Last week I was angry and made a post listing all the things that made me that way in grief. Someone committed about regrets. And I could write a list of all my regrets.
Brene Brown has become one of my favorite authors last year when I first read Atlas of the Heart so many things, she wrote about different emotions struck me.
“Both disappointment and regret arise when an outcome was not what we wanted, counted on, or thought would happen. With regret, we believe the outcome was caused by our decisions or action.”
A life without regrets. That would be something but that is not a thing that can happen. She also says that regrets go with self-blame and guilt. And I am guilty of the self-blame. Did I cause Matt to have a heart attack? Absolutely not. Did that take time to believe? Hell Yes.
My regrets, guilt, and self-blame made it harder for me to grieve my loss. What I did learn last year is that instead of allowing the negative thoughts to overwhelm me to the point of depression to think of the positive instead.
Regret: I did not make him go to the doctor.
Truth: I begged him to make appointments. I did not know his work schedule, and I could not make them myself. He was an adult and if he did not want to do something I couldn’t make him do it.
Regret: He was alone when he died.
Truth: He was at work. Even if we were not fighting, he would have been alone.
Regret: The Fight.
Truth: It was bound to happen. Covid and taking care of my grandma put some distance between us. Sometimes I needed him but he was hanging out with his friend and I did not want to tell him not to. I made mistakes and regret them but at the end of the day, there were two of us in that marriage.
Regret: Not telling him about the things making my anxiety and fears go through the roof.
Truth: I did tell him more than once. When I doubted his love because anxiety is a lying bitch he always seemed frustrated especially when we had been together for years. But little things like playing games instead of watching a movie with me. Or not laying with me before I went to sleep pricked my insecurities. Time and time again we had the conversation.
When I think about regrets I have about his death I often need to think of the truth. I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy catching up on season 17 and there is one where Teddy is looking back trying to figure out the mistake that she made that led to the problems in her life. I find myself trying to pinpoint the moment my marriage seemed to change.
If I went back to that point could I have stopped the problem? Would Matt still be here if I did? The truth is Matt was a juvenile diabetic who smoked, did not eat healthily, and refused to go to the doctor. Loving him meant knowing that and looking the other way. And I loved him and all his flaws. I could not have changed the present.
The guilt I carry for moving on is something I need to work on. Surviving when he didn’t. For going out with friends. Laughing and smiling. When I feel guilty regret is always around the corner ready to make an entrance. But the key to moving through it for me is to remember all of the good times we shared. And remembering he would not want me to be sad or lonely. Matt would not be upset if I met someone new to love. He wanted me to be happy and taken care of.
I stopped living there for a while when he first died too wrapped up in the regrets and grief but I am pulling out of that now.