Guilt

Guilt.

The emotion is probably not at the top of everyone’s ‘feel good lists.’

It makes us feel pretty miserable and acts as a gateway for other negative emotions to enter our consciousness.

However, guilt can be helpful in terms of admitting wrong-doing, apologising and giving us a desire to behave appropriately.

Guilt is often associated with a crime which leaves me to question why I feel it almost everyday. I’m not aware of becoming Britain’s most wanted this year, nevertheless, I have noticed guilt’s presence in my mind or in conversation when it comes to how I’m feeling.

My rational side of my brain knows, deep down, that this emotion is wrong but the power of it is enough to make me forget.  

Guilt has popped in on several occasions, uninvited and refusing to leave.

  • Guilt for caring about what others think of me.
  • Guilt for taking a mental health break.
  • Guilt if my partner is upset because I feel my depression and anxiety rubs off on him.
  • Guilt for cancelling plans. 

I know guilt is disguising itself here as anxiety but I never call out the emotion at the precise time. Instead I reflect afterwards when the damage has already been done.

BUT I have felt real intense, guilt, which is why it is hard for me to call it out when it appears irrationally.

For a long time I have felt guilty because of mum’s cancer diagnosis.

When the news sunk in and we realised the monster was in mum, shock was replaced by guilt.

Let me explain…

A year before we were in ‘The Room’, my world was turning upside down one afternoon as my anxiety took me to a dark place.

I didn’t want to be here.

I couldn’t cope with life anymore. I was exhausted and I felt I had nowhere to turn to.

I had never felt so alone.

I wanted out but I stayed.

I chose life and instead of seeing that as a positive guilt made it a negative because I associated that situation with a new one – mum’s cancer diagnosis.

Mum had/has no choice of how long she stays on this planet for, cancer has decided that for her.

I did have a choice and I nearly chose wrong.

My mum’s life is so precious, everyone’s life is precious yet I was so quick to disregard my own, I don’t have a terminal illness.

Guilt has consumed me for so long over this and I am still calling it out now.

It’s destructive if you choose it to be.

As days pass, and each day I count as a blessing with mum, I realise that I have no reason to feel guilty.

It is not my fault this has happened. It is not my fault I experienced what I did.

Guilt? No.

Now I see strength.

Strength that I am meant to be here…to remind mum of her own.

Sadness

  • Sadness is that place we never want to be,
  • Sadness is fear, pain and sorrow
  • Sadness is stillness, empty and circular,
  • Sadness is the corridor
  • Sadness is a memory that pains,
  • Sadness is overwhelming and selfish
  • Sadness doesn’t care,
  • Sadness is the corridor
  • Sadness is dark, cold and blank,
  • Sadness is unwanted and consuming
  • Sadness is the corridor
  • Sadness is the place that welcomes fear,
  • Sadness is the room where they said mum was ill
  • Sadness is when the ‘monster’ said hello.

The Room

I keep replaying it.

That moment when my world fell away beneath my feet.

I gripped my dad’s hand tighter as the room drew near and the hall began to disappear.

One light flickered above and the staff went about their business, gripping their clipboards tightly, always in a hurry.

I was in no hurry.

I focused on the surgeons steps ahead, guiding us to the room.

I tried to ignore the nurse beside him, blocking the thoughts of why she was there.

My palm was sweating more in my dad’s hand now and I realised I hadn’t yet taken a breath.

My brother should be here, (I can’t remember why he wasn’t) this was all happening so fast.

We knew there was a possibility of the monster being inside mum but we were just here to speak about how her surgery went, right?

We entered the room.

The tissues set poised on the table and the leaflets screamed at me in the corner of my eye, as if they already knew what was coming.

The chairs were cold and uncomfortable, much like the surgeon’s expression.

Beside him the nurse smiled and I realised her purpose. The surgeon began and it wasn’t good.

The monster liked mum too much and it wasn’t going anywhere.

In fact it had made its bed in several places inside her body. It claimed the pancreas home and was moving on to the stomach and bowel.

I couldn’t allow it to happen.

The surgeon’s mouth moved but I wasn’t listening anymore, I was thinking of a plan.

Dad squeezed my hand and began asking the surgeon questions.

“There’s not much more we can do other than hope her body will get stronger and she can fight it with chemotherapy.”

“There’s not much more we can do.”

I let go of dad’s hand.

“There’s not much more we can do.”

What’s stage four, terminal?

“There’s not much more we can do.”

Tissues were placed in my hand then.

I sat motionless, feeling the leaflets staring smugly.

They left me and dad alone and then my world fell apart.

I cried until I couldn’t and to this day I can still hear myself screaming “I’m going to lose my mummy.”

My 26-year-old body hidden in the comfort of my dad’s arms.

I didn’t notice the flickering light in the corridor again, no longer smiled at the staff walking past in the hallway.

Mum was waking up from surgery, she needed us.

She didn’t yet know the monster had come to stay and we couldn’t yet tell her.

I held my mum’s hand tightly.

I’ve been holding it ever since.