My sister died of breast cancer this past April. I have so much guilt because even though I knew she was ill, I just didn't see her as much as I wanted to. She and I were never close, and she never had any close friends. She lived with our mother, who was not much emotional support. She was divorced, deserted by her ex, and she only had one son who was divorced and she was helping him to raise his 4 children. We had a complex relationship. She, like my mother, was not a loving person, because our mother did not show affection, she did not either. She refused to talk about her cancer and never let us know how she was doing. I would ask her to let me go with her to see the doctor, and only once she asked me to go with her. When I asked the doctor questions, she would say no, don't ask, I don't want to know. I always felt like I couldn't do anything. She went to the hospital like the year before, but we did not know she was dying. The doctors never gave us indication of her not going back home. I feel so guilty that I didn't see her more, do more for her, or just be more of a friend to her. She had a difficult life, but part of it was because she just would not let anyone in. She was always critical of others, but now I see it was a shield to protect herself. How can I get over this depression of feeling guilt because I have a wonderful life and she didn't?
THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION WILL NOT BE DISPLAYED UNTIL YOU HAVE INDICATED YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THE DISCLAIMER PRINTED JUST BELOW. CLICK THE 'I AGREE' BUTTON TO AGREE TO THESE TERMS AND SEE THE RESPONSE.
- Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.