Struggling with feelings, not the situation


I have grown up as a carer for both my siblings, and am the eldest of us by a slim margin. The youngest has recently passed away very suddenly, and I’m finding that the overwhelming feeling I have is not anger or sadness but relief - then guilt for the relief.

I honestly think this is the kindest way that life could have handled any of this. I had moved away some years ago and was already struggling with feeling guilty for not being closer to help and for essentially caring at a distance for both my mother and my two siblings to the point that I would often call social work despite being at the other end of the country. On top of that, I have been mentally preparing my whole adult life for the eventuality that my mum would pass and I would need to come back to care for my sibling (the other is actually really capable and wouldn’t have needed me back permanently) as we had no other options, with almost zero social work input despite his needs.

I am sad. I don’t feel like this is an okay situation. But I do feel like it’s kindest for everyone. My mum is better equipped to cope, my sibling would not have coped with the reverse scenario and it would have been incredibly painful and difficult for everybody involved. It being sudden is also something I genuinely think is for the best as he would have had difficulty understanding anything drawn out and again, it would have been incredibly painful and difficult for everybody involved, more so than the shock.

I’m just really relieved at the same time as being sad that I don’t have to be constantly on edge and ready to give up the rest of my adult life after having given up (though not really had an option, which I don’t resent that’s just the situation as it was) my childhood. And I feel so so guilty for feeling that. I can’t see anyway that it’s okay to feel like that. I can’t find any grief counselling or advice or help that suggests anything about relief except for on this site. Anger, depression etc yes but nowhere does relief seem to be okay. There’s absolutely no way I can talk to my mum about this, as she’ll just get angry about it.

I can’t even process as I’m still in carer mode for my other sibling and for my mum, and I can’t find a way to slip out of it into a mental mode where I can have my feelings and look after me. I haven’t grown up to do that. I don’t go back home for another month at least, and I don’t think I can switch out until then and am worried everything will flood in at that stage and I won’t be able to start healing.

I’m rambling on, sorry. I just needed the outlet. And I’m sorry if this is really inappropriate or upsetting to anybody.

After years of caring for my brain damaged son and 4 elderly disabled parents, when I wasn’t in good health, it was a huge relief to me and my sons when the last one died. As they became increasingly unwell they just didn’t see how much we were doing for them. The stress killed my lovely husband, he died at the age of 58 from a massive heart attack. You did your best for your family, it takes a long time to recover. Normally I would suggest going away for a holiday or beauty treatments to help you relax. You can’t hurry the mix of feelings. Write them down for your eyes only, and in time you will see progress and change. Maybe find a qualified private counsellor and invest in a few sessions, it certainly helped me offload some feelings in a gentle way that I was comfortable with. Be kind to yourself.

I had the surge of relief when my much loved husband died. He was very poorly with a bowel issue, had vascular dementia in later stages. My younger daughter’s first words to me through her sobbing, was I feel so guilty at the relief I’m feeling. Because we loved him so much, it was heartbreaking watching him decline so rapidly, knowing it was terminal and short of a miracle he wasn’t going to improve. He is much missed, the person he was before dementia etc started slowly taking him away.
I’ve had the usual thoughts, of I should/ could have done more for him, but in reality I,or my family couldn’t.