Author Topic: Painful realisations of guilt  (Read 674 times)

JLR2

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Painful realisations of guilt
« on: 11 Mar 2021 06:06AM »
Around my living room I have a few small framed photos of my Mum, in some she is seen holding her sister's recently born wee baby in others my Mum can be seen being cuddled by the family's little gang of poodles on the couch. My Mum passed away in 1995 at the age of sixty due to cancer and it is times like today when I've been up very early from bed that as I sit here with an Iron Maiden DVD playing on the telly, as the BBC news channel is providing anything but news, that my thoughts turn to just how little I appreciated having my Mum with us when she was alive. Even more just what she gave of her life to make the life my brothers and sisters the life we have had and have.

As a kid I tended as I think most kids do to see those older around us as like lifetimes away. We can never imagine what the life of older folk is like. I know I'm probably not going to make a good job of explaining quite what it is I'm trying to say but I'll try. I'm now approaching my sixty third birthday and I'm still keen to see and be with my friend in Berlin and it is in part this feeling of wanting to be with, oh how can I explain this?

Like I was saying as youngsters we see the older generation as ancient, passed it as it were well I'm now one of those I once upon a time saw as ancient and the realisation that my Mum would have felt, were it not for the impact of the cancer on her life, just as young as I feel today with similar interests in life and so much she would like to have been doing. But is not just what she would like to have been doing that's on my mind right now but what she gave up to give her time to us, my brothers and sisters, that we could have the life we could.

How much over the decades put into seeing to everything from providing the breakfasts, dinners those wee pieces in butter she would wrap in the wrapper from a Mother's Pride square loaf before throwing it from the fourth floor window down into the backcourt of McIntosh Street in Dennistoun where we were playing. My Mum wasn't an old woman then but as is life's nature she was still so much older than us weans and we didn't give it a thought. It's now, way too late of course, I'm realising the guilt I have in not seeing the woman who was my mother as the young woman she was. No I was too busy thinking about what I was doing and of how directly this or that would affect things for me. In short I pretty much took my Mum for granted that she'd be there if I needed something. I know it's not a reality think I can do anything about this now but I'm hurting from the knowing there was one hell of a lot I could have done differently or better to make my Mum's life better. My thinking about this has me also think of how my Dad must be feeling when he finds himself thinking of his life, of the things he would have liked to done together with my Mum, things such as travelling to say France or maybe Spain.

Life's not a drama it's what you make of it, I guess.

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #1 on: 11 Mar 2021 01:05PM »
JLR,

Your words are beautiful and the love you have for your mother shines through  :heart: I get what you mean when you write about painful realisations but what do you think your Mum would have to say about it.

My Mum died in 2006 and I often think about how much she would have loved the technical age we now live in. I moved to the East Midlands in 2003 and she was never able to visit or see my life here for herself. I did write letters and cards but it was not the same. It strikes me that what with Covid and all that has happened in the past year for some of us oldies Mothering Sunday is going to difficult.

ditchdwellers

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #2 on: 11 Mar 2021 01:43PM »
I think we always tend to take our family members for granted until it's a bit too late.

My mum is still alive however my sister and I strongly believe that she is struggling with some form of dementia. She refuses to admit there's a problem and won't discuss it with her doctor. Her personality is changing and we are slowly losing her.

ditchdwellers

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #3 on: 14 Mar 2021 12:48PM »
JLR2,  I'm thinking of you today and sending hugs to everyone who is missing their mum's today.

:f_hug: :heart: :f_hug: :heart: :f_hug: :heart:

JLR2

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #4 on: 14 Mar 2021 10:36PM »
Thanks DD, Sunshine, "but what do you think your Mum would have to say about it?"   I think the Mum I knew would be wishing she could tell my brothers and sisters and myself that she felt one day we would come to realise she was so much more than just our mother. She was a young woman who had put us before herself without hesitation and did so much to give us the upbringing we enjoyed. I wish there had been more I could have done to make her proud of me. One regret I would say I have is to be found in my determination or maybe that should be rush to join the Army, had I not been so set on doing this I might have worked harder at school and in doing so gain the required exam results that could have seen me securing an apprenticeship.

One thing I do know my Mum was very happy about was my drawing ability, this was something she was always happy to wind up my aunt with as that aunt was so sure her son just had to be better than me at drawing and painting. The aunt I'm referring to was a wannabe snob and there was no way she was going to admit her son couldn't draw or paint. There was a day I remember when I had just came home from work when my Mum was wearing the biggest smile ever, she went on to tell me about how she had dropped in on my aunt unannounced and there was my cousin lying on the sitting room carpet with his painting by numbers set spread out all over the place, fair made my Mum's day that did :biggrin:

Fiz

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #5 on: 15 Mar 2021 09:23AM »
Beautiful words JR. I think most people regret not appreciating our mothers more until after they died. And also as we get older and possibly experience loneliness, may realise our Mums would have experienced emotional pains too. There are many things that I would love to have been able to say to her. 

I suspect your Mum was busy being proud of her children though and finding pleasure from that. I say that as a mother myself. 
.
Mothering Sunday is a painful day for so many. I've never even had "Happy Mother's Day" said to me by my eldest let alone received anything from him. The most that I have ever had from my younger son is a text. My daughter does send a card but I spent th day alone yesterday without speaking to anyone just like all the other days and all the Facebook posts of Mums with their gifts, flowers and loving posts from their children were painful to see. It's not an easy day for the majority of people. 

If possible think of all the blessings that your Mum was or gave you and be thankful for them. It's never too late to do that even if she's not here. I'd be comforted by the possibility that my children might feel positive things about me even after I am gone.

lankou

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #6 on: 15 Mar 2021 10:07AM »
Beautiful words JR. I think most people regret not appreciating our mothers more until after they died.

My mother was a terrible woman and unfortunately I have inherited some of her characteristics.
She spent most of her lifetime tilting at windmills and sometimes winning.
Despite her terrible reputation if anyone was in serious trouble, it was my mother they came to see:-" We should have Samaritans painted on the front door."

Fiz

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #7 on: 15 Mar 2021 10:46AM »
My mother was emotionally abusive to me my whole childhood, the one instance of abuse I disclosed to her was disregarded and I was told where to go with my lies! And I had injuries that she didn't seem to care how I got them. However I feel deeply sorry for her. She was born into an upper class family and her mother accompanied her father to Africa for 3 years soon after she was born as he was working there. My mother was left in the care of a Nannie and an aunt (spinster). My grandparents returned after three years shortly before my aunt was born. My mother remembers the excitement of her parents returning soon and wondering what they might look like. Obviously she had attachment disorder and as they both bonded with my aunt and never separated from her my mother developed a hatred/jealousy of her younger sister that lasted her lifetime. Her sister safe and well attached to her parents was well behaved and my mother was disturbed and disruptive and was frequently physically punished for her behaviour. 

Fast forward to her mothering, she gave birth to two girls. The first birth was difficult and my father wasn't allowed in the theatre for the assisted delivery. Them she had me, early and unexpectedly I was born in the ambulance in the hospital car park and my father saw me born which left him awe inspired and he definitely bonded with me more than my sister. This bond freaked my mother out triggering her "spoilt younger sister, neglected older sister" aspect of her own childhood so she character assassinated me finding every opportunity to put me down and criticise me taking me down a peg or two while my sister became the golden child who could do no wrong. 

I only found out about my mother's childhood when watching my eldest as a baby learning to crawl I commented to my Gran about how she must remember my Mum doing the same as a baby and my Gran told me that she hadn't known my mother as a baby as she was not in the country. 

Now as I work through my Complex trauma due to my past, I am acutely aware of the emotional pain and trauma that my mother's childhood must have caused her and I fully understand why she parented (so badly) the way that she did. I wish I could hug her and say how sorry I am that she went through that. She mothered badly out of pain, fear and hurt and she wasn't to blame for that. 

I spend a stupid amount of time wishing that I had parents that had loved, protected and cared for me but that's Complex PTSD for you and something I need to heal from. I still love and miss my Mum though. My experience in social work is even children horrendously abused don't want to leave their families and still love their parents. Sometimes it's a trauma bond I think.

JLR2

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #8 on: 15 Mar 2021 10:57AM »
Good morning Fiz,  the lyrics of the 1974 song by Harry Chapin, Cat's in the Cradle, in many ways reflect much of what I'm feeling but there are some other wee things that I've found myself thinking about recently things like just how not having my family living nearby can sometimes not be such a benefit.

Again I find myself struggling to express what it is I'm trying to say. If I start with the something such as how having no one to hear the opinion of, positive or otherwise, of for example the way I've changed the appearance of an inbuilt cupboard in my living room. The work involved lining the cupboard with plywood, hiding the pipework from the heat pump that goes from my open fire to the central heating system. I've wood stained it deep mahogany and added mouldings to have it look like panelling. There's also the wee row of airfix model Spitfires and one Hurricane on a shelf with, as grass, pieces of the green table felt from the pub pool table that I used to play on before the pub closed down. On the wall behind these models I painted a sky and added a couple of cut out photos of Spitfires and a photo of a RAF hanger. This was my version of something my grandfather had in his house which was a Lego village with little cars, a duck pond and even a wee red telephone box.

I'm more and more becoming aware of my age as I think about many of the things I would have liked to have done when I was so much younger such as visiting Colditz Castle or having either a Triumph Spitfire or Harley Davidson Electra Glide. Now I realise I'd just look daft sitting behind the wheel of the Triumph, besides there's nowhere to put even a folding wheelchair and the Harley idea was a non starter, I struggle riding a bicycle :biggrin: 

Whilst my friend in Berlin would like us, when Covid19 restrictions allow, to take a cruise down some of the canals and rivers of Europe I cannot see myself doing this without her as to make such a trip on my own just wouldn't be the same. I mention that as I've been giving some thought as to how life may play out for us whenever one of us has left the scene as it were.

Recently an issue for our future crossed my mind and it gave me a bit of a worry. I have very little by way of German in my verbal and tend to rely on my friend's English language ability but as we get older the dreaded dementia becomes ever more a threat and should my friend develop dementia, as her father did, she may lose much of the second language abilities and I would then find myself in a poor position to help her or understand anything she was trying to explain were she in a care home setting and looking to tell me of something she found upsetting in the care home.

All this brings me back to today and the knowing that many of the thoughts about the future are thoughts I recon my Dad may have been having for many years of his own life, thoughts of how he would like to enjoy life after my brothers and sisters had left the family nest but then the loss of my Mum at 60 because of cancer ended any chance of their realising any hopes or intentions, I really don't know how my Dad copes, how he feels each morning as he wakes to another day. Sure my Dad has his own house paid for outright but, like I was saying earlier, beyond knowing now he has no worries of being homeless, what has life been about for him and what does it hold for him now?  It maybe hopefully that my Dad's grandkids help keep him in good spirits, I hope so.
« Last Edit: 15 Mar 2021 11:02AM by JLR2 »

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #9 on: 15 Mar 2021 12:47PM »
There is so much depth in this thread  :big_hugs:

Fairly soon after my Mum then Dad died I started to feel like they were gone and off doing their own things. I like that I feel this way because Mum is off travelling and having adventures in a state of being no longer tethered to a severely disabled body and Dad is going for walks in the woods, he has a dog at his side and memories of his grandkids. Dad was a much better Granddad than father. 

I have the same look and many of my Mum's mannerisms, also the stubbornness. Mum and Dad were divorced and I can't count the number of times he said 'You are just like your mother'.

I know what JLR means when he mentions not having anyone to commented on something he has done/built the thing is for me both Mum and Dad would sometimes either say I should have done XYZ before, or take credit for it. Mum used to often tell me my cousin in London was doing so well at Oxford, had been to China etc i cam to very much resent it. My cousin is a nice person , interesting and friendly but I still fill like my mum chose her- weird huh.

One thing we could do with remembering is that 50-60 years ago life was very different and the further north people lived the longer it took to take on modern ways. I mean getting the laundry done was so much physical work it took Mum probably three days to wash, dry and iron everything when the weather was good.

JLR2

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #10 on: 15 Mar 2021 04:04PM »
"I mean getting the laundry done was so much physical work it took Mum probably three days to wash, dry and iron..."  Yup and how frustrating it must have been to see me muck it up in three minutes playing outside :f_steam: :f_wah: :f_smiley:

lankou

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #11 on: 15 Mar 2021 04:32PM »
"I mean getting the laundry done was so much physical work it took Mum probably three days to wash, dry and iron..."  Yup and how frustrating it must have been to see me muck it up in three minutes playing outside :f_steam: :f_wah: :f_smiley:
My mother had to use a "copper," and a mangle to do the washing.

oldtone27

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Re: Painful realisations of guilt
« Reply #12 on: 16 Mar 2021 08:59AM »
Quote
My mother had to use a "copper," and a mangle to do the washing.

As did mine. Washing day was quite an event. The mangling usually took place outside as there was more room to set up the device. Not so good when the weather was bad.

Then there was the hanging out on the washing line with the ritual positioning of the prop so the line did not droop too low.

The washing always smelt fresher than it does out of my machine. I'm too lazy to hang it out to air, so it dries on an airer. At least I don't have to keep an eye out for rain which was a constant worry for my mother.