The Grief/Guilt Two Step

I’ve been talking to my therapist for five sessions now. It’s for grief, but the word guilt comes up just as often. Apparently it’s totally normal (as in typical) for grief and guilt to go hand in hand, and yet we tend to like to do the dance as if they aren’t side by side.

Guilty that I couldn’t do more. (Love solving problems. Couldn’t solve this.)

Guilty that I wasn’t there every minute (I’ll admit, this isn’t what I feel, but I can imagine it being typical.)

Guilty that it wasn’t me (again, not my feelings, but very typical. “Survivors guilt” they say.)

Guilty that it’s not been long, but feels like a very long time.

Guilty that I feel like I’m beginning to cope and do just fine. This is where I am.

I tried to be proactive. Almost immediately got someone I could talk to about ALL THE FEELINGS. (Liz would be proud.) I’ve been working my grief. As they say in “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” – can’t go under it, can’t go over it, gotta go through it.

I’ve been going through it. I am going through it. I will be going through it. I’m trying my damndest to deal with my grief in a productive way so that it doesn’t become everything. And dangit, its hard, but I’m proud of myself because this effort is worth it.

And THEN. The guilt. Guilt that I actually am going okay and guilt that I am capable of living my life despite Liz’s absence and guilt that I have happy, great days. The guilt is normal, so they say, so I acknowledge it. Then I move on. It’s a passing, fleeting thought.

“Would your sister want you to feel guilty for being happy?” asks my therapist. “Ughhh. No. Nah. She would tell me to feel my feelings.” It’s the grief/guilt two step. Don’t let it trip you up.

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