Author Topic: Parental Guilt...  (Read 1930 times)

SoVerySad

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Parental Guilt...
« on: September 12, 2016, 11:53:34 AM »
I have a new Psychiatrist managing my meds since the previous one moved away. I met with her for the first time last week. In our brief conversation, I mentioned feeling if the best years of my life are likely over, but that I realize I can still have good in what is left of it. That is actually big progress for me, to believe there is a chance that I will have good times ahead. Anyway, she immediately reminded me I have children and so I shouldn't be saying that. I've been feeling guilty ever since. But I am also a little stubborn, which I believe is a good thing that has kept me trying to work thru this grief. So, I'm trying to free myself from that guilt.

I do believe the best years of my life are over. I'm not writing off the rest of my life in full in any way. However I am 51 years old now. I no longer have my husband whom I shared over 30 amazing years with from the time we became best friends when I was 15 years old and starting as a couple a year later. Years where my grandparents who raised me were still here and I was naïve to the reality of how life can really be cruel and so painful at times. Years where my health was so much better than it is now and will ever be again. Years where my children were tiny and snuggly, where I could protect them in ways I can no longer do as they are now almost grown and experiencing facets of life on their own now.

I adore my children and the amazing people they have grown into. I am looking forward to seeing where they go with their lives and hoping I've taught them some skills to deal with the challenges they may face. I hope their father and I set a good example of a loving, committed marriage, so their own relationships are as fulfilling to them as ours was to us. I'm hoping someday to have grandchildren who will enjoy being snuggled. I intend to be here to support them and love them for as long as I can be.

I'm open to and not counting out a future romantic relationship, although I admittedly I often don't believe it will happen for me. I'm making new friends and working on gaining back my strength and hope. I try to find ways to add happiness to every day and feel no guilt for doing so. Yet, I do believe the very best years of my life are over. I may be proven wrong. I would love to be proven wrong, in fact. But I don't feel I should feel ashamed that I believe the best years of my life are over, even though I have children. If the remainder of my life is even a quarter as good as the years I had with my husband, I will still be very blessed.

So, what do other widowed parents think about this?

Without you, Baby, I'm not me.

Portside

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 01:37:40 PM »
I'm only speaking for myself of course, but I could never subscribe to a way of thinking that held that the best of my life was over.

To believe otherwise is, I believe, the key to a happy, fulfilled existence.

Every day is a new adventure with unimagined joys around the next (yet unseen) corner.

No matter what transpires.

Good luck - Mike

 
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

Mrskro

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 03:43:16 PM »
SoVerySad;

I understand that sentiment of "my best days are behind me".  I am only 42, but completely get that.  I have two kids and I am definitely looking forward to them starting their lives, getting married, having kids.  But for me, those are THEIR best days and hopefully my grandkid's best days. 

I'm not wallowing in grief any longer, but I do find my passion for life, when I don't have DH to share it with has waned.   

twin_mom

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 03:56:21 PM »
I'm 42 too, and I'm recoupled to a great guy, with kids at home.... And I too feel like there best days are over. I'm looking forward to the future, the grandkids, empty-nesting with ng... but nothing will come close to the bubbly anticipation of getting married to dh, finding out we were having twins, so many many happy times. I personally think this is okay, it doesn't mean I can't find happiness, just that everything is tinged with the knowledge that it wasn't plan a. Or even b,c,d...  ;)

Julester3

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 06:13:03 PM »
I totally get it. I'm 41 and was with my husband for 22 years. I know there will be plenty of good times and moments to be had with my girls as they get older and I watch them transform and become women but they will always be tinged with sadness that their dad can't share those moments with them.

You shouldn't feel guilty as a parent. We are still only human at the end of the day and we can't help if we feel we lost the best part of our lives in our spouse.

SoVerySad

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2016, 05:28:51 AM »
Thank you all for your replies. I appreciate hearing others' feelings on these things. Portside, I have never been an adventurous person. I like things safe, stable, and planned out. I guess that's why I've struggled so with widowhood. Maybe I should try something adventurous.
Without you, Baby, I'm not me.

hikermom

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 10:41:46 AM »
SVS,

My attitude is so variable. Most of the time I try very hard not to look in the rearview mirror too much. That leaves me feeling very much like the best has passed for me. But I also can't look too far down the road because I end up feeling quite hopeless about what is waiting for me. I fear that I will be alone the rest of my life. Right now, I'm so lonely I could cry most days. I love my job and work with great people. I love my daughter but still am tied to her schedule leaving little to no time for me and dealing with tween-hood is exhausting and not fun or filled with happiness! There is a giant, aching pool of loneliness in me. Looking backwards or too far forwards just exacerbates that.

I have to believe in the promise of happiness. I've had to adjust what that expectation is and to aim for smaller, more discrete happiness. The kind that is present in the beauty of the world around me or in hearing a great song as I'm driving to work or in the snuggles of one of my dogs. I also have to be careful to not idealize the past. I loved my husband. I miss him every day. But it also wasn't happiness all the time.

Don't feel guilty though. That does no one any good, least of all you and your kids. You're a good mom. You're there for your kids. I have a real problem with any mental health provider that tells you "don't say that." What a way to shut down communication with a patient!
here is the deepest secret nobody knows ...
and this is the wonder that?s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
~ e.e.cummings

tybec

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 01:45:30 PM »
SVS,
I think that psychiatrist was doing what many professionals do, try to stick to positive thinking, fighting off the negative thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  But I guess that is where she missed it with you.  We just need validation sometimes.  An ear to listen and say that must be hard, etc.  She met you once and went with that, not knowing if you were just having a bad moment, day, or if that was a constant thought pattern that would drag you down all the time.
I loved the young love of my time with my husband of 21 years, 28 together.  The innocence, the hard work that paid off, the sharing of having a child together which will never happen with another.  I get all that.  I HOPE there is a joy I can't conceive for my future relationships.  It is hard to imagine lots of days.  But just like I never knew I could hurt so badly, maybe I also can experience joy greater than I ever dreamed. 

Hugs to you.

calimom

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 11:46:04 PM »
SVS, the support and kindness you show for members here does not go without notice. Your love for your late husband is something that many people wish they had. Your kids are fortunate to call you their mom. The people in your day to day life should be proud to be your friend.

You may not know this, or may not want to believe this, but you're going to be OK. There are good things ahead of you in this life. Just hang in there, keep working on it. Things have a way of falling into place.
"I'm breaking through, I'm bending spoons, I'm keeping flowers in full bloom" - REM

SoVerySad

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2016, 04:46:27 PM »
Thank you for your replies.

HM, thankfully my counselor would never say something like "you shouldn't feel that way" to me. She is the one I spend most of my time with. Thank you for replying and making me think about readjusting expectations. I struggle with the loneliness as well.

Tybec, Thank you for challenging me to consider what you wrote about pain and joy. I do understand that I can't know and therefore shouldn't prejudge what might happen in my future. I just haven't gotten the point to where my heart believes it yet.

Calimom, Thank you so much for your kind words. I actually really needed them today. I'm not giving up. Where I at one time didn't think I could possibly survive T's loss, I now believe I will. I'm trying to find new good things to add to my life and look forward to.
Without you, Baby, I'm not me.

JustLola

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2016, 08:14:17 PM »
I believe that acknowledging who and where you are, even if it's a hard truth, is the best way to have peace of mind. Following the "should" school of behavior is the quickest way to internal confusion and bad decisions. "Should" gives us a framework of how to think act that's externally motivated and may not be coming from a place that's real for us.

All of that is a long way of saying that you sound to me like you're in a real place. Right now you believe the best years of your life may be behind you, but you're still open to joy and love and life and beauty. What else could anyone want? Continue to embrace the truth of where you are and use it to take you someplace new. Personally, I think your kids are lucky to have a parent who is so in tune with their inner self.

SoVerySad

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2016, 05:57:29 PM »
Thank you so much, JustLola.
Without you, Baby, I'm not me.

canadiangirl

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2016, 08:06:13 AM »
I believe that acknowledging who and where you are, even if it's a hard truth, is the best way to have peace of mind. Following the "should" school of behavior is the quickest way to internal confusion and bad decisions. "Should" gives us a framework of how to think act that's externally motivated and may not be coming from a place that's real for us.

All of that is a long way of saying that you sound to me like you're in a real place. Right now you believe the best years of your life may be behind you, but you're still open to joy and love and life and beauty. What else could anyone want? Continue to embrace the truth of where you are and use it to take you someplace new. Personally, I think your kids are lucky to have a parent who is so in tune with their inner self.

This -articulated so masterfully.  I feel much the same way, SVS, and I am okay with it. Doesn't mean I don't have hope for beauty and joy which are so hard to find these days.  Realism is not the opposite (or death of) optimism. The only thing that makes me sad about this is that part of being "young widows" is that we find ourselves sometimes with outlooks more suited to those who are not in their prime of life, but with more responsibilities and less time to reflect.  Hugs SVS.  What Calimom said too.


SoVerySad

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2016, 05:56:07 PM »
Thank you, CG!
Without you, Baby, I'm not me.

Eddienhp

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Re: Parental Guilt...
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2016, 10:20:36 AM »
SVS,

I get it. I feel the same too. I do feel the best days of my life are over. Those were the days of a man I would spend the rest of my life with. A man I had so much in common with. Two young children who would have a mother AND a father. Some say its melancholy, which it is. I say it is reality. I am 52 years old with a 10 and 7 year old. One child has special needs. I don't have time to date. I realize most men my age have grown children.

I am an optimist by nature. I continue to live my life in a positive manner. I give my kids the best I can. Most of the time it is not material items. It is my time, devotion and love. I know one day, when the kids are older, I will have more time to get out and meet other people.

We walk on the edge of half empty, half full. On a good day, we are half full kind of people. On a bad day, we lean over to half empty. Just knowing I have a safe place to discuss this is a huge help. Especially now that the holidays are upon us.

Sending you strength.
Eileen

My life is better because you were in it. You encouraged me to stretch my wings. I will forever be grateful. Rest in Peace Babe. Till we meet again.