Could I have saved my Mum?

Dear Suzie,
hi i was blamed for my mums death at that time i was 11 she died of a heart attack could i of saved her.

I’m really sorry to hear you lost your Mum at such an early age. And I’m really horrified that anyone should have made you feel responsible for her death.

Experienced doctors with full medical equipment can’t always prevent a heart attack from killing someone. So how on earth could anyone even think that an 11 year old child has a hope of doing so? No, of course you couldn’t have saved her.

When someone dies most people as well as feeling sad, feel angry and guilty and confused. It’s perfectly normal to wonder “What if…?” and to have fantasies of how it might have been different. It’s also perfectly normal to look for reasons why something happened, and to want to point the finger of blame. But because such feelings are normal does’nt mean it’s fair to act on them.

I suspect the person who said this to you had their own worries about how they had behaved or what had happened. They feel angry and guilty and are trying to dump those feelings on you. But it’s totally unfair – no, you couldn’t have saved her, I’m sad to say. People die of heart attacks because they are ill – not because you had an argument or were naughty.

I think you, and whoever said this to you, need some help and support. I suggest you go to RD4U, which is a website specially for young people who have lost someone they love. And if the person who blamed you is an adult, suggest they get in touch with CRUSE, which is the adult bereavement site.

I’m sure you feel devastated at your mother’s loss. But you have no reason to feel it was your fault or that you could have done anything about it.

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