I’d never given much thought to the issues of guilt associated with having a serious illness.  Prior to my diagnosis I would have brushed off the idea that someone who is ill would feel guilt about it. But I now know better. 

Guilt is a significant part of my emotional life post diagnosis. Guilt about oh so many things. 

I feel guilty that my husband’s happy life has been derailed and that he does more than his share of baby care. I feel guilty that he has a tired sick wife a lot of the time and doesn’t get the attention or care he deserves from me. 

I feel guilty that I won’t be contributing financially to our family for the foreseeable future. 

I feel guilty that my diagnosis looms over my parents’ lives, at a time when they should be enjoying their grandchild, their own good health and the fruits of years of hard work. 

I feel guilty that at the age of 35 I need financial help from my parents. 

But I feel the most guilt about my baby. I know that one day my death will cause her the most terrible pain. I hope desperately that she is an adult when this happens. But I fear she won’t be. 

Sometimes when she is crying and I am comforting her or even when she is smiling with her pure baby joy at me, I feel overwhelmed with a sense of guilt and shame that I’m leading her down the garden path. That I’m creating promises of love and comfort that I won’t be able to keep. And it’s heartbreaking – literally  a physical pain to know that you will be the cause of terrible sadness for your child, for whom you should be their safest place. 

I used to love the line from a children’s story about a mother and son:

“I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.”

I hate it now. I hate it for its inadequacy.  Violet will always be my baby, even if I’m not here anymore. 

All I can do now is to love her fiercely, take up every treatment option I can and do my best to be here as long as possible. 

4 thoughts on “Guilt 

  1. Oh Caitlin, you write so truthfully and beautifully. Violet will always be your baby, and YOU will always be her mother. You’ve given her everything she needs – life, love, and all the time you can. She is lucky to be your daughter.
    As for David and your folks – they are definitely saints, which is exactly what you deserve, my friend.
    By the way, I loved your last post about words, especially the bit about still wanting the goss. Made me realise we must have a phone date soon. Xx


  2. All the best Caitlin. I am a friend of Cathy and Ian and knew your Grandma Betty very well. I too am very sad that this ordeal has befallen you and I wish you, David and Violet all the very best.
    Betty loved you so much and was so proud of you. She told me. Take great care and keep up your wonderful writing
    Jane Thomson


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