Feelings of guilt

I lost both my mum and my dad within 2 months of each other, in 2018. My dad cared for my mum for 10 years as she was diagnosed with a debilitating chronic illness, at the age of 72. They were difficult years as mum felt no one understood her illness and what she was going through. Dad felt mum could do more to help herself. I tried to support both by listening to their difficulties .

I have lived some distance away from my parents for many years, but visited as often as I could (every 2-3weeks) to be with mum and take some pressure from my dad. I have a brother too who lived locally, who I know feels bitterness towards me because he felt he shouldered more responsibility. I dealt with the occasions when things were really tough and mum or dad were rushed into hospital; I took the lead in making the difficult decisions after talking with mum dad and my brother, and the doctors. There were times when I would have just driven a 4 hour journey home, to receive a call that one or other had been readmitted to hospital, and I would drive back the next morning.
Heartbreakingly, dad who had spent his last years caring for mum passed away first. Mum followed 2 months later.
3 1/2 years on and still images and conversations fill my mind. I have regrets feeling that perhaps I could have done things so much better. What also seems shocking to me is that I have never cried for the loss of either parent, although my sadness overwhelms me at times.

Hello @Pammo - firstly, welcome to Sue Ryder we are a big family on here, with shared experiences of loss, grief, guilt, pain, sadness - the whole 9 yards. I am so sorry that both your parents have died and that they and you went through such a tough experience. It is hard, looking back, playing things back over and over, wishing so hard that things could be different. We can’t fix or change what happened in the past - but what I am trying to do to manage my guilt of my husband’s death (briefly, blood cancer - gruelling year in hospital, death in hospice) is to look forward, and to hold onto the fact that, yes, I did do my best in the circumstances of the time and with the crummy hand we were dealt. It is working for me, slowly, gradually, quietly. My friend, you did what you could do at the time. Playing back what you shared with us - you visited every 2-3 weeks, had a 4 hour drive to get there, that you drove 8 hours straight once when you got home to bad news, prompting you to turn around. You stepped up to take the big, tough decisions. This to me, my friend, says you did all you could and more. You were there - you just didn’t live on the spot. What else could you have done - as you also have your own responsibilities in your life to juggle. I have cried only in fits and starts for T. No long sessions of serious howling. This makes me feel odd and bad - but it is also just the way I am handling this. We all do it our own way. Grief has no prescribed approach. We all just try and keep swimming as best we can. Be kind to yourself, my friend, you did all you could, is how I read it. Try and think of better days and smile at the happier memories. It will be ok.

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Hello Vancouver
Thank you so much for your reassurance and kindness. Also the speed of your reply.
Your support means a great deal to me and it was a great help when I read your message today. I shall keep your message for those times when doubts creep in.
I am trying to direct my thoughts to happier memories.

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I am sorry for the loss of your husband and the very difficult times you went through during his illness,. I take strength from your example. Take care.

We stick together on here, my friend. Keep going x

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