible things that upset me such as me not caring enough to sort out her funeral or going into her flat to clean it, etc.

it is not that i don't care, it is that i just want to hide from the reality of what has happened. i can't look at her belongings now nor her grave, but am blamed for being too weak and irresponsible.

my brother (the eldest) offered to arrange the funeral and i have allowed him to.

i wish my relatives would leave me alone to grieve for my mother without causing me so much more pain.

i feel so alone. my dh is the only person who can comfort me.

BandofMothers Mon 19-Feb-07 08:39:51

Perhaps you could ask your dh to have a word with your aunts and tell them what you just told us.
I would hope they would understand how you are feeling re your mum's flat etc.
So sorry for your loss. Try not to listen to any meanness from anyone. But remember that they might just be lashing out at you because of their own grief over their sister.

lonelyandsad Wed 21-Feb-07 21:54:36

bandofmothers - thanks. i did say to one aunt who was particularly vicious that i was unable to deal with the reality of what had happened to my mum which is why i couldn't sift through her stuff so soon after her death. both aunts had not seen my mum in years (they live in other countries) one never botherd to call my mum in about 18 years although her illness was well-known to everyone. i think you are right. by lashing out at me they are trying to get it out of their own system.

at the moment i am avoiding all my relatives. they can't help me nor i them. i am not close enough to any of them and they all live abroad.

i hope that i can see some of them when i travel abroad.

handlemecarefully Wed 21-Feb-07 22:05:21

Your aunts comments are grossly inappropriate and unwarranted. Please ignore them. As you seem to have rightly concluded, they have their own issues and are projecting their feelings onto you

As for you feeling that you didn't do enough can I quote you?:

"My siblings were not around to help her (one was abroad and the other not as concerned as me over her ongoing health problems)"

Whereas you were there by her bedside whilst she was on life support in hospital. You have no reason to feel guilty, none at all.

I am certain your mother knew you loved her...and reading between the lines "although i had helped her a great deal in the past with finding medication through private consultants, etc" -you've been a caring loving daughter

lonelyandsad Thu 22-Feb-07 08:49:29

handleme - thanks for your kind words.

when someone special dies it is so diificult to see things in perspective. my father died 11 years ago and because he had a sudden heart attack and i wasn't there in hospital with him when he died (he was abroad), i still feel he died alone. i will probably feel guilt about my mum's death for a long time too.

only last night my brother called me to blame me for things i had done or said before my mum died. my sister called from abroad when i was sitting next to my dying mum in hospital and blamed me too.

the reality is i don't have a supportive or caring family which makes life very difficult for me.

thank goodness that dh is a balanced and loving person otherwise i would have gone to pieces by now. only he knows how deeply i loved both my parents.

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