Surviving Survivor’s Guilt

Surviving Survivor’s Guilt by Shari Scott, MA, LPC, NCC

Grief Support Specialist

As if grieving the death of someone you loved so dearly isn’t enough, in many situations we find ourselves engulfed in endless questioning of our last moments with them.

We rehearse conversations we were unable to have, and fret over things we didn’t really mean to say. Or better yet, we blame ourselves for actions we failed to take.

Somehow, we believe, had we done or said something differently, our loved one would still be here with us.

A very common theme in both group and individual settings is “how do I get over the guilt?”

For starters, understand that many people experience survivor’s guilt to some degree. Truth is, very few find their loved one’s death to be “ideal.” The time, place, or situation in which their loved one’s life ended should have been different.

It will likely take some work over time to abandon the “shoulds” in situations like this so give yourself some grace.

Also know that survivor’s guilt is often our way of trying to control a situation which we cannot. Have faith that over time the intensity of survivor’s guilt subsides and you will better be able to utilize logic about your loved one’s death.