Guilt is a 4-letter word in disguise. It is a bad feeling that can tear us down and leave us in a soggy mess, mired down by the weight of it. Family caregivers wrestle with feelings of guilt frequently. Sometimes guilt is like jet lag from a non-stop cross country flight, depriving us of rest, sleep, nourishment and leaving us dried out, dehydrated, a shell of a former self.
When guilt overtakes us as adult children caring for aging families , we need someone to help us with a reality check. A mental health professional, primary care doctor, a loving partner or friend can hold a hand or a heart and hold up a mirror so that we can self-reflect.
No one really has super powers. We don’t have the power to heal a disease or condition and we can’t rectify grief over a lost loved one. We can’t fix a lifetime of family dysfunction.
Members of the sandwich generation burn their candles at both ends at the same time. They work, they run, they get angry, they feel depressed and even hopeless at times.
Instead of burning candles could we try instead to extinguish the flame of guilt?