RELIEF why am I feeling this

Bring on the guilt – loud and strong! Here it is- feelings of relief that they are gone. What in the world is going on?! This is a really confusing stage. This feels completely WRONG. I remember thinking I must be a terrible person to have these thoughts. Seriously I can’t believe that entered my head. This was the first stage where I felt mixed emotions that I didn’t understand and I wouldn’t talk about them because I didn’t want to look inconsiderate. I really did care! I didn’t think it was a stage, I thought I was being selfish.

But as far as I know, most people felt this way- even if it was just for a few moments. What is happening is you recognize the suffering is over. Of course, you wanted them to live a long full life, but that was not a choice. Watching someone in pain is heartbreaking, so to feel the comfort they are not suffering anymore is natural. It also has alleviated some of your pain. You can also think about it from a different perspective like we are learning to do, you would rather be heartsick than have them alive in agony. Now that’s true love.

My husband died without any notice, so it wasn’t a drawn-out illness, but I still felt relief. I not only thought about the sad things he would miss like marriages and grandkids, but I also thought of the pain he wouldn’t have to suffer in health or just daily living.

This stage of relief shows the broad emotions you can feel that you never expected! It’s really complicated and exhausting. Knowing I wasn’t alone helped me.

I have read many accounts of widows who have felt so many emotions at one time, relief being one of them.

Your thoughts could go something like this in just a few seconds. I am relieved I don’t have to go to the hospital again. Oh, but how I would love to see him alive again. I’m so glad he’s out of pain. I miss him.

Another way you can feel relief at the beginning is by looking forward to going back to your normal life- like going back to work. But then you realize that it will never be normal again. Well, that feeling of relief was distorted! There are so many emotions flying by it’s hard to figure this out.

So don’t let the feelings of guilt get you. This is normal to feel relief in some way. What I have found helpful is to back up- back out of the emotions a bit and try not to look at it so personally. See if you can look at it with curiosity, “Why am I feeling this way about relief? How does it make me feel?” Then keep asking yourself why until you get to the bottom of it. It’s so much easier to look at this as a bystander- just inspecting and not with so much drama.THEN the big thing is to WRITE IT DOWN. Use your journal to write everything you feel about relief. If or when you get in this stage again you can read what it felt like last time and the answers you came up with. It may be much easier to process it again. You can’t go around this stage or it will keep coming back- just go through it with curiosity.