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A Daughter's Grief: I can't be given another chance to be there

[This is a response to my post of 1/13/03. Myrt replied to the Circle list on 1/15/03. It is reproduced here with her kind permission. -- Robert Young, Webmaster]

a woman in grief Dear Friends,

Since reading Robert's first posting on this subject, I have done a lot of remorseful and very sad thinking of my owns dads death 32 years ago, and my moms death 10 years ago.

Daddy had retired at 65 and he and mom lived in a retirement duplex, and he died 2 years later at 67. A shock for all of us! He had a heart attack at 66 which the docs did not think he would pull through but he did, but then died very suddenly a year later, of another heart attack.

They were supposed to be going on a 10 hour bus trip to my sisters that day, December 22 for Christmas, as that was how well he was, till that last day. No warning of this coming at all. No good-byes, and thank-you's were given from me thanking him for being there, always defending me.

I took it all for granted that he would be around for a long long time yet.

My poor mother who had never lived alone was suddenly left on her own. She had no idea on how to cope. Daddy had always been there for mom, and she was not at all prepared to have to live on her own. I don,t think they had ever even discussed this part of life with out him. I think she was too scared to think that way.

She did have a very strong connection to her church and without her beliefs, I do not know how she could not have gone on. The church also found her a girl who was looking for a room and this girl was asked to stay with mom for 1 month.

I was no help to my mother as I was so wrapped up with my unhappy marriage and 4 children at that time (more later) and not knowing the ways to grieve for my own father just put me deeper into my own dark hell of despair. My husband at that time and I usually got drunk on weekends and fought, so you can see why I could not help my mother, when I could not even help my own self.

I was also angry at my mother for my own childhood, and I secretly blamed mom for daddy's death in many ways as I had never seen her make the effort of making his life happy too often. I thought she nagged him steadily. He was the one that bought her tea and porridge to bed every morning since his retirement, and he did everything to please her is what I remembered.

One month after daddy's death, mom was asked to move out of her duplex and into a retirement center on the other side of town, as the management needed her space for another couple. Another blow to her. She was so scared, and being as she never had many friends of her own as it was always daddy who was the happy whistling person, so it was very painful, and very frightening for a woman her age to have to start all over again in a new environment.

Again I was no help to her. Many times she would phone and I found her phone calls so depressing all about how she missed daddy and that she wanted to die too, and got tired of hearing all about her back pains etc etc so most of the time would tell one of the kids to say I would call her back as I was busy, which I rarely did.

Mom was alone for 22 years with-out daddy before she finally died too, after being in extended care for 8 years. Her spirit had never healed from losing daddy. She said daily how much she missed him.

Eight or 9 years before her death she was in the hospital and to this day I am not too sure what happened, (The doc told my sister something about screwing up giving her a blood transfusion, lack of oxygen or something like that.) Anyway she never came back out and was eventually moved over to extended care, as she lost most of her mind, which was maybe a good thing. We had moved far away by this time, and I would do the daughter thing and go see her once a year. Whoopie!!

She thought I was either her nurse or her sister most of the time anyway, so yes this did make it easier for me.

It eased my guilt somewhat.

Before she went to extended care and after years of being alone and a very, very lonely woman who never missed mass, she gave a lot of her time to the heart society and helped raise money for different things there, as well she sold Avon products. But she was far from being happy, as she never got over losing daddy and missing him. She grieved till the day she went to extended care, and like I said I don,t even think she knew her own name then. My brother and family lived quite close to her and visited her or took her to their place on Sundays for dinner, so that made me feel somewhat better with my own guilt and resentments. She was in a wheelchair the last few years, and complained steadily about her back.

My daddy has been dead for 32 years. My youngest son was born 2 years after he died so he never got a chance to meet his wonderful granddad. But he did know his grandma and loved her dearly, even though he had not been raised around her.

She has been dead now for 10 years, and the sadness in my heart for missing her comes and goes almost every day. I don't miss my daddy as much as my mother.

Since losing mother, I have come to terms with her at last, and I talk to her now, like I wish I could have talked to her while she was alive. I see her now as a loving caring person who only wanted the best for her daughter. She did not have the skills to raise a troubled daughter like I was. I guess probably inside I hated her for not understanding my pain as a child, so I grew up with this hate and resentment towards her. I took it upon myself many times to make her life as miserable as mine was.

I can't be given another chance to be there for my grieving mother.

The guilt I felt while reading Robert's story has really affected me this past couple days. I have had a hard time sleeping even.

Since my dad died 32 years ago, I have divorced my kid's dad and married George. Mom did not believe in divorce but she loved George after she got to know him, but of course I still was staying away from her.

There's nothing I can do about this guilt, and I know my mother forgives me as she tells me this, but you know what? I can't get back these years. I am so very grateful that my anger has left me though, as that was a real tough one living in so much anger that I was for all of those years. (My childhood, my marriage, my drinking days of misery and fighting, my mother etc etc.) I sort of blamed the world, because I had no other skills on how to deal with this hand I held.

I believe that daddy and mother are in a great place together now and I can be happy over that. But not being there for my own mother when she lost daddy well there is nothing I can do over that, so I gotta let it go. I thought I had till I got so teared up after reading Robert's letter.

If only I could have let all my family resentments go while my loved ones were still alive and try to work things out by saying I was sorry, and asking for forgiveness, as well as forgiving her. I didn't know how. It is as simple as that.

I've learned so much since then and if only I could be given 5 minutes to turn back the clock to my mother and look her in the eyes and say, "Thank you, mother, for loving me as I know now how to love you." But I can't.

I will feel this new guilt that has just surfaced since reading Robert's letter for a little while, then I will ask it to go. I know that all emotions are good, and I won't harbor this one too long. I also will be able to totally forgive myself, as I have forgiven her.

Thank you, Robert, for sharing your story and for letting me share mine as it is a healing process for me as well.

Love and White Light,


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