My Dad passed away when he was 48....heart attack. My parents were seperated at the time. I loved my Dad but I didn't like him at that time. I wasn't on speaking terms with him when he passed and I will always feel bad about that. For a long time after I would have this recurring dream...always the same. There was a knock on my Mom's door...we open it and there he is with a suitcase. I asked him where have you been? He says oh I was just away on a trip. The dream ends... no more. After quite some time I never had that dream again. I always felt that it was just me coming to grips with him never coming back. When I KNEW he never would the dreams stopped. He died in 1978 a couple weeks shy of his 49th birthday. I remember having such a hard time picking out a birthday card for this man...my Dad...who I didn't like very much at that time. It was a very plain unaffectionate card and it was there on his counter. I hope he knows I did love him.
Daria, please let go of any guilt you are feeling. You were acting in accordance with your feelings at the time, and you need to recognize that no amount of current guilt can change one second in the past. I don't know what your belief system is, but I believe in an afterlife and still talk with my daughter after 11 years, telling her how I felt then and feel now. For some reason, I have honestly never felt guilty about the decisions or actions I took with her - I know that I tried to do the best for her that I could, even when my decisions/actions were the exact opposite of what I felt. Laurel knew I loved her, and I still feel her presence with me on occasion.
Take your feelings and apply them to this moment and every moment hereafter - never let a loved one go without letting them you love them and show it in your actions towards them. Then, if something happens, you will have confidence they knew, even if you didn't have a last opportunity to say do. Take your experience and learn from it to improve your life and the lives of your family and friends. That will help good come out of the bad.
My Dad also died suddenly, and my Mother still spends time regretting that she wasn't there with him. The regret does nothing but take time that could be spent with those of us still here, but I cannot convince her of that.
Learn from the past, do what you can in the present, but don't spend time in regret for what could have been different. Time is too precious.
From my own experience and talking with many people I find that there is always something we can find to feel 'regret' 'guilt' over when someone dies. Even something quite small - one girl who regretted not giving her brother some sugar cane he asked for, myself regretting I did not ring my mother from abroad the night before she died - I think it in part the response to the cutting of the continuity - something ordinary or fitting at the time becomes big because the obvious everyday thread is cut by death. We do not know the time of our own death let alone anyone elses - we can try and live life remembering that death can come at any moment but we should not feel bad if we cannot do that all the time. Lots of love to anyone who has lost someone and is still regretting anything!
[ send green star]
Yes, guilt plays a strong role in the grieving process.. March 10, 2005 12:19 PM
Yes, guilt does play a strong role in the grieving process. I just saw the movie, "Raising Helen". It was a nicely done movie but there was a scene in there that connected with me and my guilt. Where the main character Helen was speaking to her nephew on the basketball court after a practice and his evident lack of enthusiasm for the sport he had so loved playing with his father who along with his mother had been killed in a car accident. Well his Aunt Helen(Kate Hudson) speaks to him about why he no longer enjoys playing basketball and that guilt thing popped right up. Here he had felt guilty for enjoying something he and his father had enjoyed tremendously while on earth. You do feel that way alot of the time. You feel guilt for feeling joy and laughter when they are not here to enjoy it with you, or just plain surviver's guilt because you are here and they are not. Especially when they are young, not that older folks like me aren't as appreciated but sometimes you think why am I here and they are not? I don't know, but guilt is a difficult one to overcome but gradually I have learned to cope with it. She handled it in the movie nicely, by telling her nephew that his father would rather he enjoyed the life that he still had. That his parents wish was for them to get the most out of life. But that's the movies folks, eh?
So I try my best to live life fully even though it tweaks at my heart & soul at times reminding me how fragile it is and how I wish my niece were here on the planet with us enjoying hers to the fullest. peace & blessings---ginger