(This article is written by my wife, edited by me and published with her full permission.)
I’m writing this not to gain sympathy but because I know there are tons of people who feel a million times worse than me.
Through Play HuaHee, I’ve learned that there is power in sharing vulnerabilities. Today’s sharing is on guilt.
The guilt of not becoming a good enough mother, daughter, brother or sister is real. And, I believe we all feel it in different degrees. I lived in the same room as my grandmother all my life and I’ve recently moved out.
My grandmother took care of me since I was young.
As I grew up, she grew older and the roles of caring started to reverse.
I wouldn’t call myself a caregiver because she is relatively independent except that she needs some help for a few tasks here and there.
Moving out has been a real struggle. Before I shifted, there were many occasions where my grandmother said to me:
“When you move out, will I be alone? You won’t come back to me anymore?”
I assured her that I will still be coming home.
I go back home twice a week — once to stay over and once for family dinners on Sunday. But, my husband recently reminded me that I haven’t brought my grandmother out for a walk in a long time. Back at my old house, I used to bring her down for morning walks every Saturday. It is my family’s way of making sure she leaves the house and gets a little exercise and sunlight every week.
My husband’s reminder caused a whole lot of guilt. Saturdays in our new home means cleaning the house.
I’ve been swept up with excitement over moving into our new home and along with this excitement, comes guilt that my grandmother sleeps alone at night.
When I spend time working on Play HuaHee, I feel like a hypocrite sometimes. The game is supposed to engage seniors but, I feel like I am not engaging my grandmother enough.
I think that no matter how much you do, you will never feel good enough. When you read self-help articles on dealing with guilt, many of them talk about how you should forgive yourself.
…But, is that something used by self-help gurus to sweep problems under the carpet?
I think everyone carries a little bit of guilt with them everywhere they go. Last week, I sat beside a colleague who was starring at her baby on her mobile phone many times during a company retreat. She said to me, “How can I go to work knowing that I’ve left this one behind?”
Oftentimes, there is no alternative. Aren’t you doing your best for your loved ones (even if your best doesn’t feel enough)?
For me, I feel that the best to make out of guilt is not to brush it away or wallow in it negatively, but to hope that it propels you to love with a bigger heart.
How do you deal with guilt?