Sunday, 23 September 2007

Guilt


I was having a bit of an email chat earlier, with a friend, and started talking about how guilty I feel about things.
It's not something I let out, very often. And when I do, the usual response is "But it isn't your fault."
I know that, but I can't help feeling how I do. And I'm fairly sure you'd feel the same in my situation.

My mum has early onset alzheimers.
She was diagnosed around two years ago, in 2005, just after I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. But she hadn't been 'quite right' for a while.
Before I moved into my new flat, I lived with my parents. And much as I really do hate to admit it, the situation with my mum was one of the main reasons I moved out.

I love my mum to bits, and get along with my parents extremely well. We've become even closer since my cancer diagnosis. But the whole situation with my mum was really having an effect on my, already delicate (thanks to cancer), state of mind.
I felt guilty when I was at home, because I didn't feel I was doing enough with her. Or enough to help my dad (who's now her full time carer. He gave up his job to care for her). But I was struggling to cope with my mum's condition, aswell as my own.
Cue feeling selfish, aswell as guilty.

Now I've moved out (and don't get me wrong, I'm still loving having my own space, and I do feel I've done the right thing), I feel guilty for not spending as much time with my parents.

I also feel guilty for putting my family (and friends) through all my cancer crap.
This is the bit where people tend to say "But it isn't your fault. You can't do anything about it."
I know that, but I feel like I'm letting people down.
Not only does my dad have my mums illness to deal with. He also has mine.
The chances are that he'll lose his wife to alzheimers, and his daughter to cancer.
I'm very aware that this may not be too far into the future. And I wonder how on earth my dad's going to cope, if both of these happen close together.
I feel guilty for putting him in that position.

I'm writing this here, because no-one's being forced to read it.
I'm not offloading my guilt onto anyone. Just putting it out there in the ether.

1 comment:

Kitty said...

We are funny beasts aren't we petal? Obviously I can't relate to cancer, but I am able to relate to you on the guilt issue. First of all with my ME diagnosis, and then the hydrocephalus diagnosis. It feels utterly wrong to put your loved ones through all the worry, especially parents. My mums blood pressure can be gauged on a daily basis-if she rings me and I say I don't feel well I can almost hear it going through the roof. Dad copes with it all better, so I've developed a selective technique whereby I tell Dad important stuff and Mum the bare minimum, that way she doesn't have so much to wittle about. But I think the one thing that having a chronic illness taught me was that sometimes people feel obligated to you when you have one..the ex and I would have split up much sooner had I not had to go into hosppital etc. Looking back the break up doesn't hurt me half as much as the realisation that he was with me because he felt he couldn't have ended it at that time. It was made all the more obvious after my return to work, if you remember I'd only been back at work a short time before he announced that he wanted things to end. It must have been a terrible burden for him looking back..so yes, I can relate to this post about the way you feel so responsible for other peoples emotions. You will feel guilty about it, and there's not much point feeling guilty about feeling guilty. All you can do my love is just accept it-it sucks I agree, but alas, it cannot be fixed. Now go and put the kettle on and make a brew will ya? xxx