Another question I get asked a lot, is it normal to feel guilt?
Most recently, I was told that the individual felt so guilty about so many things - for being the one who is alive, for feeling a sense of guilt because they're glad that their partner's pain was now over, they felt guilty for even smiling and laughing, that just felt like a sin.
They gave their permission for me to share this with you.
Guilt is totally normal. It's part of the grieving process, it's a totally accepted natural step. It really is okay, I promise.
If you asked me the question, is it okay to feel the feelings I do, I'd say absolutely totally. I feel guilt to this day. If I'd taken him to hospital earlier, would he still be alive? There are many thoughts I hold like this, and I have tried to fight them, but they remain.
They are natural feelings. Particularly the ones about being the one left behind and feeling guilt for this. It's horrible, yes, but don't we owe it to them now to make the VERY best of our lives? I see it as a duty to him. I have to live life for both of us. I need to live life twice as hard to make it count, and I do my best, every day.
The guilt is horrible, but don't let it eat you up inside. Questions that start with "what if" are not good for you. If you don't know the answer, don't ask the question, focus on life, and living and making them proud of you. Add in woulda, coulda and shoulda into that mix too, the answers never end well. We have suffered enough, let's try to be kind to ourselves and take some pressure off where it's just not needed.
Also it's totally okay to not feel guilty, just for the record. It's also very normal to feel bad because you don't feel guilty. Grief really does mess with your mind and emotions so much.
Anything we feel on this journey is okay, and pretty normal given what we've gone through.
If you want some amazing grief reading, I highly recommend WYG, https://whatsyourgrief.com/guilt-and-grief-2/ - have a read.
Helping Others Understand
It can be really hard to watch someone you love seemingly beat themselves up over grief. Whether you agree or not, there is no amount of you telling them to stop that will actually help them here, guilt is a very common and natural reaction to grief.
They will not be the first and they won't be the last either.
It is important that you know that, and you firmly ground that idea in your head. In fact, it's the same with many things in grief, they won't make sense to you, but to that person living in the grief, it does, and that's all that matters here, right?
Unless you've been there yourself, it mightn't make sense to you right now, but if you sit with them, listen and let them try to explain, perhaps you might come to understand. And if you don't? Just be there and listen, no words are needed, the bereaved person just needs a safe space where there can talk.
Just be there, be present, be kind and listen.
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