Guilt - The Truth

This one is a killer. It still haunts me now. You’ll have seen this in To My Newly Dead Husband, my letter written to my husband. Raw and painful, it’s the truth about my feelings of guilt. In truth, I often think about it.

About the what if’s, what if I’d done things earlier, would he still be here? The reality is no - at some stage, he’d have died, I could never have saved him, but I continue to beat myself up for something I could never change.

As the song goes, coulda, shoulda woulda…. Three of the most destructive words in the English language,

People tell you not to blame yourself, you couldn’t have done anything about it, it wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t say that, well you know what? I do. I DO blame me, you don’t know me, you don’t know how I feel.

There’s a big difference between feeling guilty and actually being GUILTY. That’s an important distinction to make here.

If I clinically analyse my guilt triggers here, I could NEVER have changed the outcome, but it doesn’t stop me feeling that guilt and carrying the burden that ultimately comes with that. We just need an answer, closure maybe.

Being able to put the blame somewhere helps somehow, perhaps? I don’t know, I just know grief is ridiculously irrational, and I know that I can always find another reason to be guilty if I can ever find a way to forgive myself for another reason why it is of course my fault he died.

You have to let it go. You have to or the grief will send you crazy, but it’s not that easy to find peace with yourself when you’re hellbent on taking the blame.

For me, I needed a reason why.

I always do.

This happened because of that. Phew, great, I understand, let's move on. That works great for unimportant stuff, but for death, it just doesn’t seem enough.

There has to be more.

There has to be a rational explanation for this. Let’s find a bigger grief stick to beat myself up with, shall I?

Wow, wow, and wow again.

I learnt a lot from my self flagellation and want to share my lessons with you:

  • I often ask myself what he’d say if he was here. He’d tell me to stop being a moron, and to remember he was terminally ill. It was not my fault.

  • Talking it through. It’s easy to talk yourself into pretty much anything when you’re the only person in the conversation. When you talk it through with someone else, you have someone to challenge and question you over your thoughts, it can be frustrating, but so useful when you’re trying to find logic and reason.

  • Be balanced. One of my points is that I wasn’t there with him when he died, and I am terrified he died frightened. . How many other times was I with him? Years of being constantly at his side, through every treatment cycle, hospital appointment, every damn thing. It wasn’t really within my control to be with him , the doctors wouldn't allow me to be. This is irrational and it’s so important to acknowledge irrational thoughts, when it’s something you had NO control over, how can you expect to

  • Be kind and please forgive yourself. You cannot heal until you do this.

Grief is natural, and normal, but please, be kind to yourself, you have suffered enough.

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