Feeling Guilty

It’s strange, I know I shouldn’t feel guilty when I suddenly find myself smiling, or even laughing, but I do. How can I do these things when my son has only been gone for such a short time? If he were watching, would he think I never loved him? Would the people in my presence think such a thing as well?

All these questions are stupid. I know that. But still, I feel guilty when any semblance of normal life surrounds me. I also know that Barry would not have wanted us to be in pain and sorrow, and that he wouldn’t have wanted us to stop living because of his actions. He was a good person, a caring person. I believe that he did know how I felt about him. How could he not, when I told him often that I loved him?

Yet the feelings of guilt still consume me. Thoughts of betrayal linger in my mind. When will these things stop? Maybe next month, or next year, or in ten years time. Maybe never. I don’t know.

I believe the problem stems from other people expecting me to stop talking about what happened. These people are denying me an outlet. It’s unfair because it means I have to censor what I say. In truth, I continue to talk about what happened with the people closest to me – Gary and Daniel. I encourage them to do the same because with each week that passes, there are new emotions to cope with. And, of course, there is this blog, which I find to be therapeutic and gives me purpose.


2 thoughts on “Feeling Guilty

  1. Olga

    Hello Karen.
    After seeing your blog, I’ve decided to tell you how Barry’s death affected me. If only other people’s tears for you and your family could somehow ease your pain.
    I thank you that you had confidence in me to look after your Barry, as I promised you I would. I have a son who is only 1year older than Barry, and, as a mother, I feel I have to look after someone else’s child the way I would expect for mine.
    I asked my son if he met Barry. There’s a possibility that they went to the same parties or night clubs, as my son often went to your area with friends.
    I usually do the preparation for the “viewing” with someone, but I felt I needed to do it alone this time, as I have done before with children and babies. A mother looking after another’s child. No idle chatting, as is often the case in the mortuary, to keep our minds a little detached from the task at hand.
    You asked me to do Barry’s hair the way he usually did it (in his photo) and my heart ached as I saw that’s how my own son sometimes does his hair too. I actually brought in some of my son’s styling wax for Barry’s hair and I felt close to tears as I used it.
    Before I saw Barry I started off feeling a bit cranky at him for doing what he did and putting his family through what you’re experiencing now, but when I saw him, I just felt an overwhelming sadness for him. Such a handsome boy, so full of potential.
    I dread the “viewing time”. The wails and cries that come from that room cut into you, especially if the cries are for a lost child.
    That night when my son came home from work I hugged him tightly and wept. I don’t really know what I felt that night, it was a mix of emotions: Sadness for a young life lost, sadness for a family torn by grief, sadness for Daniel in finding Barry, relief that my children are safe and well, a dread that something might happen to them. It’s not the usual welcome he gets – my son realised what my work day involved and just held me, not saying anything. I told him your story, and he really felt for Daniel, finding his brother the way he did.
    I hope knowing that others weep and ache for Barry and your family doesn’t make you feel so alone. It’s true that often people don’t know what to say, so they don’t say anything, and you feel they’ve forgotten you.
    I think it’s a good thing you’re doing in this blog. I’m a firm believer in support groups, as I used to facilitate one many years ago. It was just as much for my own help as for anyone else.
    And, if only one life is saved from suicide as a result of reading this blog, it’s a priceless thing you’re doing. God bless

  2. Thank you, Olga. Your words made me cry, but that’s OK. It’s important to be reminded of how other people have been affected during this journey. I realise it’s not just me who is suffering.

    The words you wrote over “feeling a bit cranky” over Barry’s actions touched me most. I haven’t felt anger, but now I’m wondering if that’s normal. I don’t want to point a finger at anyone at this terrible time, including Barry, but maybe there is something beneath the surface that needs addressing. I’m really not sure. I know that both Daniel and I do feel angry, I’m not really sure how Gary feels about this … but our anger is at people in general, at the nonsense that is going on around us, but not at Barry. Maybe that’s yet to come.

    I don’t know what else to say, except cherish your children and don’t take anything for granted – ever.

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