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Lost both parents in 2 months and I feel responsible for both of their deaths

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Home Forums Loss of a loved one Lost both parents in 2 months and I feel responsible for both of their deaths

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  • #23955

    My Father passed away on October 21 due a fall related to type 2 diabetes. He became hypoglycaemic and passed out. He sustained rib and back fractures and because he was on blood thinning medication his blood wouldn’t clot and subsequently died from the injuries.

    Five days later my Mum had Colorectal Surgery to remove a tumour. I took 6 weeks off work to care for Mum. Around 8 weeks after her surgery Mum suffered a stroke and hit her head. We didn’t find her for 24 hours and there was nothing the Doctors could do. She passed away on December 23rd.

    I feel completely responsible for both of my parents deaths. I had noticed my Father wasn’t eating and looking well and I should have realised the risks of this with him being a type 2 diabetic. I noticed my Mum was slurring the odd word too and I offered to take her to the Doctor but she didn’t want to go. I should have just rung a bloody ambulance and she would still be here.

    The guilt and shame I have is so strong. Sleep is difficult and if I do manage to sleep nightmares are common. I feel like I deserve all this plus more as my inaction has cost both of my parents their lives.

    They were the most important people in my life and now I have no one.

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 12 total)
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  • #23959

    Hi Leigh – I’ve just joined this forum and read your post.

    Firstly, my condolences for your immense loss. Both parents within two months is devastating. You’ve had so much to deal with during those two months, supporting your mum while dealing with the loss of your dad, and then your mum’s stroke and death. I’m so sorry.

    My husband died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday and since then I’ve thought a lot about the things I could have done that might have made a difference. The ‘what ifs’ can quickly become all-consuming and it’s hard not to feel responsible. But none of what happened to your parents was within your control. Did other people around your father (such as your mum) express concern about his eating? Would it have made any difference if they had? It sounds like you did the best you could to take care of your mother. You couldn’t have predicted she’d have a stroke. You were there for her – ultimately you couldn’t prevent her death and neither could anyone else.

    Do you have siblings or others who were helping take care of your parents? Can you talk to them about your feelings? You’ve endured a terrible, protracted trauma and it’s taking a severe toll on you. Please call a grief counselling service, you do not deserve these feelings of guilt and shame and you don’t need to bear this burden alone – help is there for you.

    Best wishes
    Marisa xxx


    Thank you so much for your heartfelt message Marisa. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It made me cry to think of the what you must be going through and you thought of responding to me.

    Mum and I both knew Dad wasn’t eating and were encouraging him to see a Doctor. Looking back now I feel it was incontinence was the reason he didn’t want to go to hospital. It’s awfully sad.

    I wasn’t coping with the death of my Father and was grieving with my Mother whilst caring for her after she had Colorectal Surgery to remove a tumour. I have two brothers but they have family and love far away. I feel like I put unnecessary stress on my Mother. Also looking back now I can see the first symptoms of stroke two weeks before her death. I failed to act because I was in a heavy state of grief depression. To carry this is enormous but I feel like the facts are all there. My Mother visited a Doctor 5 days before her death but they didn’t pick up on anything either.

    I have been ringing Griefline and Lifeline daily but no matter what when I wake up the feelings of guilt are there in the clear light of day. I have been listening to endless amount of books on grief. I am not really sure if they are helping or not. I am starting to see a Psychologist from next week as well.

    I am trying but I feel this guilt will never go away and I deserve to be punished for this.

    Thank you for your message Marisa, I am thinking of you in your time of sadness and loss.



    Leigh I really hope the psychologist can help you work through your feelings. It might not make you feel any differently if I say this, but regardless, you do NOT deserve to be punished and what happened is not your fault. Also, if your grief and depression did affect the way you responded to the situation with your mother, this is also not your fault. Maybe you could think about it this way – if someone else told you this story, what would you say to them? Would you consider them responsible for their parents’ deaths? I bet you’re being way harder on yourself than you would be on someone else. Lack of sleep probably isn’t helping either… hopefully your psych can help you with this.

    Best wishes


    Hi Marisa,

    Thank you for thinking of me during your time of loss.

    It it were you or someone else you have dialled “000”. It’s something I didn’t do and I feel it cut short the lives of both of my parents. I know I have to live with this, nothing will change.

    Thinking of you and your family Marisa.

    Thanks you for your message.



    Hi Leigh,

    I just want to say my heart breaks for you on the loss of both of your parents, such a terrible thing to happen and even so much harder to cope with at this time of year.

    Your care is evidenced by the fact that you took time off to care for your mum after her surgery, at the same time grieving the loss of dad.

    Hindsight is a marvellous thing but can also cause us to feel guilty about things that we really could not have changed. As you mentioned you offered to take your mum to the doctor, but she didn’t want to go. Similarly, dad did not want to go to hospital, both situations out of your control.

    I want to commend your courage in joining this forum and posting your story as it helps not only us but you to work through your grief. I lost my brother in September and the thoughts do come that maybe I could have done something to change the situation, or visited him more, but I do realise that we must live our lives the best we can without the benefit of hindsight. It does make us realise how precious life and loved ones are and we can take that knowledge forward with us.

    Please be kind to yourself, and do stay in touch


    Hi Marisa

    I am so sorry to hear that you lost your husband so suddenly and unexpectedly, I can’t even imagine the pain and shock you must be feeling. I hope you are getting the love and support you need at this time.

    Thank you for your compassionate support in responding to Leigh at this time as well.

    It is such a comfort to be able to share our times of grief with others, who, although they manage their own grief differently, somehow understand the loss and pain we all go through.

    Please take good care of yourself and stay in touch.


    Thank you VMsunflower, for your kind response. And Leigh, all the best to you – I really hope you can find some peace.

    xx marisa


    I am sorry for your loss.

    This is not your fault. You did all you could in both situations.

    Please do not blame yourself for what has happened. You gave time to your mum before the end.

    I am new to the forum and wish that you can find healing into the future from your loss.


    So thoughtful of you to message.

    It’s a daily battle for me to accept what has happened. It has reminded me how fragile and short life is.

    Receiving messages from kind people, whom I have never met, has been incredibly helpful with coping with this. Thank you.


    Hi Leigh
    I am so pleased to see that you are still checking in with this forum.
    How are you going?
    I note that it is around anniversary dates of the loss of both of your parents and recognise that it can stir up a lot of emotion.
    Just wanting you to know that we are all here for you and sending out our love and support for you.
    Remember you can call and speak with one of the Griefline volunteers or book a suitable time for yourself. One of the qualified volunteers will be happy to hold space and to share your journey with you.
    Be kind to yourself.

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 12 total)
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