In my last meeting with my counselor, he suggested that I may be dealing with something called “Survivor’s Guilt.” Because I am wide awake at three in the morning again, I decided to finally explore what this is. According to Dr. Nancy Sherman, a blogger for “Psychology Today,” this is a continuous cycle of “counterfactual thoughts that you could have or should have done otherwise, though in fact you did nothing wrong.” Another blogger, Dr. Diana Raab, highlights that survivors may be susceptible to this due to unsettled, losses from the past. In short, I may be troubled by the false notion that I could have saved my daughters' lives if...
I have so many "ifs."
If only I had stayed awake a little longer.
If only I had woken up sooner...etc.
The truth is, I had no control over the timing of their deaths. They had rare, incurable/fatal, genetic diseases. In both cases, I was in deep sleep and even in the same room, as they slipped away from this life into eternity. I couldn’t do anything to extend their lives here on earth—here with me—with us, for that matter. I could not heal them. In both cases, once I realized something was wrong, I immediately jumped into emergency mode. Yet, I was rendered powerless against God’s eternal clock.
I realize that I have to stop this "Survivor's Guilt" cycle. I have been and I am traumatized. (Never articulated this to anyone but my husband before.) All I know is that I tried my best.
My invisible limp.
Caveat: 1. I really tried my best to resist the urge for using APA citation (for my academic friends). 2. I still believe...yes, my girls are now forever healed.
New Jersey Native. Proud Haitian-American. UNC-Chapel Hill (First-Generation College) Graduate. Double Tar Heel who obtained a Doctorate from NC State. Educator. Devoted Daughter and Sister. Loving Wife and Mother. Lover of People. Photographer. Poet. Home Chef. Singer. Worshiper. Preacher and Motivational Speaker. Virtuous Woman. I am who I am by the Grace of God.