The Guilt of Grieving

My new, smaller family is on vacation this week. We’re visiting old friends, some family, carving out new memories, enjoying ourselves.

And I feel guilty as hell about it.

I know it’s silly, I know it. He’s gone, we’re still living, it wasn’t our fault what happened happened. We have to keep on living, and part of living is finding joy. Preferably a large part. Otherwise, well, we won’t go down that path. Ever.

Yet, I can’t help the guilt. I mean, this is my first time dealing with grief at this level. My parents are still with us, as are my husband’s. And our siblings. Our parents dealt with the details of burying our grandparents, all of whom passed many years ago.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. I’m a little afraid people will criticize the “way” I’m dealing or not. Crazy or stupid, perhaps, but that’s me.

What I want to feel is happy. What I want is for the hole in my heart to heal. Okay, what I really want is my son back, but I’ve mostly come to accept that isn’t going to happen. Despite that, I still want to enjoy life. I want to wake up and look forward to the day. I want to laugh. And oh God, I want to stop crying. I’ve shed enough tears for a lifetime in the last three weeks, and while I know they won’t end entirely, it would be nice to take a break from them for at least a few days at a time.

Being on vacation has helped. We’ve deliberately chosen activities my daughter would like, and we’ve thoroughly reveled in her joy. I’ve taken a bunch of pictures and have posted some on Facebook, including one of myself and my husband, smiling. I was weirdly worried people would condemn me for smiling, but instead, my friends are glad for us. Which I suppose I should have expected. These people love me, after all, and despite our recent horrendous loss–or maybe because of it–they want us to find peace, to be happy again.

So we are. One day at a time. I’m sure there will be other posts full of sadness and despair and wishing for what I cannot have. But for right now, we are enjoying our vacation. And smiling.

5 thoughts on “The Guilt of Grieving

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  1. In the deepest of grief, you still get these small breaks from the emotion. This vacation time is one of those moments of reprieve. It’s not a linear process, so roll with the emotions, whatever they are, as they appear.

  2. You have a wonderful attitude, Tami. Grieving is a natural process that we all have to deal with at one time or another, and I totally believe one should celebrate the life of the lost loved one rather than be miserable about their death. We also have to go on living and we can choose to be happy or not.

  3. Everyone grieves differently. Anyone who criticizes you and your family for the way you are handling things, isn’t worth knowing or listening to. I was glad to see your family having fun. Know that you have a strong support system. Do what YOU need to do to get through this awful time. Blessings to you and family.

  4. Grief comes in waves. Take them as they come, and (try) not to worry about what others think for how you grieve. Everyone does so in different ways, and their is no right or wrong way. God bless you, and your family.

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