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The guilt that comes with moving forward

One foot in the past, where grief overwhelms, and one foot trying to move forward. The push and pull of emotions. The fear of forgetting but the pain of remembering. Grief & coping can be long processes. Moving forward can be scary. But staying in grief can be debilitating.

If you’ve ever faced grief, especially grief over someone very close,  you will know this painful game you must play. The balance of moving forward and remembering who you’ve lost. I never realized who you can have such conflicting emotions running through you at one time. I never realized it was possible until I began to live it.

For months now, I have lived with 2 very conflicting emotions in my life…the need to keep remembering my dad and holding onto every little thing about him and the need to try to move forward. Please note one thing, I say moving forward and not moving on. I say this because I don’t think I will ever move on from my deads death. Moving on, to me, implies leaving it all back in the past and not coming back. For me, moving forward implies the fact that you are trying to keep living but still remembering what their loved meant to you.

When my dad died, I wondered if there would ever be a day that I wouldn’t continually play that horrible day in my head over and over. And guess what, I have had days where I don’t. I’ve had days where I’m not completely crushed by his absence. Once I realized this…the guilt came.

Anyone who has dealt with grief has come to this point. The point when life becomes a little normal again, you can get out of bed easier, and the thought of the loss doesn’t always cripple you. But, for many, when that happens you also begin to feel guilty. I know I battle feeling guilty when I go a day and don’t get sad about my dad being gone. The guilt isn’t true but it is a very human feeling to have. Like I mentioned above, you’re living this life with so many conflicting emotions. You want to move forward because you have to (and because your loved one would want that} but you also feel guilty if you do. It’s a balance of moving forward and holding onto those memories.

One of the songs that was played at my dad’s memorial service was a song called “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again” by Danny Gokey. I recently listened to it again and it now has, even more, meaning now that we are a year out from losing dad. It was meaningful then…but it’s even more appropriate now. Below is the song, I encourage you to listen.

If you’re dealing with guilt about trying to move forward after a loss, this song speaks to that. It’s hard to pick up the pieces after a loss and sometime’s you don’t want to pick up the pieces for fear you’ll forget…but you won’t.

Eventually, you will have to tell your heart to beat again. You will have to pick yourself up and try to move forward and that’s okay. I don’t believe that God wants us to wallow in grief for eternity. I believe that grief is completely normal and everyone handles it differently….but that doesn’t mean you have to live in grief for the rest.

“Let every heartbreak And every scar Be a picture that reminds you Who has carried you this far.”

I wish I could fill this post with helpful tips and easy advice to follow to get over the grief and get over the guilt..but I can’t. It’s so much more complex. Honestly, if you are really struggling with this, I suggest listening to that song…and really listening. God really showed me some amazing things through listening to it. At some point, when you find yourself trying to move forward…give yourself some grace. You might feel guilty sometimes, just remind yourself that you are doing what you need to do.

For those of you, who like me, feel like I’m forgetting by moving forward…remember that no one can take away those amazing memories and moments you have written on your heart. Your loved one would never want you to spend your life wallowing or feeling guilty for trying to live. You can move forward and still remember their memory- it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. Moving forward doesn’t diminish the loss. Moving forward is just simply trying to return to the life that God has called you to and the life your loved one would want you to have.

You can move forward and still remember their memory- it doesn’t have to be one or the other. 

I pray that in your grief journey you have found Gods grace to be overflowing. You are not alone in your confliction of emotions. You are not alone in your fight for normalcy. And you are not alone if your desire to still hold onto the ones you’ve lost. God is good and walks every step with you. Don’t let the guilt consume you. Hold on, friends.

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