Leaving Guilt Behind

Parting with guilt took awhile and it wasn't an easy battle. Guilt is stubborn and it plays on one's self-esteem, or lack thereof. On one hand I felt irresponsible and rather self-centered to think that I shouldn't feel guilty for my decision to help Misty to the other side. On the other hand I knew deep inside that my heart was in the right place and my love for Misty was more powerful than guilt could ever be.

One day, through a visit from Misty Blue, it was confirmed for me that guilt had no purpose in my grief. My farewell to guilt went something like this:

"How many months has it been now? You're doing well, wallowing in me with a vengeance. You have to admit I give you something to do. I make you feel responsible for what happened and this keeps you from focusing on the 'other' possibilities. You're so busy feeling guilty that you can't see anything else. Boy Im good. I keep going and going and going."

"Good? Yes I suppose you are. Everlasting? No you're days are numbered. As a matter of fact I've made a decision, I'm getting rid of you. The eviction starts today."

"Ohhh really now. You don't say! If you get rid of me you might start to feel a little better. I can't believe you actually want to feel better after what you did to your animal friend."

"There's an old saying, "What you resist, persists." I've been resisting letting you go because it makes me feel guilty. When I try to focus on feeling a little better you send me into a tailspin by trying to convince me over and over that I'm guilty for the decision I made for Misty."

"The truth is that I didn't set this path. Misty and I shared time on this earth together for a reason. If she wasn't supposed to be with me during her illness she wouldn't have been. If it was supposed to have happened another way it would have. If I could have done things differently I would have done so. I don't like the fact that she's gone but I must accept the greater purpose even if I don't know exactly what it is. Otherwise I'll be filled with guilt, remorse and dislike for myself for the rest of my life. Nothing positive can come from being in this a state of mind."

"I'm not feeling so good."

"Whether I like it or not, there's a reason why Misty is gone and I'm still here. It's very hard to accept that our animals pass over to the other side and we're left to deal with the pain, grief and guilt. We're so deeply encased in what we think we did wrong that we can't see the life plan unfolding in front of us. For me it's as if this was all planned out long ago - that Misty and I would be here together, love each other and then separate temporarily so that we could help someone else who is hurting. There's no way I can aid Misty in doing this without experiencing the emotions that come with losing her."

"All this 'purpose' stuff sounds awfully new age to me."

"Let's call a spade a spade here. Some of us are faced with euthanasia, a decision made with love. Guilt makes us feel like we are playing God when in truth we are sacrificing our hearts to end the pain our pets are experiencing from illness or injury. Others lose their pets due to accidents. Maybe they left the door or gate open and their pet ran away, was stolen or hit by a car. Their guilt doesn't allow them the space to see that it was not a purposeful act. They didn't leave the door or gate open on purpose. You, guilt, are not caused by WHAT happens but by HOW we relate to what happens."

"Leaving the door or gate open is irresponsible."

"Leaving the door or gate open is an accident and what follows is an accident."

"That's a bit contradictory don't you think? According to you everything happens for a reason. Now you're calling an irresponsible act a purposeful accident."

"You're labeling it irresponsible. I'm calling it accident. For as tragic as the outcome may be this does not take away from the fact that it was an accident. The connection between the animal that was lost and their person is still a deep bond as far as the animal's spirit is concerned. The problem is they can't connect from the other side if a wall of guilt is in the way."

"So people are supposed to just throw all guilt out the window and wait for their animal friend to communicate from the other side? You're treading on shaky ground here."

"What I'm saying is that people have options. Believing that they are worthy of the unconditional and ever-flowing love of a Bridgekid is the first step. Bridgekids know we deserve this love and they yearn to show it. They can't do this with a barrier of guilt in the way."

"Okay then...what are people supposed to do with this simplistic assessment?"

"Perhaps, if they choose, learn to forgive themselves."

"I do NOT like where this is going."

The Lesson


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