A Burden of Grief and Regret


No-one should have to bear such a burden of grief and regret. Tears came to my eyes. I struggled to breathe. I walked from room to room, but there was no relief. I stepped outside and the weight was lifted.

No, the grief was not mine. We had had a spate of family deaths, but all that had passed. It was a time of celebration for us, moving to a new house, one with all the work space and room for company that we had needed for years.

This old house had been our home for fifteen years and we had long ago outgrown it. I was back to it with my tools to do some renovations and updates so that we could put it on the market. That was where the storm of emotions had hit me. We had felt sadness from leaving this place that had been our home for so long, but it did not bring grief and regret, not like what I had just felt. What I felt was someone else’s weight of emotions.

I am an empath and a sensitive and I can sometimes feel other people’s emotions as if they are my own. The only person close to us that I could think of who would have such a turmoil of feelings at that time was our cousin, Tim, who was in the hospital with a serious case of pneumonia. The onslaught of emotions was alarming enough that I called Martha.

“Check on Tim. Something feels wrong.”

“I just did. He’s doing well and is being sent home.”

That did not bring any relief from the crushing emotions I was feeling.

The next day, I was back to work on our old house, updating woodwork and replacing flooring. Again, I was overwhelmed by grief. The only relief was to go out and stand in the front yard. The feelings dissipated every time I did that. I would work as long as I could, then step outside to regather my strength.

As I worked, I spoke to Tim, as if he were there in the room with me, wishing him peace and good health and I repeated a protection prayer for him, for us and for the house.

The next day was the same, as was the next. Then we got the news that Tim had relapsed and had been readmitted to the hospital, where he soon died. Tim was suddenly gone; his bright life had ended. He had overcome many obstacles and lived a life of goodness, when he otherwise could have lived in bitterness. His death was shocking and unexpected.

The day after that, I went back to the old house to work. The atmosphere there was completely unremarkable, no grief or regret or any other emotion, simply an empty house ready for new occupants. It was nothing like the past several days of unbearable grief.

The boundary between life and death is not as firmly defined as most people believe. I think Tim, at a higher level, had somehow known his life was close to ending. He had reached out to us, to show us the painful grief he was feeling over his life ending too soon. I hope he found some comfort in the words I spoke to him. I hope the heavy burden of grief and regret was lifted from him when he crossed over. No-one should have to bear such a burden.

A Burden of Grief and Regret
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