How do you deal with guilt and remorse over unresolved issues when tragedy strikes? When our son died so unexpectedly, it rocked us to the core on many levels. My husband, Myron, had to face overwhelming guilt the very moment that he saw our son lying on the pavement covered in a sheet. That is a story all on its own and he openly shares it every time he’s asked to speak about our family’s experiences. Since he’s a pastor, he’s preached on different aspects of it many times over the years as well. I will highlight a few of his tips in a future post, but for today, I wanted to share with you the highlights of what I recently told a grieving friend experiencing this almost unbearable pain of guilt. Consider these my top tips for dealing with unresolved guilt:
- Prayer walks- just what it sounds like. I pour out my heart to Jesus while I walk and talk, sing and cry. Whatever and however. The point is to get real with Him, one-on-one.
- “Jesus, can you let Jacob hear?”- it sounds childish, I know, but I asked Him this question and meant it from the bottom of my heart. All those things I wished I’d told Jacob… all those things I was sorry for… all the things I regret or longed for him to hear from me. And you know what? I have a peace that somehow, someway, Jesus granted that prayer of mine. I have a peace that I’m forgiven for those things I prayed about on those long walks and I have a peace that Jacob knows too
- Write a letter to your loved one- I did this for Jacob’s 18th birthday, November 25th, less than 3 months after he died. I told him everything I wanted him to know, and it helped me so much that I did the same thing for my Mom when she passed away. Again, I realize it may sound childish, but it was cathartic for me.
- Griefshare- this grief group was a godsend in helping me process guilt and I highly recommend it. https://www.griefshare.org/
These are some of the things I’ve learned help me work through guilt. What about you, friend? What have you found to help you work through guilt? Do you have areas of remorse that you need to deal with?
Guilt and remorse are heavy burdens to bear and you don’t have to face them alone. We’re here for you.
But even more importantly, Jesus cares. Right here, right now.
Praying for your freedom from heavy burdens,
When my wife was six weeks pregnant in 2007, she miscarried. She, our ten-year-old daughter, and I bought a tree as a memorial to the baby and we all wrote notes to the baby. We put the notes in a ziplock bag and put it in the bottom of the hole I dug for the tree.
Writing those notes really helped a lot with our grief. So, I think that’s a good suggestion for one thing people can do to deal with their grief.
Hi Daniel. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Thank you for being willing to share it with us and also share what helped you and your family. One thing that I’ve realized since our loss seven years ago, is that people all around have also suffered devastating loss. Most of us just hide the pain pretty well. I am grateful that we can use this space to come alongside one another in encouragement but also with practical ideas for healthy healing and moving forward. We’ll never forget our loved ones but we can move forward in life.
And the tree idea? I love it! Planting life in the midst of pain! Thanks again for reaching out and sharing😊