Saturday, March 20, 2010

Guilt, Guilt, Go Away!

Have you ever been "guilted"? I certainly have.

Lupe Maple, Director of Community Support at Northshore Baptist Church in Bothell, Washington, spoke about guilt March 20. Her topic? "Bummed Out Boomers: Dealing With Guilt, Loss and Shame."

Question: What is the source of our guilt?
The sources are many. Your aging parents give you the "look" that says, "You've let me down." Your sibling tells you, "You're not doing enough to help Mom and Dad." But sometimes guilt just pops up unbidden, as we walk the dog or fall off to sleep.

Question: What is it about our aging parent's situation that prompts so much guilt?
Our parents' needs seem like a deep well. We look at the well and think, "How can I do this? I haven't got it to give." We feel guilty when we don't meet all their needs, when in truth, no one person can.

Question: How do we escape the guilt trap?
Setting boundaries on our decision-making process brings relief. Instead of reacting to the huge need and either overworking or avoiding the situation altogether, we can make decisions based on "what I can do," allowing others to share the load.

Question: What is your advice to those with parents whose health is failing?

Choose to be a son or daughter. That is your calling. Take advantage of the many resources to fill in the gap between your parents' need and your ability to help.

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