One of the most difficult parts of grief for me is the guilt.
I feel guilty enjoying the activities I used to enjoy, for trying new things, for laughing, and smiling, and not crying every moment.
A few months ago, for example, I decided to become A Woman of Letters. That is to say, I decided to start writing letters, to become a pen pal to several friends. I put out a call on Facebook; over 50 fantastic people replied. I kept up with it until a month ago.
Why did I stop? I don’t know. I think it has to do with guilt. See, I enjoyed writing and receiving letters, just like I enjoy reading for fun, and writing my novels, two other activities that have escaped me since my mother died.
But now, I feel even more guilty, because I’m ready. I’m ready to get back into it all: writing, reading, even boring activities like cleaning. And because I’m ready, I’ve felt even guiltier. Pulling the covers over my head and sleeping 12 hours kind of guiltier.
This will be my first Thanksgiving without my mother. Not that I spent every Thanksgiving with her, because living apart, we often spent Christmas together rather than Thanksgiving. But see, every day since I went to college in 1994, I have spoken with my parents. Sometimes twice a day, even. And especially on holidays we spent apart.
Guilt, you see, can flood every part of you, over the most minute of details.