Grief and Guilt

One of the hardest battles I’ve fought since hearing of my loved one’s death by suicide has been against guilt.

Over and over should haves, could haves, and would haves whirl through my mind.

“I should have realized the dark place he was in.”

“I could have traveled to visit him and help him deal with the crisis in his life.”

“I would have prayed more diligently—if only I had known.”  

“I should call him,” I had said a number of times since he had surgery.  Instead of calling, I had repeatedly decided a different day would be a better day. Now I’d never be able to talk to him again on this earth.

I chastised myself for not giving more emotional and spiritual support, declaring myself guilty of not loving enough and not doing enough.   

Guilt woke me in the night, and I longed to turn back time and do all the things that kept going through my mind believing if I had only done them my loved one would still be alive.

One day last week as I called out to God to help me overcome guilt, he reminded me that I had been telling others not to blame anyone for my loved one’s death—that he was responsible for the choice he made.

God showed me that my guilt was about blaming as well. I was blaming myself deciding that somehow “it was my fault” because I had not done everything possible to try to save his life.

A saying a counselor said to me years ago came to mind, “Blame and shame is the devil’s game.”

God wanted me to stop beating myself up. He encouraged me to confess any ways I wasn’t as loving as I could have been and then receive His cleansing and forgiveness. (See 1 John 1:9)

 Then God spoke this to my heart,  

“Love… keeps no record of wrongs.”  1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

He reminded me, “I am love. I keep no record of your wrongs. If you love yourself the way I love you, you will stop keeping a record of your wrongs.”   

Then God whispered, “Let me quiet you with my love.”

Zephaniah 3:17 came to mind:

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” NIV

Now I see that this latest battle with guilt is about looking back and mourning over what I could have done, which only adds to my grief.

God wants me to look ahead and ask Him what must now be done. The looking back wraps me in regret. The looking forward and determining to obey God brings peace and an assurance that He loves me and is with me every moment on this journey through grief.

Will you receive God’s peace and assurance as you deal with grief and loss in your life?

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About elainecreasman

I am a freelance writer and inspirational speaker. Since 1986 I have led the Suncoast Christian Writers Group.
This entry was posted in Spiritual Growth and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Grief and Guilt

  1. Julie says:

    Thanks, Elaine for your openness. I continue to pray for your healing of grief.

  2. Anne Garris says:

    When My daughter went to heaven, I discovered that the two most useless and destructive things I did was to say, “If only!” and “Why?” It has been my experience that guilt is usually part of the grieving experience. If we don’t have a clear reason for feeling guilty, we tend to manufacturer one. One thing I know, God doesn’t want us to do that. Hard as it is, he wants us to trust Him and look forward.

    God bless, Anne G.

  3. Debbie Nelis says:

    Dear Elaine,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Grief is an ebb and flow, it is a coming in an a going out. It is raging against the pain and freah realization. It is quiet sobs in the middle of the night or walking through a grocey store; it is anger at ourselves and anger at the one who left us, It is “No Time for Good-byes,” and still it is “A grace Desguised.”
    I hope you can join us at Suncoast Cathedral 5-19-12 we are having our 2rd annual “Storm the Gates” fighting against Abuse, depression, Addiction and Suicide. This years theme is “Freedom-Breaking the Chains” friend us on Facebook just put “Storm the Gates” in the search or http://www.inthenickoftime.org. May the peace of God comfort you and your family at this time of loss.
    “Forever Nick’s Mom”
    Debbie Nelis

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