• guilt??

    Asked by MsD81 on Tuesday, March 12, 2013


    My 56 year old mother has just been diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to the brain. I live about 2 hours away and have a full time job and feel so guilty that I cant be there with her every second (she's in the hospital). Am I a horrible daughter?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • bbay65's Avatar

      It will be tough, but try not to feel the guilt. Your Mom probably understands your circumstances. If she is like me or my Mom, she would feel worse if you disrupted your life more than necessary. Visit when you can and call when you can't. When I was in the hospital I preferred phone calls sometimes. I could talk as much or as little as I was capable of. Actual visits can be much more tiring. I know she wants to see you, but week-ends may be enough. From your question I know your not a "horrible daughter".

      over 3 years ago
    • SMT4's Avatar

      In situations like this it is easy to feel guilty, but DON'T. I look at it this way from the perspective of your mom she knows you are doing the best you can to be supportive of her and in the way that allows you to do the things necessary to be able to see her and make those travels. When I was going through treatment many of my friends would say they felt bad for not being able to come and visit. I was just as happy with a card, flower, or a phone call to check-in with me. The key is stay connected with her even if you cannot physically hold her hand you can emotionally support her through this time by letting her know you are there for her.
      I agree with bbay65 the very fact that you are concerned about your contribution in your moms care shows you are supportive of her and want the best. And remember be easy on yourself so you can be strong against cancer.

      over 3 years ago
    • krbrowndog's Avatar

      I feel that you need to ask yourself a question first, who is making you think that you are a horrible daughter? Is it you or someone else. If you're making yourself out to be a horrible person due to your inability to be with your mother "every second" (while she's in the hospital) then its you that has to figure out what to do about it. If you are familiar with the "family leave act" you could utilize that and go sit by her side for as long as feasable. which would solve you guilt challenge. Now if it is her or someone else causing you to feel guilty then you would be well served to confront those folks with a statement such as "I feel very guity for not being able to be with my Mother, can you help me figure out a way to be with her?" This would put those people into a thought mode that would make them try to think like you, guilt and all. If it is not possilbe for you to be with your Mother for what ever reason, the fact that you have looked at every option to be with her may help to settle your mind that you have tried to resolve your inablitly to get to her more often. I hope this all makes some sense to you. The bottom line is do your best to be with her and live with the result if you can't.

      over 3 years ago
    • MsD81's Avatar

      I'm thankful for your words. They give me a lot to think about. I can go out on the weekends but can t afford to take FMLA. Our family is pretty much in name only...they don't care much.

      over 3 years ago
    • INSBOB's Avatar

      hi, are you a horrible daughter? don't know, did you beat your mother. lol don't look to others to answer that ?? you know in you heart what you are. you say you can do weekends, thats great. mom will appreciate that. being there every second wont help mom and will not be good for you. people have a strange sick idea about how they have the right to judge others. sxxxw them. you will know if you did what was right. remember to keep praying for mom, it works.

      over 3 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      As a mom who survived cancer twice, I realized my adult children had jobs and I did not want to jeopardize that. I really amazed myself at how well I was able to care for myself. As long as I had easy to grab & eat food, I mostly rested during recovery. Perhaps you can make a pot of soup on the weekends that she can warm up during the week & stock up some groceries? Ask what she needs help with on the weekends. Does she have any other help? Can you arrange for any help she might require in your absence? You can also call or text to check on her and make sure she calls you if she has an emergency. I imagine your guilt is self induced. That helps no one. For me, I sure didn't need to be worrying about adding stress or guilt to my children's lives! I recommend talking to your mom and being honest about what you are able to do for her. You do not sound like a horrible daughter! We all have financial obligations and I bet your mom understands that. What she really needs now is your emotional support. I wish you both the best of luck on this journey.

      over 3 years ago
    • CherylS@StF's Avatar

      Many of us have loved ones that live in other cities, states, countries, ect...Just because you cannot be there physically for your mother does not mean that you cannot be there in many other ways. Maintaining and job and a family is a part of everyones life and I am sure that your mother understands this more than you think. Here is a list of ways to let your mother know that while you maynot be able to be there every day that you are thinking of her many of those days. Call and speak with her on the phone. Call and have her not answer the phone and leave her a voicemail that she can listen to several times a day. If you have children have them call grandma and leave voicemails, that would be so uplifing for her. Send her a card or make her a card, email her, facebook her, have one of her neighbors or you siblings stop by and give her a meal from her favorite restaraunt or favorite candy or balloons, the possibilities are endless! You can request to be put on her physicians list of family members that can call and get her lastest test results and information so that you will be informed on her diagnosis and any updates that are taking place. Those are all small ways in which you can let your mother know how much you love her even though you are out of town. I am sure your mother know how very much you love her and that you are supporting her even when you are not with her.

      over 3 years ago
    • LuvinSis' Avatar

      Do you qualify for FMLA? If so, can you take some days to be with her for crucial appointments or if she becomes very ill. You'll want to manage the time off carefully as she could need you intermittently over a longer period of time. So sometimes running to be with her before she's in need can limit the time when you really need it.

      When my sister was undergoing chemo she'd see a doctor when she arrived, get some basic blood drawn to be sure she could do chemo, and then did the chemo. My nephew went with her to these appointments so he could hear what she was hearing (so he truly knew what was going on and she wouldn't have to worry she'd forget to relay some information to him). He then had the opportunity to meet the doctor(s), ask questions, listen and even talk to the chemo nurses about how my sister was actually doing, any care suggestions, etc.

      Here's the government's official site on FMLA:


      If your mother has some kind of cancer care coordinator assigned to her, and she's in agreement, perhaps she can sign an Authorization for Release of Information allowing you to call the care coordinator when needed. That way you can be up to date on how your mom is doing and what she may need. (You know how moms are, she may say "I'm fine" but the care coordinator may tell you that perhaps your mom could use some assistance at home on the weekend).

      Many patients don't want the entire family rallying around them 24/7, reminds them too much of t he fact they are facing quite the battle. So have an open line of communication with your mom (and any relatives or friends living near to her) so you know that your mom (or friends/family) will let you know when the crucial times for you to be with her are.

      over 3 years ago
    • Barbs' Avatar

      My husband has advanced small cell lung cancer diagnosed 2 months ago and he is in treatment. We have 8 adult children between us (4 are his from a previous marriage, 4 are mine from a previous marriage). We only have one daughter who lives close enough to visit frequently and she is a tremendous help to me, driving us to appointments, running errands, helping with chores. The other seven have all offered to come -- even those who live in another country. We appreciate their love and prayers, but there is little they could actually do to help -- and, frankly, there would be an added burden with just the logistics of having them all here -- even in staggered visits. Yes, sometimes they express that they feel guilty for not being here -- and I try to let them know that we understand -- they call frequently -- sometimes my husband looks forward to their calls -- sometimes he tells me he just doesn't feel like talking to anyone. That's the roller-coaster of cancer. One daughter sent a lovely card -- my husband treasures it more than anything else. Several of our adult children keep in touch via Facebook and email. Another daughter whose husband is an attorney helped us with some documents we needed. Everyone does what they can --- and everyone can pray. My husband and I appreciate every phone call, every prayer, every help -- but the last thing we want is all our children descending on us -- we want him to live as well as possible, for as long as possible. Having our children hover around us would just be too sad. Do what is possible for your Mom and don't waste a moment feeling guilty about what you cannot do -- send a lovely card or flowers -- share a funny story -- find out what you can do from a distance to help her, if she needs help with insurance or on-going support when she leaves the hospital. You are a good daughter or you would not be as concerned as you are -- but don't let feelings of guilt contaminate the relationship you have with your mother -- she wouldn't want that, I am sure.

      over 3 years ago

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