Guilt and terminally ill dad

Hi I am new to this site so please be gentle. Not sure if this is the correct section. I lost my mum over 4 years ago. Only child. Grieved for her and miss her dreadfully still. My dad now gravely Ill in intensive care.
My surviving Dad although very close not great at talking to each other although see him as much as I can and ring him 4 or 5 times a day. Text regularly and send him photos regularly.
Anyway. We muddled on and became closer.
He was able to go out on the bus / pub etc and wasn’t reliant on anyone really.
However after a fall last year he has struggled with mobility issues and I have just been so stressed. I still visited etc… However when not with him I am never able to relax and living on edge waiting for something to happen.
Wouldn’t entertain assisted living or support. Increasing continence issues which he wouldn’t really address.
Just feel guilty now that I didn’t do enough, didn’t visit enough, couldn’t cope with his decline even though I love him so much.
Can anyone relate to this? All help gratefully received xx

Dear Ceri,
Reading your post I can see how much you love your dad and care about him. Many parents would love to have a child who phones, texts and visits as much as you have done. At the same time you were grieving the loss of your mum as well as having your own family to look after. I think that the guilt feelings you have are misplaced. It sounds like your dad has gone downhill after his fall, which unfortunately happens so often. The fact that he declined help is also quite common. Some people just do not want to loose their independence and as the saying goes; you can lead a horse to water, but not make it drink.
My advice to you would be to concentrate on the here and now. Are you allowed to visit your dad in intensive care, and if not, is there a system in place where you can talk to him via Zoom or other means? All you can do at the moment is tell him how much you love him, and be there for him. If he recovers, I am sure the hospital will make sure that help will be in place for him .
This must be a very difficult time for you. Be gentle on yourself.
It is good that you have come to this site, where you will find understanding and caring people who have gone through similar situations. I myself lost my dad 3 years ago, and my mum 2 years ago and I do remember the being on edge feeling you describe when you know your parent is alone and prone to have a fall.

Thank you so much for your reply. No I am not able to visit unfortunately. I have FaceTimed him but he is on oxygen now so I don’t want to keep disturbing him.
The things I hate about myself is that he had a (toilet) accident when he stayed over at Christmas and I have been terrified it would happen again if he stayed again (he stays in my daughters room) If I hadn’t got to the bathroom he would have gone back to bed without a shower etc.
I have also hated seeing him decline physically and struggle (have tried to get him help with Social services but they said he didn’t need it):rage: I am always a bag of nerves when he comes to us and when I go to him… and have put off visiting him when I know it will be a mess and he insists it’s all fine etc. (Eg not changing his clothes etc) I have said we can pay for help but hates spending money!
I have sometimes (usually when I am exhausted) thought I just need some release from the worry and if it would be better if he wasn’t here (his quality of life hAs become so sad to see - can’t go out on his own etc )
The last two times I was meant to go up it was all going into lockdown so I told him I was having my haircut and the following week the weather was bad and he didn’t want me to drive in the rain (I am 45) But I was a bit relieved! Anyway I was Meant going last Saturday with some fish and chips but u unfortunately he was taken Ill on the Thursday (i found him)
I just wanted him to go into assisted living so that I could visit/ take him out (refused a wheelchair despite falling regularly) and not be constantly worrying …I hate myself for this as well!
Anyway sorry for the looong post! It does help to get it all out xxx

And I am so sorry for your losses xx

Dear Ceri,
The thoughts and feelings you describe will probably resonate with many on this site. We all want the best possible life for those we love and when that is not possible it can bring out all sort of emotions in us. I can totally understand that you were struggling with your worries. Being an only child makes it harder as well, because you do not have siblings to share the burden with. I am fortunate to have a husband, 3 sisters, a brother and 2 brothers in law, and we all worked together. Sorry to hear that Social Services were not very helpful.
I am glad that you are able to have FaceTime with your dad. It is probably difficult for him to talk, but at least you can talk to him and he can hear you. My mother in law is in the last stages of lung cancer, and talking is very tiring for her, so when we have a conversation I try to ask questions that she can answer with yes or no, to save her breath.
No need to apologise for a long post, it is good that you are able to expres how you feel and to ;‘get it all out’. You can post on this site as often as you want.

Oh I am so sorry to read about your sister. Life is so tough at times.
Thank you for your lovely reply… I have convinced myself that I am just evil and selfish! I just wanted my dad back the way he was! Able to have a pint and a swear with his mates at the pub and not rely on me for company (that I although he was always grateful and loved seeing his grandchildren) that I know sometimes I got on his nerves.
But I am missing him so much already and terrified of having no parents. Does that part get easier ? X

Dear @Ceri, so sorry you are going through this. @Jo60plus has already given you some very useful replies, like telling you not to apologise for the length of your post, I don’t have time to reply to your post at the moment but didn’t want to leave without acknowledging it as you has posted to me elsewhere at this forum, so I will reply tonight when I do have time. Please look after yourself and I hope your day is ok.

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Thank you x

Dear @Ceri, being an only child can often be difficult when it comes to grieving the loss of parent(s). I am sorry you lost your lovely mum, and that your dad is now terminally ill. It’s cr*p having a terminally ill relative, it drains you, takes the life out of you - for almost two years I was constantly worried that I will get a call that my dad has died.

Some guys don’t like to express them much, like your dad, but it is still great that you and him managed to get closer. Getting old can be really difficult for people, they hate losing their independence, and having to rely on others, so it is understandable why your dad didn’t go into a care home.

There are always things we could have done better. There are things I could have done better. I won’t make excuses for them. But you are a human, and you are not perfect, so please don’t focus on the things you could have done better, and focus on the things you did do. Because you did do a lot of things for him, which I know he appreciates. Never forget that, and please keep posting if it helps you. Hugggsss.

Thank you so much for your reply! It really helps to get everything out…
I will keep posting and if there is anything you would like to chat about then I am here for you too.
I guess if we didn’t care then we wouldn’t be posting on here!! Guilt is such a nasty emotion and it’s not productive is it?
Take care xx

Awww, @Ceri, thanks for your kindness.

You’re right, if you didn’t care, you wouldn’t be posting here. Guilt isn’t a good emotion, but also remember, guilt is a sign of love. You love your dad, that’s why you feel guilty when you think you might at times have let him down, but you didn’t, you’re his only child and I am sure he’s proud of you. Hugggsss.