I feel unexpectedly guilty

Moving Mum into the Care Home has been harder than I thought it would be.  She’s used to staying there when I’m not around so, while I was on holiday, everything was ok. But since I’ve been back, things have been very difficult. Mum really wants to Go Home. I understand that, and if there were any way that could be arranged, I would do it. But she can no longer look after herself – and I can no longer look after her.

Every time I see her, we have the same upsetting conversation. How I have to have an operation and need her to be safe and looked after in the Home. She insists that she could manage on her own and has to be reminded that she hasn’t done that for several years. Eventually, she accepts that there’s no alternative. But the problem is, she forgets the conversation. So next time I visit, we have to have the same conversation all over again.

She grasps at straws. Can she go and live with my Brother? I explain that, while she could go and live in a Care Home near him, it’s impossible for her to go and live in his house. I’ve been visiting her every two or three days (and have arranged for one of her former carers to visit twice a week on days I miss) but she forgets I’ve been in.  Last week my brother actually came for his first visit. Mum cried. She told us ‘I won’t make it if I have to stay here! Abandoned by my own children!’

She’s never been a particularly maternal type of mother. In fact, she’s often been hurtful and self-centred. But even so, such scenes tug at my heart strings. She’s 97 in three weeks, so she’s unlikely to go on for that much longer wherever she lives – but of course she’d like to spend her last years in her Own Home. But the only reason she’s been able to stay there as long as she has done, is because I gave up my life in London and moved down here. And yet I still feel tremendously guilty. I feel guilty towards the Ancestors: my father, my mother’s sisters. I feel like I need them to forgive me for putting mum in the Home.

After three years of full time care-giving, I was struggling and overwhelmed. The work was unrelenting, the stress enormous. I’d developed my own health problems. I’m sure the Ancestors know this! But even so I still feel bad.

Up till now, it’s been me who made the sacrifices; it was me who gave up my home to look after mum. I didn’t think of it in that way because I didn’t think I had any choice. Now I don’t think I have any choice but to settle her in the Care Home. So I really did not expect to feel soooo guilty!

On the other hand, I did have a really great holiday in Crete and Santorini so I am feeling a lot better than I was before I went!


3 thoughts on “I feel unexpectedly guilty

  1. You don’t need to feel guilty! In fact quite the opposite as you’ve done so much for your mother at some cost, mental, physical etc to yourself. Well done for being so self-sacrificing; and practise distancing yourself from her unthinking comments about Going Home which can’t be helped. My sister in law has endured the same situation and comments from her mother but spoken more angrily for a long time. To be endured!

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  2. You have done what you think is to the best interest for both parties so you should not feel guilty about “abandoning” her. I am sure she is well-looked after in the Care Home. My cousin’s husband suffered from the same illness and she, too, suffered mentally, emotionally and health-wise in her efforts to care for him At Home. When she started to suffer from severe depression and talked about ending her own life, her children realised that it was time to place their father in a Care Home. Like you, my cousin had all these guilt feelings especially when her husband would ask for her everytime someone went to visit him in the Care Home. For the sake of her health and sanity, her daughters persuaded her to sell their luxury home in Canberra and move to Melbourne, leaving one daughter in Canberra to be near her father.

    All things considering, you are a good and dutiful daughter to visit your mother so regularly in the Care Home. You are doing your best in a very challenging situation and your mother is so lucky she is to have you as her daughter. Accept that your mother is going to keep asking to go home and accuse you of all kinds of hurtful things. She is not responsible for what she says. Just let her be and make the best of your time together. There is no reason to feel guilty.


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