Feeling guilty – hoping for some insights

Briony, Age 66

66, married for 15 years to a man 18 years younger. But he looks my age, I look his age, and he’s more grown-up/adult than I. And he’s currently getting chemo for colorectal cancer (all cancers run in his family) — so it’s kind of like living with an 80 year old; chemo is debilitating. I envision having to take care of him in future, and outliving him, rather than the expected reverse scenario. This frankly terrifies me. I feel unsafe. I keep waiting for some other shoe to fall.

Like others who have shared here, I feel guilty that I’m struggling to accept my entry into “old age” now that it — and illness, death, loss of control, loss of . . . well, everything one has built over a lifetime — looms nearer. I know it does no good to worry in advance, that only poisons the present. And makes one a boring, depressing companion, especially to one’s own self! I just have always been young, especially internally: this new existence feels foreign, Not Me, I can’t relate. But I’ll have to find or create a way to. Hoping for some insight here among fellow travelers.

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3 Responses to Feeling guilty – hoping for some insights

  1. Sandra Peck says:

    Hello – no use feeling guilty about your feelings. Your feelings are what they are – just notice them and move on. I do revel in all good feelings. Sandra

  2. noel says:

    Hello Briony,
    I feel your pain and understand your loss and the fear and loneliness that accompanies it. This may sound blunt but there is not a damn thing you can do about it. Everything changes in life, our relationships, our health, our everything. It is the nature of human existence. We have to accept that and live in the moment. I am in your place, although there is no significant other. I am 69 (don’t look it) and estranged from my two sisters (only family members alive) off and on for years. We reattach when they need something and I, foolishly, give because I yearn for some sort of a connection. The rejection and cruelty I receive is very hurtful so I have learned to accept what life has dished out — the good and the bad. I am reading a book that is extremely helpful – you might want to check it out. The title is “Solid Ground, Buddhist Wisdom for Difficult Times” by
    Sylvia Boorstein. It is simply written, straight from the heart and I find it quite helpful. All the best to you,

    • Briony says:

      Thank you, Noel: and you’re right! Not a thing we can do about the reality of our circumstances. All we can do is choose our reaction to reality — and that is The Good News! (As my therapist keeps reminding me.) I appreciate your bluntness: I wasn’t looking for any “oh poor you” reactions, blunt works. 🙂

      I totally get your giving whenever family has a need and asks: as long as you don’t feel “used” and “taken advantage of” — as long as it’s your choice and you can live with it — it makes sense. Otherwise, I hope you find some friends that could become Chosen Family and will give back as much as you give.

      I will definitely check out the book you recommend. Sounds like just the thing! Thank you! 🙂

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