Guilty about my adult children

I feel so guilty for leaning hard on my adult children when they are mourning their father. So now in addition to being a mess, I feel guilty for burdening my children. I feel like a bad mother. I spent so many months being strong and putting on a good front for them and now I can’t seem to do that any more. I have no more emotional reserves. I know I should probably seek therapy of some kind but I can’t get it together to arrange it and I’m not even confident that it would work for me. Feeling stuck, sad and guilty. Sorry for the rant, I just need to get this off my chest and release this awful pain. Thanks for listening.

Hello @jane2

Sorry for your loss.
I was dreadful the first few months after my Marti died, I couldn’t function, sat in my dressing gown every day, didn’t take care about showering or brushing my teeth, sat staring at the TV everyday. My son sorted the finances out and the funeral, I just couldn’t do anything.
Some days I put on a front, other days they see me cry and we talk about their Dad.
I am seeing a counsellor because there is some things I can’t talk about with my boys, their relationship was different to what I had with their Dad. Like all couples I was with him 24/7, we did everything and went everywhere together, while our boys have their own lives with work, going out together or with their girlfriends. I was the same at their age. My boys miss their Dad terribly but for me it’s 100 times worse, I’d been with their Dad a long time.
Do you have family or friends to talk to?
Maybe try counselling, could your GP help.
I’ve been a few times now to a counsellor and she is someone I can really talk about how I feel, trouble is I need to talk to her everyday as she understands my pain, but thats not possible unfortnately. I still come away feeling lonely and scared, there’s no quick fix, we have to try and cope with our grief, its a long process we go through and it’s very hard work. I’ve even called the Samaritans before now when I’ve felt like reading my hair out.
Sending you a hug
Amy x

I have two young adult children. I have not been able to control my emotions in front of them and I too feel guilty. I do think, however, that it shows them that it is ok to show emotions. I’ve also told them not to hide their feelings from me thinking that they will upset me because I can’t be any more upset than I am anyway. I just don’t seem to be able to control when I break down anyway so there are bound to be times when they are there. Sending hugs

Dear Jane2

Our son lives local but has two young children (both under age of 2) and daughter lives further down the country so do not get to see her as much as I would like. I help look after the little ones and try as best I can to not get upset. But I find it hard, sometimes even shedding tears when it is just me and the babies because I know that my husband has lost so much and I so desperately need him with me. I think our son feels the burden of me more than his sister and quite often it leads to tensions and I just silently leave his house and return home to sob.

I feel both guilt and anger. Me for being such a burden and anger at my husband for creating this whole situation (he died in a motorbike crash). Parents should not cause their children so much hurt and it is not something that I can ‘fix’. There is no way to repair the grief that my husband’s death has caused. I have arranged a GP appointment today - the pain of his loss is all consuming and I cry (and sometimes scream) on a daily basis. I am not seeking medication - both me and husband avoided any form of medication wherever possible. I just feel that the strain is now getting all too much. Since my husband died I have suffered a number of stress related illnesses.

Twelve months ago we were planning our retirement now I am worried if I have the strength to carry on. I have suffered dramatic weight loss but have no appetite. I still find it hard to believe that this is now my life. And I find myself every night avoiding going to bed as I think through the pain inflicted on our adult children which is unbearable.

As Amy69 highlights I have contacted Samaritans on a number of occasions when I was desperate for someone to speak to and say exactly what I needed to say.

Thank you so much for the reply and the support, Amy 49. I am sorry for your loss as well.
My husband died of cancer right at the start of the Covid lockdown. My husband’s ashes couldn’t be released as everything was closed down. Several of my children live at a distance and so were unable to come here and so we couldn’t grieve together. I didn’t see them for over a year except online—better than nothing but very difficult. Finally this weekend we were able to gather, as we are all now vaccinated and we scattered his ashes as he wanted us to. It was wonderful to see them, to hug them, to be together. But it was also very emotional and plunged me back to the beginning of my grief journey. I have not been able to stop crying on and off and feel like I am burdening them, especially since they do a minimal amount of talking about their Dad—it is just their way of grieving. I need to talk about him and my feelings, so I am seriously considering some form of therapy just to be able to release these feelings and not be burdening my children or my friends. I don’t have much family other than my children and I feel reluctant to burden the few friends who I could talk to because they have their own troubles and issues. I agree with you about the children having their own lives to live. Our world, however, has been shattered and the person we would look to for support is the one we can’t have. It is a devastating place to be. Thank you for your reply. I can relate to everything you said. I wish you peace and comfort and send you a big hug back.

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Thank you for your reply, Jules4. So sorry we are all in this position but it is good to know that others find it difficult to control their emotions in front of their children. We had to delay our mourning and grieving together because of all the lockdowns, so I feel like all these emotions are coming out in full force now since we have been able to finally all get together. I’m sorry that we are in this same sad place but it is helpful to know that I am not the only one feeling this guilt. There’s a lot of expectation on us to be “strong” and I agree that sharing our feelings is a good thing. My children, however, grieve in a different way and are not comfortable expressing their feelings. I too can no longer control when I break down but wind up feeling badly about it. I am so thankful for all the kind people on this site who can share and provide support. Sending hugs back.

Dear Sheila26,
Such a sad place to be and so completely life altering. I hate feeling like a burden, but I also feel so needy and then feel badly about that. It really sucks. Yes, I understand about not feeling strong enough to carry on. The person who would give us the most support is no longer here. It is a heart breaking place to be. So many things our husbands will miss and a future that is a big question mark. I understand the anger too. I feel like I am left to sort everything out alone and it is a heavy load. So sorry to carry on like this–today is just an awful day for me. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better one-- I wish that for you too.

It is so hard. I don’t believe my husband would have gone out for a run if he had any idea that something like this would happen but then I know he wasn’t on top form, that’s why he was trying to exercise to improve. I then blame myself for not stopping him but then, as a friend said, was an going to stop him exercising every day? I do know he wouldn’t have wanted to cause this heartbreak. I just feel partly responsible for the fact that my children haven’t got a dad as we were always a team and I should have kept him safe. I can’t stop replaying the evening over and over again with different outcomes. Sending hugs


I know what you mean . I have three daughters 26,24 and 14 and it is so hard to keep that front on when your heart A’s broke into pieces. My oldest does live at home so does see what my middle daughter sees, and my middle daughter did c.p.r on her dad and she has got ptsd now but still we try and keep things together for my youngest. Sending hugs your way x

Yes, broke into a million pieces, so true. Sending hugs back to you.

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I can relate to that @Amylost. Everyone’s situation is different and I wouldn’t presume to understand your sons’ reaction to your shared loss, but when my mother died my father was like you: he pined dreadfully and simply couldn’t function. I found strength in helping him, and I drove him to appointments, organised and delivered the whole funeral, and even sorted out the mouse infestation which unfortunately occurred amid all this! I can’t speak for all adult children, but it did make me feel better me to support my father. He didn’t want to burden me but I wish I’d been able to do more. I also fully understand what you say about the difference in the relationship between your sons and their father, and you and him. My parents met as teenagers, and it was so much harder for him than for me.

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Hi Jane,

I just turned 28, myself and my siblings all in our twenties lost our relatively young and incredible Mother very suddenly and shockingly at the end of January and our lives have been turned upside down.

As a child who has lost a parent, I can assure you that your children will want to support you. They will want to help you through this, care for you and mourn with you. My Dad is the surviving parent in our situation and he is very shut off, not confiding in us at all which I am finding really hard as I want to be there for him. I want him to let it out and communicate how he feels. It is not healthy to bottle grief up, sharing your grief with your children will bring you all even closer.

You are not a burden or a bad mother, your love for your children shines through in your message. Sue Ryder offer free grief counselling, you need to join the waiting list and they will contact you in 4-5 weeks.

It is super easy! Use this link and fill in the form to join the waiting list:

Thinking of you x

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Dear zg215

Thank you so much for your very supportive message. It has lifted my spirits and brightened my day and I really appreciate you taking the time out from your own grief to write to me.
I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Mom. It is such a very painful loss to experience–especially when you are still quite young. There are really not adequate words. It does rearrange every molecule in your universe. Especially if you shared such a close bond. Thank you again so much from the bottom of my heart. You sound a lovely, caring person. My best wishes to you.
Thank you for the advice about Sue Ryder counseling. Unfortunately, I don’t qualify for it since I live in the States. I wish I could. I have found this site so helpful and i’m sure the counseling is wonderful as well. I hope you continue to post on this site and find comfort here. Your Dad is lucky to have you in his corner.
Sending you a large virtual hug

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Hi Jane 2, I have done the same with my daughter and she was going through domestic violence at the time, her life falling apart in a different way as my husband wasn’t her dad. I was emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. I felt guilty too, still do but we need someone to lean on and you battled on daily. We need to forgive ourselves because we’re only human x

Hello Nurse1,
Thank you for your kind reply. I’m so sorry we find ourselves in this place that none of us wants to be, but it is so helpful and encouraging to me to hear from others who understand. Thank you for reminding me that we are only human–I need to keep repeating that to myself over and over!! I think as parents, we often take on so much responsibility and guilt. I know I do. I feel like I have to be strong for my kids and feel guilty when I can’t always hold it together. I’m so sorry your daughter is experiencing such difficulties. It is good that you can be there for each other. I hope your days get more manageable and that you continue to find comfort and support. This is a great forum for being able to share with others who truly understand. I have marveled at how much comfort strangers can give to each other. When I was in the hospital waiting room (all alone )while my husband was undergoing what was supposed to be a routine surgery and the surgeon came out and told me that it was an inoperable cancer and was terminal, a stranger in the waiting room just held me and hugged me and spoke to me as I sobbed. (The surgeon was long gone after dropping this bombshell) I wish I could offer you the same kind of comfort in this time of grief. Wishing you peace and sending a big virtual hug. Jane2

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Hi Jane, I recall getting the news about my husband too. We were together and he was actually physically fit at this point. He had been fitting my kitchen the day before! Unknown to him the surgeon asked me to sign a DNR while George was still in recovery after having a stoma done. Luckily my friend was with me. It was really kind of that stranger to hold you. Typical surgeon (no matter how great they are) don’t always have the best bedside manner ( I know that from my previous job) to drop a life changing bombshell like that and leave. I’ve never relished the task of giving bad news and working in Accident and Emergency, I gave plenty. It’s a very different thing being on the receiving end though. Anyway, we have to deal with what we have, the best way we can and while we have done our utmost, we still punish ourselves by asking if we could have done more. As I said we’re only human and we need to be kind to ourselves now x sending hugs to you and your family x

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