I Can’t Help Feeling Guilty About Living Far from My Mom

Alexus Jones avatar

by Alexus Jones |

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While traveling to a recent event on the T, greater Boston’s public transport system, I felt as if I were in a generic movie about a city-dwelling 20-something. I love living in Boston. While it is not as big as Chicago or New York, after four years, I am still discovering new places, and yet it feels like home. My daily commute involves a scenic walk through the Public Garden and along city streets. 

The only thing I would change about my location — besides its windiness — is its distance from my mother.

In a previous column, I shared that my time with her is more precious since her diagnosis and how hard it is to be far away from her. Sometimes it feels as if a clock is ticking, and I am wasting this time that I will never get back.

She raised me to be independent and not to plan my life around her. When I was in college, she encouraged me to travel whenever I got the chance and to avoid feeling obligated to come home during breaks. But I still blame myself for my choice to live so far from my parents.

I choose to stay in Boston because I am happy here and have found a job I am passionate about. I also know that while I want to be near my parents, I’m not overly fond of Chicago and don’t want to work there. Yet, when I go months without seeing them, part of me feels incredibly guilty. 

I experience the typical child guilt of, “They’ve done so much for me, am I doing enough?” Though it’s more than that, I also feel a responsibility to my future self not to waste the time that I have now. Though it doesn’t make sense for me to pause my life and spend every moment with my mom, sometimes that’s all I want to do.

My mother will read this and tell me that I have no reason to feel guilty. While I’ll know that she’s right, I can’t control the feeling. I tell myself that I would probably go insane sitting around, or stuck in a job or a city that I can’t stand. If I weren’t here, I wouldn’t have gotten my adorable, but evil, kitten, Persephone. But despite my attempts to reassure myself, the guilty feeling doesn’t go away. Maybe it will one day, but not today.


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Srikar avatar


Alexus Jones what a wonderful honest article. I am just like you struggling to cope up with this guilt living in another part of the world. We all need to go through these choices in our life and it is little more difficult for us b'cos someone very dear to us is subjected to dreaded disease like Huntigton or something else. The guilt always chases me too but I guess there is dream which we need to fulfill for the near ones which started with us but ends with them!

Alexus Jones avatar

Alexus Jones

Thank you for reading, and I appreciate your understanding. It really can be tough sometimes, but it's important that we have lives too.

Anonymous avatar


Thank you for sharing your story. I'm also going through same thing staying thousands of miles away from my parents and feeling guilty and helpless. It's being really hard and the guilt is not letting me live my current moments to the fullest


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