Guilt and Regrets

A nice quote from the owner of a caregivers’ site, in response to a daughter struggling with guilt after her mom’s death:

Every caregiver here has some major regrets – something we wish we could go back in time and do over; do RIGHT. But if we actually were able to do that, those different decisions, those RIGHT decisions would only lead to new situations; new decisions to be made, and new mistakes would be made. Maybe worse mistakes. Caregiving is not an exact science – we aren’t doctors, we have absolutely no medical training and since it isn’t taught in school, the only way to learn is to DO. Everyone knows that any time you start a new job you’re going to make some mistakes – the problem with caregiving is that this new job has a direct effect on people we love, so there is a lot riding on every move we make. So when we do make a mistake, it hurts us long after our loved one has forgiven us or died.

If you had been the one in the hospital, and your mother had been your advocate, and made the same mistakes you made, would you be mad at her? Would you be glad to see her crying and asking you to forgive her for being careless and stupid? And when she asked you to forgive her, would you say, “I’m sorry, I just can’t.”? No. You would say, “There’s nothing to forgive – you did your best under stressful circumstances. You were there for me and just knowing that you loved me and were trying to help me made it more bearable.”


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