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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Guilty Heart

A person all alone with a giant shadow standing over them.

Have you ever felt so much guilt that it feels like it will consume you? You feel like you should have made a different decision but then you would feel guilty for that choice too. That is how I have been feeling these past few months. My decision to place Mom in hospice has been weighing on me ever since I signed the papers, did I make the right decision?

They keep telling me that she is acting the way she should at this stage of her disease but I can’t get rid of this feeling of guilt over the decisions I have made to ease her pain and discomfort. I know what I am feeling is normal for the position I find myself in. The decision maker regarding my Mother’s health. I know the decision to place her in hospice was so that she could receive the pain medication that would give her some relief but I wonder if I had waited a bit longer; maybe she would have still been here with us instead of lost in the grip of the morphine.

My niece looks at me with anger and disdain. She thinks that I should visit Mom more often. She doesn’t realize that every time I walk down the hallway towards Mom’s room, that I am assaulted with all sorts of doubts and questions. A heavy sense of responsibility weighs down upon my shoulders. If I could pass this torch, I would do so gladly. If you have ever felt like I do when placed in the position of decision maker for a family member, let me know in the comments.

The definition of guilt in words.

I receive a phone call from the hospice chaplain almost weekly. He asks if I have any questions about Mom and at the end of the call, he always says he is here for not just Mom but for the whole family as well. Is it wrong to not want to hear the age-old platitudes that he probably does by rote now? I just can’t bring myself to discuss my feelings where it concerns my Mother. People usually don’t understand that when they say “we know you love her, it must be hard.” They have just brought up another thing I feel guilty about because I honestly don’t love her. I respect her as my mother but I stopped loving her long ago.

People tell me that I must love her because of everything I do for her. I do what I do out of obligation as the eldest child, not out of love. I do what I do because it was one of the last things my Dad asked of me before he died. If I do anything out of love, it is because of how much I loved my Dad.

This awakens all new questions in my mind. I sometimes think I don’t know how to love. I never was shown what true love looked like. I know my Dad loved us because he didn’t say it all the time. He preferred to show us and when he said the actual words, he truly meant them. Mom, on the other hand, said it all the time but didn’t show it much, if at all. Dad was a giver and Mom was the taker but that subject can wait for another post. This one is not about love, it is about guilt over feeling how I truly feel. Guilt over decisions I have made, and the fact that I am tired of having it eat away at me. How do I get past these feelings so that I can go on with my life without it weighing me down?

How do you live with guilt and how it affects the decisions you have made or maybe the indecisiveness that it brings? Or does that fall more under the feeling of fear?

Let me know what makes you feel guilty or how do you define love? I hope this week will let you love freely and laugh often.

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