Autrice from The Bemused Muse left a very lengthy comment on Guilt and Anger Part I that won't fit into the comments section. However, what she wrote really bears sharing and I post it here. I think many of us will relate and I'm reassured that my feelings and reactions are, in fact, normal and human. Often when we are in the midst of one of life's great dramas, we lose sight of that. I know I certainly do
Annie - OUCH. I'd be beating myself up as well, and every time I thought of it, I would be wondering "if only I had called" or "if only Mom lived with us." We can "if only" ourselves to tears (or death!) My own mother went through a "if only" when her mother had a stroke. My Nonna was staying with my Aunt, and when the stroke happened, my aunt was right there and the paramedics whisked my Nonna off right away. The complications were severe, and my Nonna passed away shortly afterwards. So, my mother, living in CA, had her "if only I was in Ohio with Mum" moments for a long time. And my aunt? - "if only we lived closer to the hospital!"
When we live every moment of the day stressing because our loved one is apart from us, it turns into an obsession. It takes over our lives, and shackles us so that we can't live. On the other hand, "if only" is normal thinking. I'm sure Gloria thinks "if only I had skipped that appointment!" Well, if only they served breakfast to the residents in their rooms, or if only they provided life alert to all residents! It doesn't matter when it comes to "if only" because things always happen according to God's will.
If only Pope John Paul hadn't died... would we have Pope Benedict? If only Judas hadn't betrayed the Lord... would someone else have, or would we not have his suffering on the Cross? If only Mary had not given birth to the Lord... she would not have had to suffer the pain of watching her son die.When I get the urge to inflict myself with "if only" when thinking of the tragic things I have gone through in life, I am reminded of the words Pope John Paul spoke: Jesus, I trust in you. This came right from the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.
Things happen as God needs them to, and when you think "if only", don't punish yourself... because it is all happening as God intends, and there is something positive about it. "If only I had called Mom" becomes "God had Gloria find her because He knew how much more painful it would have been had I been the one to discover her!"
God had your Mom sell her mobile home because he knew, down the line, she should be in a place where she could be discovered quickly. She lives in a complex that has the proper procedures for taking care of senior citizens and the medical emergencies that happen to them - if she had lived in your house, and you came home from running an errand, would you have a staff on hand to help you during the immediate emergency?
I can't say that you are wrong to doubt, or that your feelings of guilt and anger are incorrect... because God created us to have these feelings! I can promise you that, when my own Mum eventually goes through something like this (she is 71), I will fall apart as my world comes to a crashing end. But, I also know that the strength to heal is within me (and you!), as it was in my mother when her mother had her stroke. That strength comes from the Lord. It is born of love and the bonds between ourselves and our mothers, and as we mature, it grows.
Someday our mothers will leave this beautiful earth and walk with Jesus in heaven, and the hardest thing we will ever have to do is watch as they struggle in their final days or years. I think the amount of pain we feel is a good measure of just how much we love them. Your mother is a beautiful and goodly woman - I know this because I see her reflected in her daughter! I don't have to know your mother personally to see her shining through your own kind heart! It doesn't matter that she is in a hospital, or if she were on vacation in Florida! You see, that part of her... the part that echoes all the amazing things that make her loved by those around her... will shine for eternity through you and your own children. It is a legacy of love and compassion that cannot be broken by the oppression of death at our doors. It is the most powerful gift we can be given by our mothers, and it is the most powerful gift that we can impart to our children.
Nothing, NOTHING, can take that gift away from us! Depression, sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger - all are okay to go through. We mourn an illness or death because we have sorrow that the one we love can no longer be as they once were (our mental picture of them, always younger than they currently are, and full of vigor!) It is a selfish but totally understandable and human one. These are emotions that come from the heart, and they are an expression of love in themselves. Please don't get angry at yourself for having these feelings!"
You are in my prayers, as is your Mom. I know this is probably too long to publish as a comment, and you don't have to publish it at all.