Guilt: The unexpected companion of joy after loss.
The further I deviate from my typical “routine” of grief, I notice so many changes in my thoughts and emotions.
At first I think, “I’m having a good time!” And I cherish that. I cling to that feeling. I let the happiness wash over me. It almost feels like an out of body experience, because I’m not used to these moments of normalcy anymore. They remind me of my pre-loss life, and to be honest, I love that feeling.
But it doesn’t always last. I’ll get so overwhelmed by how much a moment feels like my life before Aria, that I start to feel like I’m abandoning the life I had with her. It’s as if all of this joy is somehow dishonoring her legacy, and not giving Aria the moments of remembrance she deserves.
Then the anxiety sets in, and I beg the grief to wash over me. I stare at photos of her, trying to return to the state of depression I was in for the first few months after she passed. It’s as if I feel safer in sadness.
Then I become overwhelmed with guilt. Am I a terrible mother? Am I forgetting her? And how could I possibly allow myself to be happy without her?
It’s awful because deep down, I know I want to be happy. I crave normalcy and healing. I want to live a fulfilling life after loss. But guilt speaks so loud that it’s impossible to ignore.
Part of me knows these feelings will likely be fleeting, and as healing continues, the guilt will eventually subside. But right now, it’s such a huge part of my journey. My mind is struggling to comprehend these intense emotions which causes me to overthink everything. I know that these moments, while messy and complicated, are still constructive. Working through it brings me closer to where I want to be, even when if it feel more like a setback than progress.