Losing someone is pain, anxiety, envy, confusion, jealously and guilt all wrapped in one. It is a mess. It is a mess that Bounty the quicker picker upper can’t even clean up. It doesn’t matter if it’s been a month, six months, a whole year, two years or infinity the pain, anxiety, envy, confusion, jealousy and guilt will be there. You must know that these feelings will be predominant in your life. That doesn’t mean they have to control your life. It is how you handle these emotions that will give you control in life.
After a loved one passes I feel that those left have this feeling of guilt. Guilty of what they didn’t do, what they could of done more of. Guilt is like an aura that sticks to you like glue some days. Guilt can be brought up very unexpectedly, from a very vivid dream, seeing something that gives you flashbacks or you just being hard on yourself questioning everything you did. Where it came from doesn’t matter though. What matter is that you don’t push it away to another day. Like bills, avoiding phone calls from certain people or not going to the doctors. By avoiding these circumstances you are delaying the inevitable. An eruption that multiplies the impact of everything you have been avoiding.
There is always something to feel guilty of. It’s easy to look back, deconstruct your life after you know how it has played out. It’s that question of…
Those two words can really bring you down and make you feel awful, like you did something wrong. There is no wrong move when helping a loved one. You do what you felt was right in that one moment. But not just right for them, but for you. This is your battle as well. You may have been quiet, not talked about their suffering with them. Avoided visiting them, didn’t do that one last thing they always wanted, have that last meal. In your mind now you may wonder what if I had spoken up? Spoke my mind? Took my loved one to that place they always wanted? Visited them more? Did I do enough?
My voice could of made my loved one get a second, third opinion. Enjoy one more moment in life. However, short of having a time machine you are just wearing yourself out from stressing over what you did compared to what if I did this. Your pain doesn’t bring your loved one back. Your pain does transform you, but there are other ways to transform you into a healthy happy you besides throwing yourself into the guilt gauntlet. I suggest emerging yourself into the thought of what you wanted to do differently. Think about that. Now wonder if you can take that feeling or advice and apply it to the now. Time is not lost, grieving teaches you life lesson after life lesson. It’s not until you are further down the road a few years that you can appreciate what you learned from grieving.
I used to sit and stare off wondering what I could of done different. Berate myself over my choices from the past 9 years of grieving wondering, what if? I could have been more open with my father, he could have been more open with me. He kept his pain a secret and I wish I could go back and talk to him. Just tell him I love him and have him tell me his pain, his worries, his hopes for me. At the time of his treatment, I was in my own world of shock treatment. Seeing a loved one fight an illness throws you into this new environment. I was so lost and confused I didn’t even think of terms of what I should do in case he passes. I was naïve and blind to the fact of how much cancer sucks. I took my guilt from what I didn’t do with my dad and applied that to my mom when she was sick. From the years of pain after my dad passed wondering what I could of done, I wanted a different experience with my mom. More resolution more answers and less hush hush undisclosed information. I got what I was looking for, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have guilt about how I handled her time. I always think I could of done more. You always think you could have done more.
If you are not guilty about one thing it will be another. View the past as a steppingstone for where you have been. Learn from your past but don’t bury yourself in the pain of the past. The mind has a way of making things more painful when you remember. Look ahead not behind. I saw what I wanted to change from my experience with my dad to my mom and I did. Was it the right choice? Nobody can say, but I did me. I did what I felt and thought would make me be able to sleep, move forward and love me. Please love you and be gentle on you. There is so much pain in the world,no reason for the bulk of it to come from within you.
People are not born with all the answers, life would not be fun if you knew how everything played out.