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Will I ever get over my feelings of guilt?

 

Question: My mother recently died of cancer. I moved in to take care of her for a year. It was very stressful as she also had mini strokes and needed attention every minute. I was usually very caring but there were many times I lost my temper. I loved my mother very much but besides missing her, I am feeling guilty for my temper tantrums. It has only been a week. Will I get over this?

Dr. Amy: Your letter brings to mind the quote by comic strip author Cathy, who says:  "Food, love, career, and mothers—the four major guilt group."  It’s so true—many of us carry a burden of guilt when it comes to our relationships with our mothers. We may feel regret over certain actions. I think the key is to think about the whole of your relationship.

It sounds like you were a wonderful and caring daughter over the years. Try to stay focused on the hundreds—or thousands— of things you did well and with love. Think of the long sweep of years and your relationship overall. Avoid focusing on a few specific instances where you weren't at your best. We all stumble from time to time. It’s only human.

I am sure your mother never doubted that you loved her. I am sure she was grateful to have such a loving daughter who would move in and take care of her in her time of need. You are bound to feel things more strongly now because you are mourning the loss of your mother. Be gentle with yourself.

 

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. December 29, 2016 at 2:33 am | Posted by Faye

    This may not seem relevant. I am grieving the death of my 17-year-old cat whom I loved dearly. He was nearing end-stage renal failure and seemed near death not eating for days and in the vet hospital on an IV. He seemed so unhappy there and I wanted him to be home and die in a familiar place. He seemed comfortable and I went to sleep and awakened early in the morning to see him in distress. I knew it was time and went back to my room to gather my thoughts and hesitated before taking action. I can't explain why I did this. I see that he suffered and my whole intent for bringing him home was for a comfortable death. I feel so guilty like I should have observed him all nite and probably should have not brought him home. I feel like I failed and and I feel so guilty and I can't stop feeling this way. I miss him so much and am overwhelmed by sadness. I can't determine if I am guilty of being negligent or selfish or just foolish. Please help me to sort out if I have done wrong.

    Reply

    • January 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Posted by Home Instead

      We're so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. No matter the circumstances, if you feel overwhelmed by guilt or grief, consider talking to a close friend or even seeking professional counseling help.

      Reply

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