Should I feel bad for not visiting a relative in the hospital?

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  1. davidlivermore profile image92
    davidlivermoreposted 10 years ago

    Should I feel bad for not visiting a relative in the hospital?

    A family member is in the hospital, unfortunately passing away.  She apparently is a different personal mentally and physically now.  I want to remember them how they were, not how they are now.  I saw my mother before she passed away, and the image haunts me.  Should I visit this relative?  Am I a bad person for wanting to remember them how I last saw them - healthy and happy?

  2. mbwalz profile image84
    mbwalzposted 10 years ago

    I can understand your hesitation. But I would offer that being in the hospital is lonely, scary and at the very least boring. Helping a family member through the last few days of their lives is an amazing gift you give to them. I helped my father pass away in his own home and it was the greatest experience I could have. It did take me some time before I got the image out of my mind, but soon enough we laughed over pictures and remembering the fun we all had together.  Visiting may help you over come your own fears. After all, one day it could be you in the hospital wishing someone would come and lend comfort. Pay it forward. smile

  3. CraftytotheCore profile image73
    CraftytotheCoreposted 10 years ago

    I think it depends.  I had a piano teacher during my childhood years that I visited one time at her home when I got older because of my hectic work schedule.  But then I found out she was dying in a nursing home and I made a one-hour round trip every day to sit with her and watch the Sound of Music in her room with her.  I'm glad I had those days to share with her before she passed.  Her family on the other hand, requested never to see me again so they could move on with their lives.  They didn't want any reminders of her around including people she once taught piano lessons. 

    I had another relative that was dying and I didn't get to see him before he passed.  I think about him every day and wished I could have said goodbye.  I know it hurt his daughter when I wasn't able to visit with him during his last days.  I felt badly about that and still do.

    I guess it depends on how it will make you feel after?  If it's something you'll regret if you don't go, I would say definitely go to the hospital!  But like in my first example, if you think it's best to remember her from a time before, maybe it's best to keep her memory alive in your heart.  Just make sure you won't look back and regret your decision and feel worse after the fact.

  4. SAM ELDER profile image53
    SAM ELDERposted 10 years ago

    You are not a bad person and you are not obligated to do things you do not want to do.

  5. dingyskipper profile image60
    dingyskipperposted 10 years ago

    You will probably always feel guilty, I have lost both of my parents and I visited them, but I was not there when either of them died. My father I visited when he could sit up and chat, but a few days later I went and I am not sure he knew who was there.
    That is something to think about, it is nice to remember people when they were at their best.
    Either way you will still be sad

  6. MsDora profile image94
    MsDoraposted 10 years ago

    Don't feel bad, feel your need for help.  The sooner you learn to understand and accept the inevitable process of death, the healthier you will be, and the more able to share in family grief.  Talk with someone who can help you, because if you continue to withhold your presence from dying relatives, there is the possibility that you will face haunting of neglect, later.  Do it not only for the dying, but also for you.

  7. ambee12 profile image68
    ambee12posted 10 years ago

    I personally feel it does not matter how different an individual is.  If they are dying or about to die, then it is good to go and visit them.  You must have spent happy moments together when they were of good health.  It is only right that you visit and at least show that you care no matter what state they are in or whether they recognize you or not.  When you relative sees you, he or she will feel good thinking that you do care about them.  That is what it is all about.

  8. laringo profile image60
    laringoposted 10 years ago

    This can be view in two different ways. First, visiting a sick person in the hospital can help them in the healing process when seeing family members or close friends; on the other hand it depends on a persons belief system and how ill one is to make a decision not to see them in a deteriorated state. I guess what I'm saying is that there is no general answer. Every situation should be handled accordingly.

  9. flacoinohio profile image78
    flacoinohioposted 10 years ago

    It depends on the situation I suppose.  If this a person you have a strong relationship with, you should visit even though it would be far easier on you to not see this person in their current state more so if she is different than she was from way you remember her.  On the other hand, if this person is not someone you have a close relationship and you are going out of obligation, this will also have a personal effect on you.  You may feel guilty for not being closer to the person or even worse the friends and family (or your family) may feel your visit is nothing more than going through the motions to make it appear you are genuinely interested in the person you are visiting.

  10. Kristen Walsh profile image59
    Kristen Walshposted 10 years ago

    I think that mbwalz said it beautifully.  I know that it's hard, but if you can manage the visit I think it will be an amazing gift that you are giving your relative.  I'm sure that she is lonely and scared and your presence would let her know how much she meant to you.

  11. Dolores Monet profile image93
    Dolores Monetposted 10 years ago

    It's not about you. Why don't you think of the other person, the one who is suffering. Would you rather have left your mother to die alone?

  12. Dr. Haddox profile image61
    Dr. Haddoxposted 10 years ago

    What was the quality of the relationship that you had with this relative? Was it a good relationship or a bad relationship? Do you like the relative? Do the relative hat you? You have to think about why you should them at the hospital, or why not. There is always a reason, good or bad, for not wanting to visit someone. The decision is yours. No need to feel bad, one way or another
    Dr. Haddox

  13. stars439 profile image60
    stars439posted 10 years ago

    It is a kind thing to do , to be strong enough to visit people who are dying if they want to see loved ones, or friends. We all die eventually, and most of us look forward to seeing people that matter to us a lot. 

    If you have the resources like gasoline, and a decent car that will help you to go to a hospital, and the time away from work, and a little spending money , for a little bit of food for lunch, then try to visit someone who is dying in you're family, or a dear friend.

    Everyone wants kindness, and love when their dying in most cases. Showing love to a dying friend, or relative, or loved one is a priceless gift.

    I can not say enough how much I loved everyone dear to me. I would die for anyone, and everyone I love. I would die for people I do not even know, because I wore the badge of a deputy sheriff as a volunteer, and I promised to serve , and protect. 

    Some people are not as strong as others, or can not handle difficult emotional situations very well. Don't hold that against them. Not everyone can be brave in doing certain things.

    There are some people who are super brave at doing some things, and very frightened at doing other things.  I am extremely frightened of a certain kind of insect even though I was a police officer.

    All I can say is to do you're best , and try to help people when they want you're help by their death beds, because it is a decent thing to do.

  14. naturalbodydetox profile image58
    naturalbodydetoxposted 10 years ago

    You already have the bad feelings, that's why the question is arise ! Don't focus on that "should" matter, just stay with the "did" matter. "What ever you did its obviously correct in your perspective".

  15. kmaskreations profile image56
    kmaskreationsposted 10 years ago

    Every situation is different.  As a christian, everything we do is done with a servant's heart.  What we do is for others, not for ourselves.  A servant considers the wishes of those he serves.  If your aunt wouldn't recognize you, your presence can do her no good.  I'm getting the impression you weren't close even before her present condition.  Too many put too much thought into what others will think of you if you don't do what they consider appropriate.  Search your heart.  If you visit, are you going for the right reason?  If she is alert, ask if she would like a visit. Then, attend to her wishes and find peace in knowing that's what she wanted. Many who are hospitalized have no desire to have visitors as they consider this time to be their least presentable.  My husband is one who has felt this way for decades.  He has always said, "Please don't come and watch me be sick."  Images only haunt us if we allow them.  If a million good images of your mother are in your memory while she lived, don't let a handful of unpleasant images of her departure take precedence.  She certainly would not have wanted it that way.  Do what God thinks is best, not others.

  16. peachpurple profile image83
    peachpurpleposted 10 years ago

    I would say it is better for you to visit her since it will be her last few moments on earth. My great grandmother was on the edge of death when we visited her. She was happy to see us although she can't remember our names because she had dementia. She was at peace when she left. Give her some sweet memories.

  17. profile image0
    jparrottmerrellposted 10 years ago

    I don't think so. Because when it all comes down to it, that person understands and completely accepts why you're not visiting them, and they love you anyway. It is important though to keep your thoughts about this person positive and think of them with love in your heart as often as you can. Best of luck to you! :-)

  18. lupine profile image65
    lupineposted 10 years ago

    Your question is, "should you feel bad for NOT visiting..."? So, I assume you are planning NOT to visit. It is your choice. Make sure you have chosen wisely because if and when this person dies, you will not get another chance  You have your reasons...if you have chosen not to go, accept your choice...don't feel bad. If you keep thinking about it, feeling bad, wondering if you should go, then you should go. The fact that you feel bad, makes me think you are not sure.  If others are pressuring you to go, it's still up to you, and they need to respect your choice. About your mother, try to remember her when she was happy and healthy. I'm sure she wouldn't want you to be sad and remember her only at her worst time. Hope this helps...don't overburden yourself.

  19. Diana Lee profile image80
    Diana Leeposted 10 years ago

    My mom and brother both suffered terrible deaths to cancer.  I hated seeing them like that, but I was needed there to help with their care. The haunting images are still fresh in my mind as well. They wanted no one to see them like this, but certain people they did request a final visit from. I'm thankful to those people for giving us a break for a few minutes. Not being there may not make you a bad person at all, but being there will show the rest of the family as well as the dying loved one you have respect for them. Follow your heart.

  20. preddyc profile image62
    preddycposted 10 years ago

    Even though you want to remember them how you last saw them, this is, unfortunately, the last MOMENTS you get to spend with them. Don't regret the decision to not be with them at the end because you were too selfish to think about what they needed, not the way you want to remember them.

  21. profile image50
    Southmeposted 10 years ago

    All I know is that I did not see a gf who was in the hospital when I was on a business trip. I got the first flight I could and did not get return to the city until 2:30 am.  Next morning I called her at a hospital 35 miles away. She told me NOT to come. She said she wanted to sleep. For 2 days of calling she reiterated NOT to go. 
    I knew I should go but I did not.  We broke up after 3 1/2 years last year. She told friends it was because I wasn't there for her.  I lost someone I was deeply in Love with.   The guilt and pain of NOT being there for her when she needed me is tremendous. Perhaps even debilitating at times. 
    As they say, you NEVER get a chance to relive the past!  I know and  believe had I just gone we would still be together. I broke her Trust in me! never to be repaired!
    So, I cannot believe if you go to someone in need to when they are very sick and or dying, that any pain or discomfort you feel from seeing that person in that state could possibly be more that the guilt you feel from NOT being there!
    I cannot relinquish this guilt!  No matter what I do or how many therapy sessions I go to.  I will NEVER make that mistake again!

  22. yogaburnclub profile image81
    yogaburnclubposted 6 years ago

    It's normal to feel sad for not visiting a loved one in the hospital and it becomes worse when he or she passes on and you have not made any efforts to visit and encourage him or her.

    Nowadays life has become very engaging with different jobs and assignment to do you are left with limited time for your family.The limited time makes one not able to visit friends and relatives in hospitals.Its call for one to try and create time to visit loved ones.

  23. Monica Mason profile image57
    Monica Masonposted 5 years ago

    I was told to visit my grandma at the end when she was in and out of awareness. I had seen her for years with Parkinson's symptoms mild to worse. The last time my brother and I had seen grandma, she had had a great day. Dentures in place, dressed, no shakes and no walker. Only 2 weeks before. We agreed that seeing her when she may not recognize us would be too sad and for me painful. I was suffering with undiagnosed stress-induced Crohn's and wasn't all that well. I don't regret not seeing her at the end. She died the day after my birthday. I grieved. I think of her fondly. She lived with us during our teenage years, so solid memories and more from yearly summer visits as kids.
    On the flipside, I held my husband's cat's paw as she passed away and he left the room. The cat adored me and I loved her. I feel at peace with that.
    Now with my mom and her rapid progression of ALS I'm getting pressure to go visit (I don't drive and Greyhound doesn't service my region any longer). All the step-grand kids have or are going to visit with financial debt my step-dad pointed out. My husband is out of leave after 2 months off for his own health problems. I don't get holidays (if granted-yet unknown) until July and only 1 week. Currently holidays, upcoming surgery (5 weeks post leave), stress-leave and exams have caused my department at work to be understaffed and shifts unfilled. A co-worker is willing to drive me up, but then the department loses 2 more people for at least 5 days (she's full-time). I feel if I pull strings through HR and then go, It will end up with me depressed and stressed at seeing her so bad. Stress then makes me ill. I can't have a Crohn's relapse as the initial misdiagnosis and the relapse nearly killed me (Specialist said I should be dead). I love my mom, but seeing her would be like seeing my grandma at her worst and I loved her just as much and probably more than my mom (grandma mothered me with more compassion and understanding). The family is going to look at me badly which upsets me as they can't understand how torn up I am. I don't go and I'm vilified at the funeral. I go and am forever messed up. Now what?


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