Grieving and Depressed, Maybe

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My mom died 12 yrs ago . She is buried 1000 miles away. I have not been to her grave since we placed her there. I know her spirit isn’t in one place. But for some unreasonable reason I feel guilty and have been wanting to see her resting place. I can’t understand why I want to go there. I have the time and money but it is wasteful. Everyone in my family will think I’m crazy and I can’t talk to anyone about this strange idea/feeling. Help please.

A. You did not provide many details about this situation but it does not seem as though your guilt is justified. Feeling that you did something wrong does not mean that you did something wrong. You should only feel guilty if you are guilty. Use the power of logic to determine if you are guilty of something.

If you are not guilty, you should not feel as if you are guilty. Many emotions or feelings are false. For instance, the emotions associated with phobias are false. You might feel that you will die if you leave the house, but you won’t. You might feel that if the lights go out and you are left in the dark basement, you will surely die, but you will not. As you lay comfortably in your bed at night and suddenly remember that one dirty plate that you left in the sink, you might feel great distress and anxiety and the urge to make things right by getting up and washing that singular, dirty dish. The anxiety that you feel, the guilt of leaving a dirty dish, is unreasonable and not justified by reality. Emotions are not always correct.

It is not necessary to visit your mothers’ physical resting place to prove your love for her or to grieve her loss.

If you continue to struggle with this issue, you may want to consult a therapist. You may only need a few sessions to know how to best address this situation. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Jan 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Grieving and Depressed, Maybe. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/01/29/grieving-and-depressed-maybe/