When someone dies, people around that person often feel guilty (along with every other emotion ever felt). We feel guilt after a death for many reasons. Sometimes we wish we could’ve done something more to prevent it. Sometimes we wish we would’ve spent more time with that person or told them that we love them more often. And sometimes, we wish we had told them that we were sorry for being mean to them.
After my twin passed in 2011, I did not logon to social media (back then, it was mainly Facebook, no Instagram yet) until mid February, which was roughly a month and a half after her passing. It literally made me ill to think about all of the comments, all of the articles, all of the unintentional (mostly) stupid comments, and all of the pictures.
When I finally logged on, it was as bad as I thought it was going to be. I know that sounds negative and dramatic, but it’s true. My Facebook was flooded with comments, pictures, articles, and messages. It made it all that more real and all that more terrible.
I had a lot of people telling me how sorry they were for my loss in the messages and I also had a few individuals telling me that they were sorry, not for my loss (well, that, too, I’m sure), but mainly for their behavior.
Spoiler alert: I never continued opening them all because it was way too difficult – too tiring, too depressing, too infuriating. I actually ended up deleting that Facebook. All of which is perfectly fine. I don’t owe anyone an explanation for why I didn’t open up a message and if I did open it and never responded, I also don’t owe an explanation for that. Most of this time is blocked out of my memory anyways, so it’s difficult for me to even recall who might’ve sent me something. I wrote more about my memory loss in my post, I changed my phone number.
Remember, my twin passed away very soon after we turned 20-years-old. Most 20-somethings can barely balance a social life and a job, let alone know how to appropriately act when a tragedy occurs. And I’m not faulting them for that, it’s normal. I mean, the brain isn’t even fully developed at this point in life.
With that being said, we can make some pretty stupid mistakes leading up to adulthood (even into adulthood). I know I was not exempt from this and I’m guessing you weren’t either.
Back to the messages, these specific individuals were apologizing to me about how they treated myself and my twin (mainly in high school, if I’m remembering correctly). Out of respect, I will not get into the detail of these messages, but I’ve got a point here, so keep reading.
I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who has dealt with this or who will deal with this in the future. Death brings out the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. It’s difficult to know how one will cope with it until it happens.
My intention is not to shame these individuals. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We’re all human, meaning we all make mistakes, myself included. Since I’m all about transparency, I, too, have felt guilt for my behavior when someone has passed. Whether it was something I said to someone’s face, behind their back, or not saying anything at all. It sucks and I can’t imagine not feeling guilty for it, unless you’re just plain mean.
To the people saying “I’m Sorry for My Behavior”:
Like most people who have experienced traumatic loss, back in 2011, I did not have the ability to process this appropriately, like many things. But today, I see it for what it was, which is someone trying to apologize for behavior when it’s too late to apologize. And I can honestly say that today, I accept the apologies and the intentions behind them. As I said before, I have not always displayed perfect behavior (newsflash: no one does), and I would rather someone apologize when it’s too late than never apologize at all.
To the recipients of “I’m Sorry for My Behavior”:
Unfortunately, the messages made me feel angry, sad, and very, very lonely. The only person I desperately wanted to talk to about it was my twin. It was a gutting feeling. I’m sorry you have to be in this situation. However you feel is justifiable and sometimes the only thing I can say that’s helpful is that I can relate to you.
Sending love and hoping for kindness,