<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/the-guilt-that-haunts-me/”>The Guilt that Haunts Me</a>
Sometimes you just freeze in place, your body just stops responding and a wave of panic so severe takes hold that you don’t really know what emotion you are feeling. When I was told that I was to blame for my daughter’s death, it did all of those things and more. Someone told me the normal thing would have been to start yelling about how could they say that to me, but instead I grabbed my tail and stumbled to my car.
I went home and sat on the couch to watch some television. I didn’t cry, get angry, or do anything other than just sit there and listen to dialog. What if she was right? What if I had done something differently, would the outcome have been changed? Those would have been great thoughts, but all I did was push it away and watch the screen blink back at me.
The excuses I allowed for her behavior never addressed my growing and very unhealthy emotional breakdown. While I kept ignoring how it was affecting me, I concentrated on my physical needs. Two weeks after hearing those words I was in the hospital having a portion of my kidney removed. My time needed to be spent dealing with that, not the angry words of someone who didn’t know the lengths I had gone.
My guilt just kept getting worse at times I didn’t expect. Sitting in the office, not saying something while I was in a therapy session, I withdrew from everyone around me. I confused anger for grief and let myself slip deeper into a depression that made my world so much darker.
If your going to hit someone, always make sure you go for their biggest weakness with your first punch. It knocks them off everything right away and rarely allows them to recover. The only time that advice is valid is if you find yourself in an actual fist fight. Lashing out at someone like that requires a lack of human compassion that few people ever exhibit. [And my former mother-in-law showed a stunning lack of compassion even for her own grandchildren]
But my guilt kept growing and it got so bad that in order for me to be able to address my own medical needs I left my house, left my family, left people I would have died for behind. I went someplace safe where I could get help that I knew I desperately needed.
“What if’s” are horrible things. They place you in times and events you can’t change. There are rarely days where I don’t wonder if I had just been there would my daughter be alive. It compounds the problem of having not been in the room when she did die.
I’ve calculated the time over and over that the drive from my office to the hospital would have taken. 20 minutes with my lead foot pushing the pedal through the floorboard of my Volvo! 20 Miles that on that day felt like I was on Mars.
How have I dealt with the guilt? I have a button that I sometimes wear as a joke that resembles a Construction Zone sign you might find along the highway. There are few people who understand and that’s a good thing. I can walk someone through the steps they should take, which are the polar opposite of my stumbling, unhealthy path.
Every day I remind myself that I loved that little girl more than anything, her mother as well. But it doesn’t do much to help me. Odd that I continue to protect that other person [m-i-l] when it would have been easy to expose her issues.
Guilt has a pretty good stranglehold on my emotions plenty of days. Forgiving myself for something I couldn’t stop is much harder than anything I have ever attempted.