Sunday, February 8, 2009

Did I Do enough?

So it's over two years since Mom finally passed peacefully away and I'm finally getting used to the idea and feeling good about the things I was able to do for her during her last, dark years. No more guilt and no more regrets. It has taken all this time.

Before she died, a friend who had been down a similar path with his mother said this to me: "Bob, no matter how much you have done for her, when she dies you will feel like you didn't do enough." I listened respectfully and thought: 'Not me. I've been there for her through all the trying stunts she pulled as her mind and temperament went down the tubes.'

He was right, of course. From the moment the last shovel full of earth fell on her coffin until just a few months ago, I was hit with full fledged guilt for all the squandered opportunities to do even more for her—that I didn't do. The more that time passed, the more my memory focused on positive things in our mutual past and the less clearly I recalled the negatives—and the guiltier I felt.

There's no help for it. So I'll say to you what was said to me: "No matter how much you have done for your loved one, when death finally comes you will probably feel like you didn't do enough."

If it happens to you, roll with it. I'm told now by experts in caregiving that it's a common feeling and that it passes. I can now say it's true.

It passes!

Bob Tell
Author, "Dementia-Diary, A Caregiver's Journal"