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Feeling so guilty


Question: I lost my father to cancer one month ago. I was not there when he died. I left home and went to another city for my job, and two days later he passed. I’ m feeling very guilty because when I left town, I was in an angry mood and that is how he saw me for the last time. I just told him I’ m going instead of asking "Can I go dad? Are you ok?" I was not expecting him to die. I am generally a calm person and I took good care of him, but unfortunately I was in bad mood on that day. I feel guilty every day.

Dr. Amy: I am very sorry for your loss. I am sure you feel terrible. Not only have you lost your father but you feel you did not get to say a proper goodbye and tell him how much you love him. On top of your sadness and grief, you feel guilt and perhaps even some anger at yourself.

You need a way to move through your guilt. One way to do this is to think about the whole of your relationship with your dad. We all, in our relationships with loved ones, have memories of things we wish we could undo or unsay. Instead of focussing on that last day, try to think of the good times you spent together— the adventures, challenges, peaceful, happy times you shared. Remember all the good things you did for him and he did for you. And remember the times when you said or did something that expressed your love. I am sure there are many, many examples and that he knew you loved him very much. As you say, you took care of your dad. Let your happy memories give you perspective on that final day.

This is far easier said than done. I encourage you to join a support group for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. A doctor, nurse, or spiritual leader can refer you to one in your area. There are also online support groups too. You might also try writing a letter to your father to say to him everything that you did not get a chance to in person. You might be surprised at how much relief this brings you.

I send you peace.


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