For 7 years, I thought I did a pretty good job caring for my Mom with dementia up until her death 2 years ago. But lately I've been having many second-thoughts and judging myself more critically. Has this happened with any of you? If so, then how did you handle it? You can read about my experience in my latest AARP.org column:
My husband passed on from heart failure. I suffered from guilt because I didn't have an inkling of how much pain he was in. He suffered a heart attack in 2012. I sent him back to work a year later. He had heart failure in 2015. He became permanently disabled. He received a pacemaker in 2016. He had problems with it and they had to go back in to try to repair it in April 2018. He took his last breath June 2018. He never was out of pain after the initial heart attack and he was brought back to life twice during this process. He wasn't the same person after that. After April 2018, he gave up. He resolved himself to dying but he didn't share his plans with me or us. He went back to his side of the family and he died. My two underage children and I were angry with him. He told us every day for a week that he loved us. We didn't know. Presently, we share memories, both good and bad of him. We talk as if he is still with us, but we understand that he is gone. I struggle sometimes, because of my behavior and my dialogue prior to his death. But I take solace in knowing that he wasn't perfect and he knew that he wasn't. He was human. Higher power and spirituality plays a major role in getting my children and I from day to day.
I know what you are going through as I lost my wonderful husband this past December to dementia. Everyone tells me that I did all I could before I had to place him in a nursing home. I know in my heart I did, just as in your heart you know you did everything humanly possible to take care of her. I still get times when the guilt overcomes me, but I just ask myself, what more could you have done? If your mom was like my husband, it reached the point where they are fine one minute and then trying to jump out a window or burn the house down. They need special care so they are kept safe and can't harm themselves or others. You probably couldn't provide that special care like I couldn't. Hope this helps in some small way to let you know you did your best.