Feeling guilty about not being there

Pre warning, it's a bit of a rant... 

My mum was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2016. She underwent treatment and was given the all clear a year or so later. She had major surgery to remove a 11 pound tumour and chemotherapy. I went to the hospital when she had the surgery but other than that I've never been involved in her treatment. Sadly her cancer returned and she begun treatment again. During this time her younger cousin passed away suddenly after she also had recurrent ovarian cancer leaving her feeling really guilty. Her treatment seemed to be working but she has recently been told her cancer is now in her stomach and growing again. Before her cancer my mum was at her happiest point in her life. She was in the best shape of her life following a gastric band and was so confident. She has put on all of the weight since having cancer and doesn't go out anymore. I've always had a very difficult relationship with my mum. We have been through so much and she hasn't always done the right thing as a parent. I spent a lot of time away from home as a teen and had quite a traumatic few years. I blame my mum for this, and I still get very easily triggered by her behaviour. She's very difficult to deal with and I can be very cold in response to this. I just feel like her behaviour has been like this before the cancer so I can't excuse it just because she's sick. I'm tired of being forced to say sorry for things just to keep her happy. It's made me numb and as bad as it sounds sometimes I wish I could just leave it all behind. I do love my mum though. I had a good childhood until my teens. I don't think she's a bad person, she just has issues. I feel like she's going to die and I feel like I haven't been there at all but I just don't know how to. 

  • Hello Marsxmillion

    I'm sorry to hear about your Mum's diagnosis and the situation that you find yourselves in. It's understandable that you have conflicting feelings given the relationship that you've described with your Mum. 

    I think that many people will agree when I say that we cannot change the past. You do however have a choice about how you interact with your Mum going forwards. If there are things that you want to say to her then maybe now is the time to sit and have that conversation. If talking face to face isn't an option then maybe writing a letter could help you to process some of the thoughts and feelings that you have. You don't necessarily have to give your Mum the letter but sometimes just putting things down in writing can be enough to help ease the burden that you feel carrying these thoughts and feelings. 

    One of the important things for you now will be that when the time comes that your Mum is no longer with you, you feel that you made the right choices for you in your relationship with her. 

    Undoubtedly these next few weeks and months will be difficult. Know that you're not alone and that there are people here who will understand some of what you describe in your post. 

    Best wishes, 
    Cancer Chat moderator