Guilt can be a very powerful and isolating emotion, causing family and friends to withdraw from you for fear of saying the wrong thing. If you are feeling guilty about something, even if there is no basis for your guilt, you may be inclined to keep it to yourself, never verbalizing what you are thinking.
The possibilities for feeling guilty or regretful are infinite. Regret often gets confused with guilt, which makes dealing with it difficult. It may help to clarify in your own mind which it is you are experiencing.
Regrets are the things you wish you had done or said before your loved one died. Guilt, on the other hand, is what you feel when you believe you have done something wrong.
If you can’t seem to resolve your guilt feelings or regrets on your own, you might ask a trusted friend or relative to help you talk them out. Or, if you’d rather not share in this way, you may want to find a counselor or religious advisor who can help you.
Be assured that you can get relief from these powerful feelings and even experience emotional growth.
Adapted from The Mourning Handbook by Helen Fitzgerald
Learn more about TRU Community Care Grief Services.