Guilt in Grief
Like depression and isolation, guilt is often packaged with grief. Guilt for still being alive… guilt for not being able to provide a level of care for the Loved One that would have saved them from death…guilt for breathing a sigh of relief that the hard work of watching someone die is over…
Guilt for preferring to be alone vs. continuing a pattern of seeing family and friends…guilt for not moving forward as quickly as others think you should…
The fact is you should feel guilt ONLY if you are guilty. SO…
- Did you make a deliberate choice to continue breathing even after your Loved One’s breathing ceased?
- Did you make a deliberate decision to not provide the care that would provide the healing?
- Did you insist on being relieved simultaneously with being grieved?
- Were you the one who determined that isolation would be an integral part of the grief experience?
- Did you deliberately inquire of others how quickly they would prefer that you “get over it” and “get on with it” and then consciously decide to do exactly the opposite?
Of course not! How ludicrous!
And so it is with great confidence and in the spirit of encouragement and support that I inform you that it is just as ludicrous for you to feel guilty. You are not to blame for any part of the death, the loss, or the grief. You are worthy of feeling whatever it is you feel.
However, the day may come when feeling guilty is appropriate. If you ever eventually and consistently
- deny others the opportunity to provide their version of support
- look for reasons not to participate in life’s offerings, and/or
- refuse to accept help…
…then you run the risk of being stuck in your grief to the point you no longer want to redefine your life into something worth living. In this state of mind, you are guilty of believing that God cannot or will not help you. You are guilty of robbing yourself and those who love you of valuable time in which love could be expressed and enlarged. You are guilty of spending your God-given time in a state of being unproductive and unable to give of yourself to others. And you are guilty of making the decision….consciously or unconsciously…to waste your days until you die.
Navigating grief God’s way holds no place for guilt….whether self-imposed or justified. Discover the relief in declaring yourself “Not guilty!”