Caregiver Guilt


Dorothy Womack



The role of a caregiver at home is usually followed by varying degrees of guilt. This happens irregardless of our effectiveness, as it seems to be virtually impossible to care for one’s loved ones and simultaneously face the realities that we will inevitably lose them. Most of us eventually confront not only the loss of our loved ones, but the guilt that we could have done more, should have known better, would have done differently in retrospect. This increases not only our guilt, but our grief as well. We long to spare our loved ones from the ongoing progression of disease and death – but we cannot save or rescue them. We are helpless in the face of the inevitable – Life in the body ceases to function and life in the spirit begins. Our loved ones depart houses no longer adequate to hold them and move onto a new dimension, while we remain behind – often shattered by our grief and shackled by our guilt. We only compound our grief when we weigh ourselves down with guilt. We take on a task which requires Herculean effort - and despite our best intentions, there is an end which we anticipate, but seek desperately to avoid. At the end of human life exists a new beginning – not just for our loved ones but for ourselves as well.

 Guilt is destructive – It impedes our progress and inhibits our own destinies in this life. We spend our time berating ourselves for where we perceive failure rather than focusing on all the good we achieved, the quality of life we brought to our loved ones and the character development that ensued as a result. The best knowledge we can possess is that our efforts made a difference in the last days of our loved ones. It takes discipline to focus on the attainment of a higher level of living for all of us as the mortal bonds are broken – However, our loved ones live on in our hearts forever and those eternal bonds remain. Guilt merely clouds our vision and torments our minds – Peace comes as we realize and acknowledge that there was purpose to all we shared – The lessons learned change us and equip us to better empathize with those who follow after along our paths of experience. Release the guilt you carry and listen with your heart – You will truly find your loved ones not only dwell in peace, but wish the same for you as well…..

 9/7/99 Copyrightã 1999 Dorothy Womack

 Published in Today's Caregiver, November/December 1999.

[Alzheimer's Articles] [Home]