23 Sep

I would say that I have had more near death experiences than the average 30 something year old.  Luckily, they are just that, NEAR death experiences. In part due to my good fortune, I have always believed those who are in a life-threatening situation will come out unscathed. In the past few years I have lost a very good friend and an aunt to cancer.  Not only was I devastated by their loss but I’ve also felt a bit of survivor’s guilt.

Survivor’s guilt is defined by Wikipedia as “a mental condition that occurs when a person perceives him or herself to have done wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not.” My guilt is based on a lot of “why me” questions. Why was I able to survive when these wonderful people were not?  It just seems so unfair.  Unfortunately though, sometimes life isn’t fair.

I am not the only person to have lost a loved one and I am sure many of you have experienced the same struggle. The next step is what to do with that guilt? How can we honor those lost? I believe it is by being the type of person that they would want us to be. For example, my aunt who passed away has 5 amazing grandchildren. My mom makes a huge effort to be part of these children’s lives. Not just because  she is their great aunt or because of how important family is but also because my aunt (her sister) was and would have continued to be an amazing grandmother. My mom knows she can’t take my aunt’s place; no one can. However, she can honor her by being the kind of person my aunt was.

A very good friend passed away over three years ago. I think about her often and soon, I will have the pleasure of seeing her family. I hope that I continue to be someone that she would have been proud of.

  I think it’s important to remember that you are not just living for yourself but for those who you have loved and lost. I try   to      remember that when I am being scolded by my mom for a crazy hairdo that not everyone is so lucky to be told how awful their    hair looks. That… and the next time I see her wear a hat.

3 Responses to “Guilty”

  1. alison nakash September 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    So true!

  2. laraine levy September 26, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    OK – I give up – wear your hair anyway you like it – I will never forget when you didn’t have hair because of cancer treatment. I will never criticize you again (or until next time)!
    love you and proud of you (so is Aunt Barbara’s spirit)!


  1. I Am Fighter, Life With Leukemia And A Dog | Fido Loves - September 23, 2011

    […] Against Cancer it means so much more. My time on the chemo floor or at the cancer center leaves me feeling guilty. Even on my toughest days, there was someone else nearby with a much harder […]

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