There’s a Guilt in the Joy.

Loss and grief take you on such a strange journey. They’re so hard to process. You definitely can’t force it… which I guess is true for all emotions – you just need to ride them. But the thing is that grief and loss really don’t give you any warning and they completely take over when they arrive.

Sometimes it sort of creeps up on you during the least griefy moments. In the middle of utter joy or hilarity or passion – bang – remember you lost this thing and you’re meant to be devastated! I’m learning to let the joy and the grief live side by side in my heart. To not automatically silence the pain. But it’s hard because it feels counter intuitive. It’s like feeling heat and still placing your hand in the fire. The minute my heart feels the edge of the pain of the loss I flinch, my body tenses and I want to recoil away from it. It takes all of my strength to be curious and follow the sadness. To really look at it and embrace it.

I feel guilty when I’m caught up in joy then suddenly remember that Anna is out there somewhere very ill and shielding. Probably hasn’t been out of her house or maybe even out of one part of her house for over four months. That’s if she’s not in hospital. Or worse. I feel awful when I think of how her life was turned upside down and how she tried to keep it as normal as possible for me… setting up a little lookalike therapy room in a corner of her house for our Zoom sessions. With a tiny table and candle. My heart hurts for her. I wonder what her life is like now. Totally stripped of all the things that she’d built for herself in later years.

In my moments of triumph, though the pangs of guilt catch me off guard, I know she would have been cheering me on – encouraging me to lean into the joy. She would have told me, insisted in fact, ‘feel it Lucy, let go and allow yourself to feel loved, feel overjoyed, let Little Lucy play…’ and for fleeting moments I do. Then I suddenly remember I’ll never be able to tell her about these moments. And it brings such sadness and regret. I want to share all of this with Anna. I learned so much just by sharing my new found happiness with her. Letting myself believe in the good and learning through her that I was allowed to be happy and relaxed and loved.

Anna was the mother I always longed for and I’d only just begun learning to let her love in. I really wish I could tell her all the ways that her love is still shaping my life and all the reasons why I wish she was still here. I want to share my little victories and my colossal heartbreaks. I strain inside myself to find her words of wisdom when I really need her support… ‘what would Anna say right now?’ I think to myself. And I do have to think very very hard. I place myself in that room in my mind and I try very hard to formulate the words to express to her what I’m going through and then I listen, so intently, as if to hear the quiet whisper of a ghost whistling through a valley… sometimes I hear her, other times it’s just silence. I wrap my arms around myself, pretending she’s holding me. 🌿 there are little parts of me not quite ready to let her go… even though it’s been 9.5 weeks since she let me go 🖤

8 thoughts on “There’s a Guilt in the Joy.

  1. LovingSummer

    You have such a beautiful way of wording the delicacy of grief. Anna will always be a part of you, like any good parent is, so I’m not surprised to hear you speak of your thoughts about her in this way. Hug for your intense grief-pain though 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is so heartfelt, painful, and beautiful. I think there is always guilt in the moments of joy when you are grieving. They say it doesn’t mean you love them less or that you don’t still feel the loss. But it is a strange process. This made me think of one of your posts where Anna said to you, “You don’t have to cut yourself Lucy in order for me to know you are hurting.” The joy also doesn’t take away from the grief, or the loss, or the love you have for her. But it all is complicated and hard. You are doing beautifully Lucy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is such a strange process. Thank you Blue. I really feel understood. I love that you remembered that thing Anna said to me. It seems to be one of the most memorable things she said in our sessions (for others and for me). It’s so powerful and it does relate to this situation too. Thank you for your support 💕

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m grieving my own loss of a different kind, but of a person I loved too… Here with you… There is so much sorrow that clouds my joys as I am reminded in so many large and small ways of my lost loved one. They are still alive, they must be hurting a lot…

    Liked by 1 person

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