Guilt Over Leaving Mom in A Nursing Home to Move to the UK

by Becky
(St. Paul, MN, USA)

Almost six years ago, my husband and I returned from living in England and Spain (he's English) to take care of my mother who is now 96 and in a nursing home. My brother lives in Norway.


My mother is wheelchair- bound and quite forgetful but otherwise in relatively good health. My husband is very anxious to return to England and is impatient with the notion that we should wait until she dies before moving. We are both 68 and share the concern if we stay here, we may be too old to move before long. However, I feel very guilty about "abandoning" her as she has no other relatives here in St. Paul. How can I get some help with making a good decision?

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Leaving Mom to go to the UK
by: Becky Stannard

Thank you for your supportive comments. I still regret not staying in St. Paul to support my mother until she died. It was only a matter of 5-6 months before that happened.

I was lucky that a family friend took over for me (I paid her) to visit my mother 3x/week bringing flowers. She also took care of storing/disposing of her belongings when my mother died.

My mother never tried to make me feel guilty. She was a former social worker and when I confessed my conflicted feelings about leaving her, she suggested I seek the advice of social worker!

I did. I spoke with the social worker of a nearby care home and she advised me to go ahead and leave for the UK. It was good advice and helped me a lot.

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I feel your pain
by: Anonymous

I love my Mom like crazy and she is my best friend and also my worst critic. No matter what I do it is not good enough.

Long story short I fell in love with my husband who lived in another state and moved away. My children were happy for me but my mother laid on the guilt. She claims she is happy for me but then takes it away by telling me how much she needs me and gives me the "look"

She went into the hospital once again so I flew up to be with her. I am staying with her now to take care of her and she wants me to stay for as long as she needs not caring about my marriage. She says my husband is fine being alone (been married only 5 months) and that I am trying to make her feel guilty by saying I miss my husband very much.

She got angry and hurt that I wanted to fly home for a weekend to visit my husband. I felt guilty for leaving and guilty if I stayed. My husband really misses me and I him so I booked a one way flight home and I am leaving April 1st.

I am arranging for her care and taking care of other issues she can't handle in her current state. Yet, no matter what I do the guilt consumes me. As a parent your job is to raise happy, hardworking, respectable children who love God and do good.

As a parent, you want your child happy. I would never put this kind of pressure on my children and many say here that their parents have become very self absorbed. They got to live their retirement years in full yet expect you to give up yours.

It's not a matter of not loving your parents, It's a matter of self absorbed people sucking the life out of you and not caring at all about your own life.its very sad.

You've been planning this move for many years. Mom can live another 20 years and by then you may too old to move and too old to enjoy the things you were looking forward to.

Because you are a caring loving person you will feel guilt with the move. Many may criticize you, judging you as unloving and selfish. If you don't move you may become bitter, resentful and angry. Which would you rather live with, guilt or resentment towards someone you once loved dearly?

I hope this helps. I have been dealing with this myself and I can't sleep at night due to the guilt yet I also know I need to honor and respect my husband and if I push him aside to care for my Mother for a very long time I can easily destroy a beautiful marriage and ruin his plans for retirement.

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