Six months on still feeling so guilty


Dad died on 4th July last year on his 91 at birthday the last few months of his life were awful and the last 4 weeks were in a home as my husband and I could no longer cope, how on earth do I move on from the guilt my head tells me I could not have done anymore but my heart feels so guilty I have tried keeping busy and decorated a lot of the house but whenever I stop and am on my own I just go over and over in my head how awful the last few weeks were for him! will it ever stop ??? Dad lived with us for 9 years and I just feel so lost as even before that since my mum died 19 years ago I have supported Dad more and more until at end I did everything for him.

Sheena, going over and over things is a natural part of the grieving process.
I had counselling when overwhelmed with demands from competing carees. My counsellor told me not to feel guilty of what I couldn’t do, but PROUD of what I could do. Every time the Guilt Monster rears his ugly head, say to yourself that you are going to feel proud of what you did.
You really loved dad and did your very best, but at the end of someone’s life it is to be expected that they will need 24/7 care from a team of carers, not just one exhausted daughter.
Either you pay the price, in terms of frailty, for living a very long life, as dad did.
Or you feel they were short changed, as my husband was. He died at 58 from a heart attack, I shall always believe that the stress of caring for all four parents, plus our brain damaged son, was a major contributory factor.
Just imagine when dad would have gone into residential care if he didn’t have a loving daughter, or you lived the other side of the world.
Like you, I found one of the biggest problems was not being able to sit quietly on my own without all these thoughts going round and round like a tumble dryer full. I promise you that one day, it will be fine again. I joined the widows forum, Way Up and we all agreed that the “six month low” was the very worst time - and it’s more or less 6 months for you now. It’s a horrible “normal” part of grieving.
Now is the time to take a step forward towards a happy future. When did you last have a holiday? Go to an evening class? The gym?
Google “Balls in a Jar Theory”. It’s very appropriate.

Sheena. My husband died last May, 4days after his 74th birthday. He had been in a nursing home for nearly 4years but died in hospital. I still have the feelings of guilt. Realistically, I don’t know what else I or my family could have done for him. He had visits most days from one of us. I went every other day. Have to tell myself that if I hadn’t had the days in-between, then I would have completely broken. It’s convincing myself that is the case! We have to teach ourselves that we did all we could, and the person we want the reassurance from isn’t around to tell us!! If it’s any help, the negative feelings are very slowly getting less.Rear their ugly head at the most odd times. I loved my husband very much and am starting to accept it’s part of the process. You will too I’m sure.

Hello and welcome!

Do not feel bad. When did you last have a break? My caree is still very young but I have just booked a spa weekend for June of 2020 without him or the new baby. My partner will watch both kids for two nights whilst I am away. Even if it is just half a day meeting a friend at the theater or treating yourself to ice cream it counts. I love my me time.

Are you seeing a counsellor or not? I highly recommend it. Seriously. During my first year of caring I kept a diary to describe my feelings and also saw a therapist once a week. It helped me cope. See if you can find a local counsellor. There is no reason to feel bad anymore. Release your feelings.

We are not invincible. Far from it. Avoid beating yourself up.

Make the most of your new free time. What are your hobbies? Do you enjoy art? If so maybe try to attend a art class. The local library can help combat isolation. Often times you can find some prospectuses from colleges describing their adult education classes. Go down to your nearest library and just pick one up. Alternatively, take a look at the college website. Are you a member of your local gym? Joining might be a wise idea. Exercise is helpful for grief.

Thank you all for you helpful thoughts sometimes we all need a little support helped tremendously on a rough day hopefully I may get less of those days soon

Yes, it’s horrible, but soon it will be seven months, then eight, and it will very slowly get better. Now you must find some interesting things for you to test to see if you like it. A play, a trip to the theatre, a coach trip for the day. After each experiment, ask yourself if you liked it enough to do it again, or hated it! Gradually you will find what the “new me” likes doing.

Hi Sheena
I don’t post on here that often these days but I felt so much of your post overlapped that I must try and get you to see things differently. My Dad passed away 2 years ago at the age of 91, almost 92 so I usually round it up to 92. I lived with him and cared for him through years of various ailments and the last 2 or 3 particularly bad and difficult for Dad and for me. I “gave up” and put him into residential care for the last 3 weeks of his life but I view this very differently. He needed that extra 24 hour attention at the end and the time I the visiting was better quality time than if I had been tearing my hair out at home and losing it with stress. From a selfish point of view I didn’t want Dad dieing at home as I didn’t want to have that final memory at home where I would continue to live every day. I have a peaceful memory of visiting Dad at the home after he had passed but it is not a shiver every time I walk into a room at home.
You should feel imensely proud that you gave your Dad a home life and a family right up to 91. Few people could ask for more. Stop beating yourself up with guilt and see it for what it is- grief. Once you accept this it will be easier to move on and handle life’s challenges with the wisdom you got through your years of caring.

Hi Sheena. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your dad and the pain you’re going through.
Your dad would not have wanted you to feel guilty. You did a marvellous job looking after him. You must have made lots of sacrifices during the years you cared for him.
Now it is time to move on.
There are 2 things that have helped me through bereavement of a loved one.
1 Talking. Talk, talk and talk! There is a Bereavement support group called CRUSE. You can talk to them on the phone if you like. The number is 08088081677.
2 Music and singing also lifted my mood.
Plus you could find out if there is a local Community Centre nearby which provides activities.
I really hope this has helped.