HOW TO COPE WITH GUILT AND REGRET
Tell someone you trust what you are feeling. Blaming ourselves or wishing we had done something different is natural. We may need to be reminded that we did the best we could, that we were tired or stressed, or that we couldn’t have been there at the last minute. After the fact, we lose the objectivity to remember exactly how things were or we forget all the things we did right. If the person you trust says, “No, you aren’t to blame,” trust them and let it go.
Write a list of what you feel bad about. Then, as objectively as you can, identify what is guilt and what is regret. Is your guilt realistic or unrealistic? If it is realistic, was it intentional or unintentional? Our grief blinds us to the truth sometimes.
If it is regret you are feeling, there are ways to move past the feeling. It may be writing a letter expressing to the person who has died how you feel. If there is time, it may be talking to a terminally ill person about unfinished or unresolved issues between you.
If there is true guilt about something done wrong, you may receive relief by finding a way to make amends. An example of this is volunteering to do something kind for someone else. It must be noted that in most cases we are not actually guilty even though we feel that we are. We essentially have no control over what happens in life.
Be open to forgiving yourself. Forgiveness allows us to move toward healing, and may also create new ways to remember painful memories.
Look for a lesson that can be learned from your experience. Guilt and regret can inspire us to choose to become a better person, teaching us compassion, empathy for others in pain, or perhaps to say “I love you” more frequently.
Most importantly, allow yourself to remember the things you did right. Guilt and regret are feelings that occur as we focus on the things that may have gone wrong in a relationship. Those memories may need some attention, and it is important to acknowledge them, but remember to look at the big picture. Those moments that we feel guilt or regret over are a part of a larger picture that may capture more aspects of the relationship.
–by Laura B., grief counselor
Molly has come forward to this day with you and Pat. I should know. You introduced me to her memory years ago. Molly-on-a-stick What a hoot!), Molly’s favorite food (savory, spicy), Molly’s smile, a shrine in your home. Have fun today. She will be laughing right along with you.
The days leading up to day that my daughter Molly died when she was only 31 years are excruciatingly painful and filled with deepest sadness I have ever known in my entire life…I can function much better now that 8 years have passed but the 13th of April will remain in my memory until the day I die…Pat and I try doing something special on that day and this year we are going on a senior trip with people from the YMCA to Brooklyn Center to a conference that has to do with the idea that “laughter is the best medicine”…we are not too sure what to expect but it is appropriate that we honor Molly in this way…she loved to laugh…her laughter and smile could light up the room….
I just wanted to thank your founders for being interviewed on public radio recently. My loss happened in 2002, and I’ve worked for years to improve and return to life. Your group contacted me back then, and I’m happy to state that next year I will be movin
g to Minneapolis and will be your newest member. The interview by your co-founders touched my heart–as all of you know–sadly, this dirty club we belong to, losing a child, the club no one wants to join–is a tough one. I know I will continue my healing by meeting and spending time with all of you. Thanks, again, for that interview….Julie Metcalf Cull
Thank you Charlie for a wonderful evening with Molly. Now I will get going on journaling all my thoughts.
Candle Lighting Ceremony Monday, December 16, 2013. Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, MN. Same location as our regular meetings. Sign-in begins at 6:00 pm – select an ornament to be personalized (one per family), and enjoy treats and beverages while socializing. Program begins at 7:00 pm, with readings, music, candle lighting, and memorial video. Program usually ends approximately 8:30 pm.
Extended family and friends are welcome to join us.
Join us Monday, JULY 15 for our annual Balloon Release and Picnic. See full details under MEETING SCHEDULE tab. Earlier start time than our regular meetings – 6:00 pm picnic, balloon release will follow. NOTE the different location for this event – St. Joseph the Worker church in Maple Grove, south of 694 on Hemlock Ln.
I love seeing the dancer again with her arms holding what is no longer there.
You’re website is just beautiful, Minneapolis Chapter and Charlie! Very, very nice.
I love the color and clarity of the newsletter when displayed on the computer screen. Sometimes a color photocopy doesn’t capture it as well. And, I can magnify to the size that makes it easier to read (without having to find my glasses :-). Thanks for making it available also online.
Charlie, I love what you have done to make our newsletter available to those who go to our site for information. Its own tab, and article from National. Its great. Thank you
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