Ch.212 Am I Abandoning Pat?
It was about 4 p.m. I’d been busy all day with chores, visiting my horse, walking my dog and my cat, socializing with humans, reading, drawing, dining…
And then: “Oh God, I haven’t thought about Pat all day.” Immediately I felt a wave of guilt. Here I was, having a perfectly normal day, a good day, and I hadn’t shared one iota of happiness or sadness; I hadn’t talked with Pat; I hadn’t even pictured her in my mind.
I guess you could call this feeling “survivor guilt.” At least that’s what one person in the Beyond Lewy support group named it when I asked the members of that forum if they ever felt this way. Interestingly, about half the respondents said they did have periods of guilt about abandoning their deceased mate, while the other half denied having them. I noticed that a few of the non-guilty parties had been alone for several years while others had remarried.
I know Pat would want me to go ahead with my life. I’m certain she wouldn’t want me to be paralyzed by the fear of losing her. But I am also pretty sure Pat would want me to remember her every day, at least once or twice. Favorably. Indefinitely. Forever. I’m OK with that idea. It’s what I would have hoped for from Pat if I had been the first to die. Yes, love is generous and kind, etc., but love is also a little greedy and true love even more so. When I sat down to write this essay, I thought would conclude that I had no need to feel guilty. But that’s how it’s turning out. For now, I’ll accept my survivor guilt, my abandonment guilt, as a reminder to keep thinking about Pat every day.