Riding Out The Guilt.

I strongly believe that most positivity comes from within a person and the rest comes from the people you surround yourself by. The last few months the positivity within has been something I have had to work very hard at. Luckily the people around me have helped me no end. People have reacted well to my desire to set myself a challenge and not sit back and wait for grief to pass.

I also try to keep my blog posts slightly light hearted and humorous in order not to scare you all away! But today I am struggling and I’m afraid you are all going to hear about it, sorry guys.

No one has stated the obvious fact that I am dodging my grief, to an extent, by never stopping moving long enough for it to catch up completely. They don’t need to tell me, I know.

It has been sixteen weeks now and that sounds like a long time. The seasons are rolling by, Spring is now evolving into Summer. The lambs are born and grown, the days are long and the country is awake, alive and excited. Sixteen weeks. And still every day feels like a struggle. A day to be got through so that I can move on and get through the next. I can’t wait for that to change; it is not how I want to live my life. But in order for it to get better I need to let the grief catch up a little and it really has this week.

My cycling seems stale and unimproving, my legs feel leaden and my mind tells me I don’t want to go out and ride. It is likely to be down to a combination of things; having had a cold and not eating well among them. But mainly I am tired. My mind has been playing with me this week and last night it peaked and forced me to face the guilt which is eating away at me.

Think about someone you love. Someone who you have known for years and is very close to you. Your parents, your partner, your best friend, anyone. Now think about the times you have treated them in a way you are not proud of. Perhaps you argued over something silly, maybe you nitpicked at them or nagged them about an annoying habit? They put something in the wrong place, they forgot to do something you asked of them? Now imagine that person has died by suicide. They didn’t kill them self because of those things you did but how can you not feel guilt for any tiny measure of upset you added to their life?

How desperately you want to turn back time and tell them that none of those things mattered. That all that matters is their happiness and their ability and desire to keep existing on this earth.

I am sure this is not a guilt which only exists when someone dies by suicide; that any time a loved one dies suddenly there are regrets. But it is unique to suicide that you can be sure the person was distressed and unhappy before their death. When you find that that person slipped beyond your reach, that you could not make them see reason to carry on, it is a dreadful burden of gulit to carry.

I’m not sure how I can ever not blame myself for not noticing the tone of his voice in that last phone call. For not dropping everything, leaving work and going to check on him. Or for feeling tired by constantly trying to make sure he was alright; how dare I have felt tired?  I hope that by writing this down I can start to work through this guilt. It is certainly allowing some of the grief out…I am crying all over my laptop as I type!

I hope that I can feel positivity radiating from within me and that my mind will start to clear. And when it does I will channel Laura Trott, pull myself together and pedal harder than ever!

Until then I will keep smiling and laughing with you all because your smiles and laughter are my positivity for now. Thank you all.

Be More Relentless.

I now mainly write on my new blog; An Adventurous Girl. I would love it if you would join me there by clicking here.

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12 thoughts on “Riding Out The Guilt.”

  1. Hi Cadi,

    As a fellow survivor let me tell you hand on heart that you have nothing to feel guilty about. What you are experiencing right now is unfortunately part and parcel of how survivors experience grief. I spent more than a decade consumed by these feelings and have only recently come to accept nothing I could have said or done would have changed things.
    You are a good person, please don’t torture torture yourself.

    Hope you are well,

    Andy

    1. Thank you Andy. As you know, it is impossible to avoid these feelings. I try to remember all the good things I have to him too but sometimes it all overtakes me.
      Take care and thank you again for the kind words and support.

  2. Dear Cadi
    I know these feelings and emotions…. Two things have been said to me about Mark’s death – 1. If I had stopped him walking out the door that door, would I have stopped him doing it the next day, the day after that, the week after..? 2. His best friend said he knew Mark would have done it one day, he’d been waiting and was surprised he hadn’t done it before. His friend was on the other side of the world at the time.
    Neither alleviate the cloud of guilt I swim through every day, but it sharpens the mind to realise that you cannot control another person’s actions. If their minds were set, then given their state of mind at that time, nothing would have deterred them from that step. Keep referring to this on days like this, and slowly, they will help pull you through.
    You’re doing so well
    Karen

    1. Dear Karen
      Thank you for your support. I have had similar things said to me but I still struggle. I was closest to him and looking back I can see the signs so clearly. I just keep thinking ‘if only I could have got him through that day’. But I will never know x

  3. Hi Cadi, I am so so sorry for your loss. As a fellow survivor of suicide loss, I can understand your pain and remember those crushing, devastating, exhausting emotions, especially the guilt. It took me many, many years to work through that one. They still wash over me occasionally; I just sit with them and then let them go. Just a couple of things – sixteen weeks is not a very long time. Be gentle with yourself, this is still very raw, very fresh. Every grief is as individual as the person grieving. Believe me when I tell you – we don’t get over this but we do get through it. Keep doing what you are doing and keep putting one foot in front of the other. That huge hole left in you by the suicide of your loved one? It will be filled with love and compassion, if you allow it. You can have a life filled with positivity and laughter and joy, it will take some time. I carry you in my heart, along with all the others who have lost their loved ones to suicide. Remember, Love never dies. Take care of yourself. Xoxoxo

  4. Hi Cadi

    It seems as though I lost my own partner at a similar time that you did. I am sorry for your loss. Part of what you describe here appears to be the classic ‘what if?’ question that was related to me by a suicide bereavement worker. That question along with the simple ‘why?’ are questions that many of us in this position commonly ask ourselves.

    it was illustrated to me that these questions are nevertheless seldom answered, for obvious reasons and that it is good if we can come to accept that gradually. I understand how difficult that can be. Perhaps it is natural to return to those questions here and there but hopefully we will move away from any assumed guilt with the passing of time.

    It is not reasonable to believe that we would never have a cross word, a disagreement or whatever, this is the way of things and so perhaps try to embrace that as part and parcel of any relationship. Those last tones of voice we hear, the words that went along with it will always pose questions but as a learned friend and colleague related to me, ‘there is no answer to death’ so maybe try and focus your thoughts on the wonderful times you had together instead. I feel sure that you do as I also understand this urge to get these thoughts ‘out’ at times, to observe them and try to take meaning from them. I think it’s perfectly natural.

    Wishing you well in your journey. You sound as though you are doing a fabulous job, more power to you. Here to chat anytime.

    Stuart

    1. Hi Stuart

      Thank you for your kind and considered reply to my post. I’m so sorry that you have had to suffer the loss of your partner in the same way I did.
      It’s such an enormous thing to deal with but you clearly are managing to think things through reasonably (although in sure it doesn’t feel that way at times).
      You are correct, many questions will never be answered and many thoughts never laid to rest.
      Another lady who had also suffered the same loss wisely told me to not try to stop feeling guilty (you cannot help how you feel after all) but to learn to live with the guilt. To not allow it dominate my life…to accept it and move on. Her words really made sense to me.
      Same offer to you; here to chat anytime.
      Thank you again
      Cadi

  5. Hi Cadi
    So much of what you have written I could echo in my thoughts. The what ifs, the guilt of finding his illness exhausting, the non stop worrying ever time I wasn’t with him, why did I go to bed, why didn’t hear anything………it’s never ending. My grief comes in huge waves, the first few months I was on auto pilot, I was famously the I’m ok queen! My friends got sick of hearing me say it. Everyone one else seemed so much more upset, they all said I wish I could be as strong as you. Nearly a year on & my grief suddenly seems so much worse yet I still get up & carry on. What other choice have we got?

    Don’t feel guilty, all our grief is different, just keep talking, keep being honest & open, we are all here to support each other.
    If you ever fancy the challenge if the Etape Cymru it is right on my doorstep so my mad house would have a wide open door for you. My hubby did it the year before he died after I kindly entered him in it for charity 😉

    Much love & I will be thinking of you cycling

    Carly xx

    1. Hi Carly
      Thank you so much for this message. This grief is not something you would wish on anyone and yet it is a comfort when others relate to you and you know you aren’t alone.
      I was told, when Bob died, that it would be three years before I started to feel any better. I was determined that would not be the case. However there is no point in fighting the grief or denying it. I make sure I laugh and am happy every day but know there will always be a hole in my life and emotions to deal with.
      I have never heard of the Etape Cymru but I have to look it up now! I always love a new challenge 😊
      Take good care of yourself
      Love Cadi xx

  6. It’s interesting the way that people quote periods of time to ‘get over’ things. It’s very hard, when you’re feeling pain to think that it has to last ‘three years’, ‘five years’ or whatever length of time people quote because we all want the pain to end right now – who wouldn’t? There may be parameters but surely this period has to vary greatly due to individuals and circumstances. I certainly hope so as I find that kind of ‘you have to wait this long’ idea very discouraging. It has to be better than that.

    1. Exactly Stuart. I don’t think that people should put times on these things. Each journey is individual. I strongly believe that a lot of the time scale depends on how each person deals with their grief. Some people give in completely and let it wash over them, some ignore it and try to force it out of their head and some go for something inbetween.
      When someone gets married (another life changing event) no one tells them “it will be two years before you feel normal again” so why do it with grief?
      Grief means that ‘normal’ changes forever. It does not mean that laughter, fun and enjoyment disappear from our lives x

  7. Thanks, I can see you understand this point of view like myself, Cadi. It’s pretty soul destroying, especially when you think you’re making a decent fist of trying to get on with your life as best you can, when somebody, in effect, states that ‘well that’s all very well but baton down the hatches because you’re going to have to go though x period time’ before it starts feeling a bit better. Probably like you, I have a good day and sometimes a rank rotten day – and everything in between. More often, there’s a wide spread of all these feelings every day.

    Take your point about some people giving in completely. One person I bumped into not too long afterwards said to me that I was doing well as ‘some never go out/keep themselves clean/eat properly etc. I guess it made me understand the wide range of effect such a loss can have on a suicide survivor. I can certainly understand how easy it would be to fall into those things. I suppose that was mildly encouraging.

    I’m, aware that your big bike ride is nigh – very best of luck, it will be amazing! x

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