Feel so much guilt..(14 Posts)
Been putting off starting this thread for a while but I'm hoping that some here will understand and help me understand too..
My DM was diagnosed with dementia about two months ago but things were obviously wrong in late summer. She has a particularly aggressive form of vascular dementia (long term, heavy heavy smoker) and her decline has been jaw dropping. She has basically gone from my mum to not being there in the space of four months. She no longer recognises my Dad who she's been married to for 50 years, doesn't really speak or eat and now lives in a care home from being fiercely independent only a few months ago.
An added complication is that my DP live abroad so I don't have any day to day contact and am reliant on my Dad for any updates or news.
So, the crux of the matter - even though this is awful, she is ill and appears to be close to the end, I am struggling to feel very much. I am desperately sad for my Dad and how he is coping but I can't seem to summon any depth of feeling for my Mum. We've always had a tricky relationship; she has blatantly favoured my DB over me our entire life which has become even clearer to me since I had my DC. We've never been close, doing Mummy/Daughter things and she rarely shows me any physical affection like cuddles or tells me that she loves me. The last time I took my DC to see them shortly after my marriage breakdown, I could see her revisiting my treatment on DD and could hardly bear it. I decided then to keep my distance which actually didn't make any noticeable difference - which made me realise it was me making all the effort.
So now I feel so much guilt - so much . I don't think I have that store of love that so many people have - it's been depleted over the years and she said and did so many things which eroded it.
I am more worried about my Dad than my Mum - and he obviously contributed to my self esteem issues but we've always been much closer and he seems to 'get' me more.
I don't have many rl friends - my best friend lost her own mother a couple of years ago in an awful accident so she just wouldn't understand and it's also something I am not proud of. How do you explain to people that you don't really care or worry for your Mum? That looks so horrible written down.
I am so sorry to all of you dealing with this cruel disease and I hope I don't upset anyone as I know most people feel differently. But if anyone does sympathise, please help me accept this. I am due to go visit next weekend for a couple of nights and am so worried about it
OP my life has some similarities to yours. Mum didn't blatantly favour my DB ( well not since we both had children) but dad always got me more. Mum has had dementia for a couple of years, although she still knows who we are. The dementia, on top of 14 years paralysed and 30 years in a wheel chair with agrophobia, before that have impacted massively on the whole family. She really should have been in a home years ago, but with a lot of help from carers, my dad putting her first all the time and some support from me, she is still at home. Their quality of life is poor and looking at my dad yesterday he looked like he was on his last legs. He is 88. I will be heartbroken whatever happens but if looking after her kills him I will be really heartbroken. He is the one I will miss most. I feel the same as you.
I think it's fine to accept how you're feeling and there is no need to tell everyone. If they say l'm sorry about your mum you could say we didn't have the closest relationship. How you feel is perfectly understandable but do be ready for a flood of emotions that may come when she dies as there is a grieving for the mother that you would have liked to have.
Life is not always like the movies where everyone is weeping over family who pass away. I would totally just accept how you feel.
Thank you both - and June, I do worry about when she dies. What if I still feel absolutely nothing? It's not something I think you can fake..
You're right though... I need to just accept it nut I'm really struggling.
I did all that I could for my mother because I was the only one willing. Willing on the sense of "things needed to be done". I did All the practical stuff without an ounce of love for her. She was 5 years in a care home and then 6 weeks in hospital before she died. I was like a mechanical puppet. You would be surprised how many people feel the same way as you do.
Those who tell you, "she's your mum, you should feel something" I would think, 'there is more to being a mum than giving birth. I am sorry you are going through this, please don't feel guilty or that you are alone.
When she died, the only emotion I felt was relief. The only people who understood, were my OH and my Adult children,who were often witness to her behaviour.
That's hugely helpful, pithivier - it is a really lonely feeling and so taboo.. I don't really know anyone who doesn't seem to like their mum.
my Dad has vascular dementia. we have a very tricky relationship and due to fear i haven't seen him for a while.
spoke to my step mum xmas eve and, well. i've left it too long and he won't know me. i just want to tell him i love him - i never have.
i'm sorry you're going through this, OP.
oh. and i went no contact with my mother 10 years ago. i don't know where she is or how she is and that's fine by me.
we don't have to like or love our parents. its ok. really.
Yes...l can understand this post. My situation is slightly different. My mum fell downstairs nearly 3 years ago, at home...she died several hours later in hospital. We were very close as my Dad was very old school and had very little to do with our up bringing ( one brother) so the loss of my Mum was very difficult. I felt Dad wasn't very kind to her and in many ways she covered up for him...he was very difficult to live with.
My Dad never really recovered and had a mental breakdown several months later and was admitted to hospital, later to be released to a care home with vascular dementia. He's been there 2 years and l try and visit once a week or fortnight...an hour each way,work etc. And yes, l always feel guilty that l sometimes feel so bad at myself for feeling that I don't want to do this... he's broken his hip on Boxing Day so in hospital and looks so frail and ill. He's going to find recovery difficult and as much as l hate seeing him suffer, and he is my Dad and l do love him....it's so hard.... feel like I've not grieved for my mum yet. Sorry for long post, but don't think I've ever admitted this to anyone....therapy!!? So yes...l feel so much guilt, sadness etc!! But,hopefully hide it well.
I was very close to my grandad before he got diagnosed with very advanced dementia. He was aggressive and always hurting the whole family, by then i felt nothing. I was so annoyed with him (he hit my stomach when i was 24 weeks even though baby was okay) i loved him because he was my grandad but i was so so angry and i hated him for hurting me, my family, my dad and my nan. Its normal to feel like it, i spoke to my dad about how i felt, try talking to someone x
Thank you so much for your posts and for being so open with your feelings. for those of us struggling, it can feel very lonely.
The weekend with my mum actually went really well and I took a lot of comfort from being with her. She is unable to walk or talk anymore and doesn't recognise anyone but she is very quiet and calm (a number of her fellow residents were very distressed which was upsetting and I really felt for them). Although very blank, she allowed me to hold her hand and whilst I think this is mainly reflexive, it was the first physical contact I've really had with her for years.
The whole thing really helped me make peace with my feelings and the guilt doesn't feel as strong - she is basically helpless and I really pitied her (not sure what's worse though, to be honest).
I don't know if I'll get the chance to see her again if her decline continues so quickly (single parent to two small children with a very obstructive ExH) but I think even if she were to go tomorrow, I wouldn't feel as bad as I would've without seeing her.
Thank you again - knowing I'm not alone makes me feel so much better. I hope we are all able to find peace eventually x
Feelings do not follow rules. They also do not stay the same. Loosing someone to dementia is a grieving process and you are likely to go through lots of different feelings over time. It also doesn't mean you will feel that way or feel the way "you are meant to feel" when they die. If people say they are sorry about your mum just say thank-you and leave it at that. You do not need to say more than that. Don't be hard on yourself if you feel angry. Just accept your feelings but be aware that they can change suddenly. I think you will struggle to find anyone with a parent with dementia who does not feel angry at times, rightly or wrongly and also hard to find anyone who doesn't feel guilt. x
You just have to accept what you really feel. We cannot dictate our emotions, it just a natural thing and we can never choose what to feel in what moment. I think there's nothing wrong with that as long as you are still there to support your dad.
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