Guilt, remorse, regret, and generally not liking the world

I just need to get this out of my head and on paper so I feel purged. My mom passed away in April. We never really got on. I am an only child and my mom just told me and my dad what to do - always! She got her own way all the time - when my dad died three years ago she thought I was going to become that person she could order about - WRONG! I left home years ago, have grown up children and grandchildren so don’t have a lot of time as I work full time. I always felt that no matter how often I went round to her house (usually 2-3 times/week) it wasn’t enough. She used to call me every day - EVERY DAY. If I didn’t answer she would call again and again and again. Each voicemail got more ruder and demanding. But we rubbed along. She was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago - no-one told us the prognosis - we didn’t ask but we carried on. I thought she had about a year. Then she suddenly went off her legs, stopped eating and two weeks later she was bed ridden, carers came in. I was furloughed so spent more or less every day and night with her. Then she died. And now all I have is the feeling that I should have done more, been less of a cow, cut her some slack. I always thought she didn’t really love me - I don’t know if she did - but now I’ll never know. How does this get resolved? I’m living in some blurred version of reality. On my first day back at work I knocked a cyclist off his bike - totally my fault - just wasn’t looking - head was elsewhere - no excuses here - just wasn’t with it. The guilt is unbearable - maybe it was me that was selfish, I think my mom may have been cutting me some slack. Wish I’d done more.

Hi. Allycott and welcome. Hindsight is all very well, but it can lead to so much despair if we hang on to it. I doubt there are many here who have not felt some regret and think they could have done better. I know I did. Your story resonates with me because I had a mother like that. We hardly ever saw eye to eye, and when she died some 25 odd years ago I did feel some guilt even though I visited both my parents on a regular basis. What we did we did at the time and it seemed right then. Try not to dwell on what might have happened and think about how you helped your mum as I’m sure you did. Of course she loved you, never doubt it. You must have loved her to spend your days and nights with her. People have different ways of expressing emotions. Expressing love can be very difficult for some. They find to say ‘I love you’ almost embarrassing. To put ‘Love and best wishes’ at the end of a letter they find difficult. It may be that your mum, although she felt love, she had difficulty expressing it. Guilt can lead to that debilitating emotion, despair. Try not to let it happen.
I’m glad you are here. Everyone knows and understands.
Take care. It’s very early days for you yet. John.

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Hi Allycot. I am so sorry for the way you feel after a not so perfect relationship with your mum. It is so sad that these feelings never seem to get resolved until the death of one party. I have had a very tubulant relationship with both my children but the youngest in particular. When my husband passed away they never spoke to me for almost a year. It broke my heart because they did not even understand my grief. My husband was not their father and they resented him for that fact. I am not an openly expressive person where hugs and kisses are concerned because my own mum was not very tactile but I loved her with all my heart. But I love my children despite all the hurt and pain and I still don’t know how to make it right. I suppose what I am trying to say is that I am sure your mum loved you unconditionally but did not have the way of showing it that you would have liked. Just remember her as the mum you loved and do not think badly of yourself. Family relationships can be very complicated. Take care. I hope you find peace of mind. X

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Thanks to both people who replied here. It is certainly true (for many people think) that conveying feelings and emotions is difficult and sometimes frowned upon! A major part of many of the thoughts that keep me awake at night, or simply just creep up on me are that me and my mom won’t have the chance to talk. We were on good terms before she died but I feel like I only really got to know here in those last few weeks - and simply WASTED the previous 55 years I had with her. But I guess many of us never really get to know our parents - they are just “there” - they look after us when we are little, then they seems to spend the next few years telling us what/what not to do until we move out and find out they were probably right in the first place. I kind of understand that she’s not coming back - but I have to go her house (check for post/cut lawn) but it kills me that she’s not there. When I do back its odd - she’s not there but its where she was - and now i don’t want to get rid of her house but to go and live there would be turning it into some kind of shrine - feel like I am going crazy. Need to roll with it I guess - I know logically this will pass somehow - but one bit of brain has put my thoughts in a blender!

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