Uncle Anchises writes about the untimely death of his father (aka my grandfather), and his guilt over their last meeting. I responded, but there's more. Upon reflection, my family is filled with guilt over parental guilt. How so?
My mother's felt guilty for the past 60 years over your mother's death (you want to talk untimely? My grandmother died when she was 47!) Mom feels that she let her mother down by not being as attentive while she was in the hospital, and by not wearing lipstick as asked; in short, for being a 12-13 year old girl.
And then there's my father, who feels guilty that he didn't realize how sick his father was, as though he could have prevented the heart attack.
Neither have expressed guilt over their other parents' death, but I know that my mother's father's death still sits uneasily on her.
Thing One was lucky enough to spend a good deal of time with his mother as she was in the hospital dying, and was there when his father literally drew his last breath. He misses them, but guilt doesn't enter into his feelings.
Wonder what I'll feel guilty about when my parents go.