terrible guilt

by Melissa D
(Asheville, NC)

My grandfather died in November of 2013. Almost three months later, I'm feeling a mixture of sadness and guilt. I'm supposed to be planning a vacation for next month, but I'm having a hard time with it because anything travel-related reminds me of Grandpa. After retiring he traveled extensively, visiting many relatives all over the United States in his blue van. When I was 16, he brought me on one of his trips to the NY/NJ/PA area. He'd always lived far away throughout my childhood, and this was really the only quality time I ever got to spend with him. I remember at the time I was majorly into art, especially Salvador Dali. I was president of my school's art club and thought I was going to be artist someday, so even though Grandpa didn't much care for art himself, in order to support my interests he took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we spent hours. At the time I was obsessed with The Beatles, too, and even though he was no fan of rock music he walked with me through Central Park in the awful July heat--he was an 81 year old man, mind you!--to Strawberry Fields, which turned out to be just a stupid plaque. Bless his heart. My mother always talked about how cheap he was during the trip, but to me Grandpa showed that, in his own way, he really was quite generous.

The trip will stay with me for the rest of my life, and though I feel I didn't see or know Grandpa nearly well enough, I'll always appreciate him for the kindness and patience he showed me during those couple weeks. Looking back, I was probably pretty obnoxious to someone of his personality and generation.

In the last few years before Grandpa died, he had been staying in a nursing home 600 miles away. I'd been wanting to visit, but it was so hard to get off work long enough for a visit across the country. I feel so bad now that I hadn't visited him, especially now that my husband and I will finally both get a week off work. I thought about visiting near where his nursing home happened to be.. and I feel horribly guilty. I don't know how often he got visitors. Not many, from what I gather now after his death.

He wrote me sometimes, sent checks sometimes, and was always warm and friendly. He told me to write him when I graduated college, so that he could celebrate. I thought that was sweet of him. But I didn't write for a long time after graduation. Mostly because I didn't know what to say. Here was a man who had been in the Navy, fought in World War II, been through so much and had seen so much in his life.. and I felt I hadn't done as much with my life as everyone, including him, had expected. I didn't want him to know how boring my life was. In retrospect, it would have been better for him to think I'm a boring, mediocre person, than for him to have thought I wasn't thinking of him, that I didn't love him.

I did think about him almost every day, wondering how he was doing, hoping that everyone in PA was taking good care of him.

I wrote him for both his birthday and for Father's Day, telling him how much he meant to me, everything he had taught me. He replied with a check, but no letter, no answers to the questions I had finally had the courage to ask him. This told me his health had declined too much for him to write comfortably. I was too late.

I found, quite by accident, that he had been sick since Spring. I immediately went out looking for a get well card. I spent HOURS looking for the perfect get well card. I never found it. Never sent one.

I was a terrible granddaughter. I hope he knew that I loved him anyway.

Comments for terrible guilt

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Feb 10, 2014
terrible guilt
by: Doreen UK

Melissa you were a very young person and behaved the way a young person would behave with no maturity to call on. The older generation like your grandpa wouldn't have expected you to behave like a mature person when you were young and had to relate to your age level. Now you are older and mature your thinking will change. But it shouldn't change to guilt. When people know more they do more. Even if you have normal guilt it will come with grief and shouldn't last too long. You should overcome your guilt with healing from the loss of your grandfather. The way you behaved was normal for your age and an older person like your grandfather wouldn't have expected anything more of you. It is called. ACCEPTING PEOPLE AS THEY ARE!. Even Adults don't behave well and should know better, but even an adult may not meet an emotionally mature level to behave any different. It is just the way life is. difficult for some people growing up and learning to be themselves and accept all their shortcomings. Allow people to love you for YOU and who you are. don't try to be anyone else. You need to spend the time building yourself up, instead of tearing yourself down for your shortcomings. Jesus Christ knew we had sinful natures and came to die for us. He accepts us the way we are and He changes lives. He is the only one who lived a perfect life and if we are connected to Him we can with HIS GUIDANCE learn also to live a good life. Not of ourselves. But with Jesus living in our heart. Jesus does not see us the way we see ourselves. He sees us as Perfect when we take him as Our Lord and Saviour. He then comes into our hearts and changes us to be more like Him. This is the work of a lifetime. It doesn't happen all at once. We will fall down often. But we get up. Repent to Jesus and start all over again till Jesus gives us a new nature. I hope you can learn to smile through your tears and fears and know we all have them. Be kind to yourself and give your guilt to Jesus and see Him change you and your outlook to become more like Him. I wish you better days ahead.

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