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Old 01-14-2002, 12:41 AM   #1
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I am a very bad person

My mom's cousin died today. She had a lot of problems, I mean I don't know exactly what, but, she was kind of retarded and she lived in a group home. Both of her parents are dead, her mother just last year, and she has only one brother living nearby. He's a very busy lawyer. Anyway, I haven't even seen her for seven years or so. I'm going to school kind of far away, and I never even bothered to write to her or call.
I really don't think I've ever felt this bad about a relative dying. I mean, someone just found her, they don't even know what happened.
I call my sister just about every day, because she's struggling with college applications and calculus. I write to my grandmother pretty regularly, but I know someone (my aunt, a cousin) visits her everyday. I worry about my godmother because she's recently been widowed and she has a hard time getting around. But it never occurred to me to write to Cousin Sheila, who was pretty well alone. She even used to send us little presents every Christmas when we were really young, and I never wrote to her other than thank you notes my mom made me send then. I feel really, really guilty.

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Old 01-14-2002, 04:08 AM   #2
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Bbug, you aren't a bad person for this. I think a lot of people go through this in some way. I know I have. The guilt is punishing. Death is something that is usually so unpredictable, we breeze through life so blase about our families that we kinda think that we always have tomorrow to do something about it. I know you aren't a bad person because of how bad you say you feel. It all happened because you got busy with life, and did what we all do every day, and thats take some things for granted. I hope this does'nt sound like a judgement on my behalf, becsause it really isn't. I have been in a similar situation with my grandma who lived in England. How hard was it to pick up a pen and write to her? Obviously too hard for me cos I never got to know her like I should have. I think about her all the time and am ashamed because a member of my family died, and I never made myself the opportunity to know her. I knew a lot about her, and I did write, the perfunctory thankyou for the Christmas card type things, but all she ever got from me was a yearly update. And sometimes not even that. Sometimes I'd get an attack of guilt and would write, but it was always out of the blue. It makes me feel very bad. Like you do, a bad person. But I wonder if I am a bad person for it, and perhaps I am. But it is more a result of me doing something wrong. I cared, I felt really upset when she died. I know I cared, and she would have known that, I wonder if I tell myself that to ease the guilt, but I doubt it. I think guilt (apart from total and complete grief) is the worst emotion a person can feel. It makes us see things all too clearly, and is in its own way a punishment. You dont need to be adding to it and you dont need some stranger telling you you did wrong, because you didn't. You lived your life while someone was away living theirs and simply didnt know them as well as you now realise you would like to have. While regrets are awful, we tend to never make them twice. I hope you feel better about it soon, and sorry to hear you lost a family member. Sorry to use your thread too, to admit some of my mistakes.


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Old 01-14-2002, 03:00 PM   #3
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what Angie said. guilt is one of the hardest things for the people who have been left behind to deal with about death. I know my dad, who lost his sister to leukemia about 5 years ago, still has not dealt with the guilt surrounding how they hated each other as children, even though they got along very well as adults. It hurts, it hurts very badly, I know. Don't feel you're a horrible person for this, it's very difficult in a life where emphasis isn't always placed on these things. Please try not to be too hard on yourself.
I'd send my love and give you a hug. I'm thinking of you.
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Old 01-14-2002, 04:11 PM   #4
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Thanks you guys, I'm sort of starting to feel better. I read what you wrote and talked to my sister, and sort of realised that feeling guilty is just self-destructive in the long run. I probably can't afford to make it to the funeral, but I got a card to send to her brother, and I'm gonna find out about flowers or donations or whatever. And Angie, don't feel bad about writing here, I think it's cool that you did
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