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Guilt is one of the toughest feelings to deal with especially after a death. It gnaws away at you and can affect your self esteem. You may feel terrible, as the object of your anger is with you 24/7.  You may feel embarrassed or ashamed.
Some common causes of guilt are:
  • Not being nicer to the person
  • Not spending more time with a sick relative before they died
  • Not appreciating the person more
  • Having had an argument prior to the death
  • Hating the hospital visits
  • Not insisting enough the person stop smoking or drinking.
  • Wanting to spend time with friends instead of helping out more at home.
  • Resenting the extra chores and responsibilities the person's illness brought on.
  • Having a "big mouth" and saying hateful things.

Regrets are wishes. You wish you had done something.

Guilt implies action of some sort. It stems from doing something that you did or something hurtful that you said.

What Helps?

  • Make a list of everything you feel guilty about or have regrets for. Analyze your list and note which items are guilt and which are regret.
  • Which items are stirring up more bad feelings for you? Are some resolved already?
  • Find someone to talk to, a safe adult is great. Someone who won't say, "Oh, you shouldn't feel that way." This could be a counselor, adult friend, clergy, coach  or teacher.
  • Write a letter to the person who died.

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