A couple weeks before Mark died, I had a conversation with my favourite nurse about Mark, if it was his time, and the discussion involved survivor’s guilt.
We talked about some people who feel they could have done more. Or did too much. Or those who lived while their loved one died.
I don’t feel guilt over any of those things. We did everything we could, pushed only as far as was a benefit to him. As long as he was willing to fight, so was I, but when he was done… I let go.
I understood that. I understood his decision. I understood the WHY of his decision. I probably would have made the same decision at that point.
I feel no guilt about where we went in his treatment, or where we stopped.
What I feel guilt about, what I feel bad about, is when I feel happy.
I feel guilt when I feel joy in the moment, when I’m enjoying life, when I “forget” for a moment.
I get that I need to forget. I get that life is a balance of good and bad, happy and sad and all those cliches.
I get that.
But this insidious little thought runs through my brain… worming itself through my consciousness… colouring the joy with sorrow.
And then, as soon as I’m aware… the guilt that I’m enjoying myself when he’s not here… that I’m doing soemthing I would have done with him before… and I have to almost physically pull myself back to enjoying whatever is going on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
It’s not always… just enough to tug at my heart and make me catch my breath.
Just enough to keep me off balance…