My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Especially for parents whose sons or daughters died by suicide.

My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby Johnsmom » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:48 pm

Greetings, Well today my John would have turned 28 - he took his life almost 5 years ago at 23. I feel it is all my fault. There's a story behind that me telling him he should apply for a job at the rec center because the kids loved him, all 6 feet 5 inches and 400 lbs of him! He was great with kids - anyway. That day I told him on my way to work as I was headed out the door. Then about 4 or so I called his dad at home and asked him to wake him up so he had time to go apply for the job. It was part time and was 1 block away. When I got home that night I found him, dead, and if I had not called and bothered him perhaps he'd be here today. Note: none of his whole family even our extended family or friends thought he was capable of suicide. It never crossed our minds. So, my question to you moms and dads out there - do you feel guilty? And if you do, how do you cope? I am have the hardest time with this. People say "he made the decision" that I had nothing to do with it but if I had not made that call???? What then??? I hate this feeling, I miss him terribly. Helen - John's mom
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Re: My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby Hurt » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:24 am

Helen of course we all feel a sense of guilt when someone we love leaves like that. We get caught up in the "what ifs" of the situation trying to find answers. The problem with that is that the only person that can truly answer those what if questions is gone. There must have been something more to his decision than just you call. And the others are right, it was his decision, he must have been in a very dark place to have thought that was his only option. They can hide this very well though, they don't want us to see it. If he would have come forward to you and said how he was feeling you would have helped him, right? How were you to know if he didn't tell you? So stop beating yourself up over the call. It's natural to hurt and miss him, it's something we all have to work through and keep working through. Take care.
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Re: My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby Blossom » Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:16 am

Dear Johnsmom, I'm very sorry for the loss of your son. We too lost our son, a few months after your loss. Our circumstances were different but I have at times, burned with guilt. A mother's guilt. It seems to be built in. This has changed somewhat over time. I know that unpacking this experience at a time when I was ready....or in bits as they arose, or in doses I could bear, were ways of working through, so to speak.

I wanted to write to let you know that when I put 'guilty' in the search box on the top right of the page, it came up with 45 pages of posts where 'guilty' was mentioned. For some reason the word 'guilt' was too common to warrant a search by the software.... I dearly hope that at the right time and in the right ways you find some insights that help this terribly difficult loss of John.

How did I cope? I don't think I did. It did help when someone was brave enough to say that I had given my son a wonderful childhood...such a simple notion disappeared the day he died. I could not see any light, so that comment carried so much weight - more than that person could have imagined. * I hear motherly love and concern in your words.

The 'bad mother' zone is so so so crappy. Really hard to live with. Every mum here knows it... and dad, and daughter and son and friend....all with different circumstances and all leading to guilt. For me, now, it mostly disappears or sits in the background. When I am tired or emotional, it pops up and my not-so-better self uses it to self-flagellate. These days I actually do this AND watch at the same time and KNOW it is happening. Like I said, crappy, but being both punisher and punished doesn't quite have a cancelling out effect for me, but it certainly weakens and shortens the time in the bad mother zone.

I can't and don't want to reason you out of this - it has helped me to share this problem with a counsellor - someone who will listen. It seems to me that in being heard, my mother's guilt did not get fixed but somehow began to find a way to be 'held' by the stronger me....the one who does not banish these feelings, but takes care of them if I am able. It's been hard, Johnsmom. No sense of achievement there, just utter relief that there are some moments of peace. I care not how those moments of peace come to me these days, but I do try to be fairly quiet within them.

Ok, I shared. I wonder if I stopped making sense a while back? Please take care. It IS a long journey. You sound such a loving mother.You are not alone on this journey.
Blossom x

If nothing else, give refuge to those in need.
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Re: My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby cmarie » Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:24 pm

Helen, the guilt is so difficult isn't it?
Three things have helped me- the first like Hurt described - is knowing with absolute certainty that if I had known the pain Liam was in, I would have moved heaven and earth to save him. That does help for a while... And then I feel guilty about not having known. I was his mum- I should've known.
Second the difference between regret and guilt. Somehow classifying the feelings that I might label guilt as regret makes them more bearable.
Finally, my brain works in such a way that I can at times say to myself - it's done. You can't change it. These feelings are hurtful, damaging and a waste of time. Stop them. And sometimes it works.
And sometimes there is nothing that works, and we just have to feel the feelings to the depths of their awfulness.
Take care
I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be.
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Re: My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby Johnsmom » Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:24 pm

I want to thank you all for responding. I am seeing a therapist and she's given me a few skills to work on. Next week we do the "guilt" wishes, wants, worries is what it is called. If I feel it may help I'll pass it along. Thanks again for listening to me and as always I take all of your advice to heart.
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Re: My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby Hurt » Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:54 pm

Keep us posted and well wishes headed your way.
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Re: My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby jimsmom » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:23 pm

In therapy, I'm working on living in the present or what they call mindfulness skills (PTSD Intensive Program.) What we are being told to remember that we cannot ruminate on the past or worry about the future as we have to live in the here and now. I know much easier said than done. My son Jim has been gone for 4 years and 2 months yet the pain is so deep and so strong; there are times it takes away my breath to remember that he is gone forever. I can actually feel my heart drop. I'll never know why and I will always live with the what if's and if only's. Living one day at a time - sometimes one hour at a time - and at worst one minute at a time.

Sending hugs and well wishes your way.

Jim's mom
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Re: My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby Johnsmom » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:08 pm

Right back at ya! I feel as you do and it's one day at a time...

(((hugs)))
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Re: My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby briansfolks » Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:06 pm

Yes there is guilt, guilt for not helping your child be a stronger person. You thought you did your best but it wasn't enough. You have guilt for not speaking up and doing something to help them when they were being emotional hurt by their spouse. You thought you should just stay out of it and then now you say to yourself I should have intervened and said something! I have guilt I wasn't there in time. YES YOU HAVE GUILT! It will be there for me forever! I have cried everyday for almost three years! Not sure you can recover from this, I know I will not! The thought of my son being in such deep sadness before his death is a nightmare!
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Re: My guilt and how did YOU cope?

Postby Johnsmom » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:09 pm

Hello Briansfolks, I am sorry, I hope I didn't upset you too much. After speaking with my therapist she wondered who else I kept up with and I told her this place. She asked if I would ask how others have coped and about guilt... this is what we are working on now for the last few weeks actually. So thank you for your response and again I'm sorry I upset you.
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