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I don't deserve to grieve.

Neverthesame

MyPTSD Pro
I don't do well with death. Probably no one really does. Besides I like to feel guilty about things apparently.

OK enough stalling.

Mum was diagnosed with her third cancer three and a half years ago, she went to the doctor about some swelling in her leg and came back with stage 4 lung cancer.

Right about this time Covid happened. Mum started on an experimental immune therapy. Long story on it's own I'll put it somewhere else later. Maybe I'll unlock my diary, or not, I dunno I'll figure it out later. Anyways...

I stupidly managed to convince myself that the right thing to do was to not get near her too much as she was immune compromised.
She then spent a month and a bit locked in hospital, no one was allowed to see her. Covid.

She came home for a bit before going to hospice. I did visit her there, it was so hard to be there. I didn't see her as much as I could have.

Here I am three years later and feel horrible about it all.
I have not been able to let myself even cry over her death.
The thought that goes through my head when I feel the grief coming up is. Pardon my language here;

"You pathetic f*ck. How dare you? You couldn't even face her now you want to feel bad about it? f*ck off and eat this, it's the least you deserve."

Good ol' internal monologue, can always count on it to cheer me up. Ha.

Am I wrong? Should I feel bad about this? I just don't know.

I need to figure out something, this won't go away by itself.
 
Am I wrong? Should I feel bad about this? I just don't know.
The idea of what we "should" feel seems to get kind of complicated. It sounds like you DO feel bad about it and that seems reasonable to me. "Feelings" aren't my best thing, but I think it makes more sense to accept them and try to understand them then to judge them as right or wrong. Feelings just ARE. (Or aren't.0

That internal critic seems to be awfully harsh. Where does that voice come from?
 
@Neverthesame , I do remember you, even if you don't remember me (Junebug). I am so sorry for what's occurred and your loss. I liked your post not because of such sad news but because I can relate, though Idk if I can express it right. Just totally disregard if this isn't helpful. Plus a wall of text, OMG. 😞

My dad had his life ended prematurely and i didn't intervene- but it was by days not months or years. It caused horrific guilt, I felt as a murderer. (Didn't help my classmates said he was 'old'- he didn't even have gray hair!) Many years later I realized it equated to (also) feeling it would be quite justified or 'proper' if I had a violent death. My mom had kind of your mom's experience though it was spontaneous rare arthritis instead of leg swelling, but stage 4 relatively rare type spread to mediastinal nodes and big as a man's hand, 1 inch from her heart. Two of us took care of her, but she called me a pest (trying to find something that would turn it around). In retrospect I felt more shame than guilt. My aunt (we cared for, then palliative) I sometimes visited when she was in the hospital but it got to the point I couldn't stay long, which produced more guilt. The weekend prior to dying on tuesday was the only one I didn't come- she went unresponsive and they didn't call. Did not stay monday night there (sister said we needed sleep), was able to say goodbye tuesday and she could communicate with hand signals. (Very lucky but still felt guilt, even though we had cared for her at home over 2 1/2 years, she had been given 6 weeks to 6 months). Sister then went to hospice, like with your mom they had also a travel ban, got a bit of money and lifted ban but I did not go. My friend I trust said I should go. I knew he was right, but couldn't bring myself to even though I wanted to see her desperately. Partly because I feared the other relative there, partly because like you said "(I) couldn't show up". Cousin then died of cancer and covid here; his family weren't allowed in either. But truth be known if I could have I might have not gone (cue the guilt).

I am not saying any of this to say my own 'stuff' (I am sorry to even include it), only to illustrate how it has raised it's head. After so many years what comes to me is this (and God knows I've struggled plenty with it), as I said to someone yesterday, we can only make the best decision we can, within it's context and including our own internal and external factors that we can at the time. If she had caught something from you and died, you would feel like you caused it. You don't mention what your relationship was like, but it is obvious you loved her very much because you couldn't go, not the opposite. Seeing someone and especially who you love deteriorate is also traumatizing, and it's a sort of 'giving up'. Something mentally that's very hard to do (as she wasn't doing an experimental treatment for nothing). Just as equally there are some of us wired that way- and I dare say we are the ones feeling more, not less. Feeling so much we must involuntarily numb out and avoid, whether it be thoughts, or presence. One thing I can say with absolute certainty is I feel you loved her completely, and she you. When people are ill their time stops too. And sometimes they too don't know how to have people around them. But I've met very few who expect someone to be there all the time. Did she appreciate when you were there? Of course. But I bet she really appreciated the fact you had a relationship long before she was diagnosed. I hope you will remember that that counts for much, nearly everything. When someone is not so close it's easy or easier to visit; easy to go to a funeral; easy to cry. I have rarely cried either. It is hard to cry when it feels like a part of yourself is what you are crying over. Because that is not only who they were to you/ me, but also I think it comes from the perspective of knowing they were in need, feeling guilty (in my case anyway) I failed them. But in reality it doesn't include the pain and grief (even before death) and trauma you were experiencing. And yes, you were and did.

Idk much but I think your mom could have felt her own guilt at times raising you or over the years. It doesn't take away from the fact it sounds like she loved and trusted you, and therefore would not want you to harm or blame yourself in her name. There was the whole context of a lifetime as a yardstick, not just a few months. And even if the relationship was strained, there is still only the reality that you both could do only the best you could through the times.

I am sorry this is so long, and I am sorry for your loss. Good to have you have you back here, if not for the reason.

ETA, I say this only because I think it's part of my/ your?/ maybe some people's personality or nature and I remember it: when I was little, maybe 3 or 4, it was just pre-Easter and the night and (Holy Crap) we were in the city, I was in bed, and my sisters saw a 3+ foot hare out the window on the lawn (huge). It wasn't a gimic, it was just a freak occurrence. "Wow" they said "Get up! Get up and come see!" They weren't lying, I knew they weren't- and forget it. I said nothing but stayed under the covers. I think it is/was the fear, the reality. Just as equally, I wouldn't be surprised if you have kept most everything you have felt, analyzed, grieved and blamed yourself for to yourself most of your life. If that is the case- me too. But you loved her much, or you wouldn't feel what you do or blame yourself. You can still love her the same and not have the last part in mind too, except to acknowledge it and learn from it. You are human too. You of all people deserve the most to grieve her loss. That is why it's so very hard to.

Hugs to you.
 
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The idea of what we "should" feel seems to get kind of complicated. It sounds like you DO feel bad about it and that seems reasonable to me.

You have a point there.
I suppose the trick is to figure out how to get past the self loathing and accept the situation for what it is.

That internal critic seems to be awfully harsh. Where does that voice come from?
That's been a thing for quite a while now. I'm not sure when it became the only way I speak to myself. But only myself, I would never speak to anyone else like that.
It used to be a way of kicking myself in the butt to get things done. Somewhere along the line it got away from me a tad.

Thanks for the input, its nice to see you again.
 
deserve to grieve? ? ? my inner control freak loves to believe it has enough power to control feelings. but, in sad reality, it only has the power to agitate my inner critic into telling me what an unworthy f*ck i am. not that it takes much to agitate my inner critic into nurturing my self-loathing.

round and round and round i go. . .

i'm approaching the 4th anniversary of the traffic accident which killed my youngest son (35). i'm taking those spins on the psycho merry-go-round as i cue that i need to let myself grieve. again. what does "deserve" have to do with it?
 
I stupidly managed to convince myself that the right thing to do was to not get near her too much as she was immune compromised.
Why stupid? You were trying to protect her during a pandemic. totally Understandable decision.
She then spent a month and a bit locked in hospital, no one was allowed to see her. Covid.
Those were the rules of the time. This was beyond your control.
She came home for a bit before going to hospice. I did visit her there, it was so hard to be there. I didn't see her as much as I could have.
You visited. She knows you loved her. Totally understandable it was hard. I wonder if you can be kind to yourself here? Perhaps, unless you were there 24/7 your inner critic is going to beat you up about this. So maybe there is a way of reframing this for you so you can make peace with the frequency at which you went. Knowing that you know and she knew that you loved her,
here;

"You pathetic f*ck. How dare you? You couldn't even face her now you want to feel bad about it? f*ck off and eat this, it's the least you deserve."
Can you tell your inner critic counter messages? They are wrong. Whatever the counter messages are, and even if you don’t fully believe it. Maybe practising saying the opposite back, it will slowly stop and you will believe the counter messages.
Am I wrong? Should I feel bad about this? I just don't know.
Feel bad about when you saw her? No. Not at all.
let yourself grieve. You have every right to grieve. You didn’t do anything wrong.
 
Somewhere along the line it got away from me a tad.
Yeah! It does that!

For me, I try and coexist with these thoughts, get on with what I need, alongside the inner critic, a lot of the time. Trying to silence it completely, or even more unrealistic, change it to something positive, is way beyond what my self concept is ready for.

So I use thought diffusion. I know what my inner critic thinks and wants to say. I try not to struggle against that. I acknowledge it’s there, and it feels the way it feels.

And then, alongside that, I focus on the other stuff.

For example, your inner critic doesn’t need to be persuaded that you deserve to grieve for you to enter into that process. It can take a bit of practice, and a lot of patience (constantly reminding Brain, “I know what you’re saying, but right now I’m going to focus on X for a moment”).

But the idea would be something like: your inner critic has a problem with you grieving, but alongside that, allowing Inner Critic to yell it’s opinions at you, what did mum mean to you? What are some of your beat memories? What have you lost in your life now that she’s not around? Like a oud distracting noise in the background, can you focus on the conversation even though that noise is there?

Inner Critic is an opinion, not a rule or law. Even though your Inner Critic feels very strongly that you aren’t allowed to grieve, what would happen if you allowed yourself to grieve anyway? Without challenging or changing the Inner Critic…
 
@Tinyflame I remember you as well, good to see you again.

Thanks so much for your message it means alot that you shared that with me.

Just totally disregard if this isn't helpful.
Quite the opposite I assure you.

My mom had kind of your mom's experience though it was spontaneous rare arthritis instead of leg swelling,
It's an awful surprise isn't it? Though I remember having a feeling when she went to the doctor that morning it wasn't going to be good. I didn't expect that though. Sorry you went through something similar.

I sometimes visited when she was in the hospital but it got to the point I couldn't stay long, which produced more guilt.
This. I couldn't make it more than a couple hours at a time. Kicked myself the whole time away. When I was there all I could think about was getting the hell out of that building.

I am not saying any of this to say my own 'stuff' (I am sorry to even include it), only to illustrate how it has raised it's head.
No need to apologize. Again thank you for sharing.

If she had caught something from you and died, you would feel like you caused it.
This is also very true, I would have had it worked out that way.

It doesn't take away from the fact it sounds like she loved and trusted you, and therefore would not want you to harm or blame yourself in her name.
I know this is true. But my brain likes to go back to a conversation we had while her father was dying. Where she stated that she was nervous about me being too uncomfortable in that situation to be able to spend much time with her. I'm sure she really meant about me not visiting her at all, but I can't get it out of my head.

But in reality it doesn't include the pain and grief (even before death) and trauma you were experiencing. And yes, you were and did.
This might sound silly but I never thought of it as trauma, as it is something that pretty much everybody has to go through at some point in their life. It's also something several people have reminded me of over the years now.

I wouldn't be surprised if you have kept most everything you have felt, analyzed, grieved and blamed yourself for to yourself most of your life.
Yep that pretty much sums it up. I'm not good at talking about me.

You've really given me a lot to think about, I wish I was better at articulating my thoughts then I could give you a better response. The truth is it takes me hours to do even this much. Still thank you so much.
 
my inner control freak loves to believe it has enough power to control feelings. but, in sad reality, it only has the power to agitate my inner critic into telling me what an unworthy f*ck i am.
Ain't that the truth. My inner critic is getting very good at coming up with creative ways of telling me off.


round and round and round i go. . .
And round and round and round I go, where it stops only my subconscious knows.


i'm approaching the 4th anniversary of the traffic accident which killed my youngest son (35).
That's awful. I'm so sorry for your loss. Most days I couldn't imagine having children myself, I certainly couldn't imagine losing them.
 
Why stupid? You were trying to protect her during a pandemic. totally Understandable decision.
This is of course correct. Sometimes I forget I'm looking back with the benefit of hindsight.
It's hard to remember that I didn't know I wasn't going to catch Covid until after she passed.
Perhaps, unless you were there 24/7 your inner critic is going to beat you up about this.
This is also a fair point.


Can you tell your inner critic counter messages? They are wrong.
Whenever I try to do this I find I just can't. The best I've been able to do is just stop the internal rant before it goes on for 20 minutes.
 
Trying to silence it completely, or even more unrealistic, change it to something positive, is way beyond what my self concept is ready for.
Yeah that's a problem I've been running into.

So I use thought diffusion. I know what my inner critic thinks and wants to say. I try not to struggle against that. I acknowledge it’s there, and it feels the way it feels.
I have to research this more, it sounds like it's a mindfulness thing. Might be helpful if I can figure out how to do it.
can you focus on the conversation even though that noise is there?
I can try. I don't have much patience for myself these days. I understand this is a process, God knows I've been fighting my brain for one reason or another my whole adult life.
It gets tiring.
Inner Critic is an opinion, not a rule or law.
It gets hard to remember that. I can be very convincing when I want to be.

Even though your Inner Critic feels very strongly that you aren’t allowed to grieve, what would happen if you allowed yourself to grieve anyway? Without challenging or changing the Inner Critic…
I don't know. I have not been able to do it, it's like it's stuck.
I'm great at shoving things down, bad at letting them out.
 
I don't do well with death. Probably no one really does. Besides I like to feel guilty about things apparently.

OK enough stalling.

Mum was diagnosed with her third cancer three and a half years ago, she went to the doctor about some swelling in her leg and came back with stage 4 lung cancer.

Right about this time Covid happened. Mum started on an experimental immune therapy. Long story on it's own I'll put it somewhere else later. Maybe I'll unlock my diary, or not, I dunno I'll figure it out later. Anyways...

I stupidly managed to convince myself that the right thing to do was to not get near her too much as she was immune compromised.
She then spent a month and a bit locked in hospital, no one was allowed to see her. Covid.

She came home for a bit before going to hospice. I did visit her there, it was so hard to be there. I didn't see her as much as I could have.

Here I am three years later and feel horrible about it all.
I have not been able to let myself even cry over her death.
The thought that goes through my head when I feel the grief coming up is. Pardon my language here;

"You pathetic f*ck. How dare you? You couldn't even face her now you want to feel bad about it? f*ck off and eat this, it's the least you deserve."

Good ol' internal monologue, can always count on it to cheer me up. Ha.

Am I wrong? Should I feel bad about this? I just don't know.

I need to figure out something, this won't go away by itself.
Hi,we who suffer from PTSD have an instilled Prosecutor which attacks us when we are most Vulnerable. Do not listen to these voices,they can be very strong.you deserve to feel and if I were you I done the same thing. It is not your fault,she was ill,you did the right things by distancing yourself.i just.recently grieved my dad and he died along time ago. I was too angry at him and it was a very long and painful process. Take time for you,be kind to you.the messages you are having I can Guarantee you are Wrong.you deserve niceness right now.Hugs to you.Take your time processing,it is not easy.been through so much loss myself.Take good care of you.
 
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