Hello, I am responding to the article My mom is dying. I was in a similar situation more than 13 years ago. I was flying between my sick mom in the hospital, work and home, and my husband looked concerned. At that time he was not working, I was supporting the family. When I cried with exhaustion, I learned that I was hysterical. It was three months before my mother died, I still hear her words in my ears: “Don’t worry about me, you have a family, a demanding job.” About a year ago, I learned that when she was dying, my mother-in-law was humming to my husband that the condition my mother is none of his business and let him not be… I can’t get over this. How should I handle it? Renata
In my practice, I repeatedly meet people for whom “the world has collapsed”. Chaos and confusion will erupt in the hearts of these people. It’s as if the image of certainties and meanings built up over years of how we understand the world, the closest social ties and of course ourselves is falling apart from day to day, or at least seriously disturbed. The mirror of our self gets cracks or breaks into dozens of pieces.
At times like this, people blame themselves for not doing enough. They are looking for more and more examples of when this or that could have been better, better, more meaningful on their part. But why? Is there even a reason for this?
Above all, do not try to organize a meeting with your husband, his mother and you with the naive idea that you will all say everything nicely.
I don’t want to sound cynical or question the level of your inner tension, but let’s try to look at the whole situation differently. For a moment, let’s try to perceive the crisis that has affected your life not as something negative, but as an opportunity. Chances to look at everything from a different perspective, in a new, unconventional way. Maybe it will help.
Your story includes telling of your mom’s passing, coupled with the immeasurable amount of selflessness she showed you. We would be hard-pressed to find a better proof that even with the inevitable shadow of death, love in life does not end. And that is a beautiful discovery. How many people would wish that fate allowed them to grow up and be shaped by a person like your mother was?
Part of your story is also the experience of the weakness of people from your immediate surroundings. Yes, they both failed. Both your husband, who failed to support you in difficult times, and your mother-in-law, whose cruelty is almost beyond human understanding.
How to live with it? Above all, do not try to organize a meeting with your husband, his mother and you with the naive idea that you will all say everything nicely, shake hands, experience catharsis together and everything will be fine. It won’t be. And it can’t be. Not everyone is as strong and determined to keep their lives on a human course as you are. The essential thing is to change the perception of what happened. To place this experience in a new context of your life and make it completely clear to yourself that it was not you who failed. On the contrary, you survived, they didn’t. And that is neither your fault nor your responsibility. Doesn’t Miguel Ruiz already say in The Four Agreements “do things the best you can, but not better”?
Editor’s note: The position of Samuel Kaufman does not represent the opinion of the editor, but it may explain the movement of the mind of some men or women around you.