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looking for a book

A few years ago, in 2002 probably, I was in a bookstore and picked up a book about grieving and began skimming it. One of the subjects of the book was the guilt associated with grieving. It framed the guilt in a way I found helpful. The guilt, it said, is really a wish for the relationship with the loved one to have been "more, better, or different."

I can't remember the title or author, and I've tried to find the book since then but attempts to search the web or Amazon for "grief and guilt" aren't turning up any likely candidates. (For one thing, I suspect most books about grief address guilt in some way.)

Can you help?

Disclaimer: Nothing bad has happened in my life or to any of my loved ones. I just suddenly realized that the "guilt = wish for things to be better/different" is a good way to frame the social angst that I wrote in a recent (locked) entry. I want to look at the book again to see if its insights can be applied in this way.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
firecat
Dec. 12th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
lavendargrrl
Dec. 12th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
Elizabeth Kubler Ross writes about grief, death and dying ...I've read one of her books in the past and it was helpful...hope this helps!
firecat
Dec. 12th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I read one of her books on dying a while back. It was excellent.
tedesson
Dec. 12th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
I think it's a particular kind of wishing things to be different.

In order to feel guilty, you have to attribute to yourself a certain amount of control and responsibility about the situation. And also, to distinguish it from shame, it needs to be private. So it would go:

I feel guilty because I was responsible for this bad thing, and no one knows I did it.

or

I feel ashamed because I was responsible for this bad thing, and someone saw me do it.

Buddhists get around this by having a rather different view of causality (determinate arising), which places all events in a long causal chain, of which your actions are only a tiny part. Karma is shorthand for those events which you were involved in, in the past, which led to the particular configuration of events in the current moment.

And, from Milarepa and Shantideva, if there is a bad thing happening now, it's not something to be unhappy about, but rather is an opportunity for rejoicing, because the bad karma of your past actions is being brought to fruition, and it will not be available for causal power in the future.

Here's a good article on it:
http://buddhism.kalachakranet.org/guilt.html

Note, I'm using Buddhism in a very broad sense, I have no idea whether this particular explanation holds throughout all traditions, or just Tibetan.

I hope this helps.
firecat
Dec. 13th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
Thanks for the ideas and article pointer. I've done a bit of reading about the Buddhist notion of causality (one of the books that treated it in a way I found intriguing was Stephen Mitchell's Meetings with the Archangel, which isn't strictly Buddhist but does have some Buddhist thought in it).

I hadn't really encountered / taken in the part about rejoicing in bad things happening now, though.

I very much agree, on an intellectual level, with my understanding of the Buddhist notion of causality. Sometimes my emotions don't see it that way, of course.
chaoswolf
Dec. 13th, 2006 03:11 am (UTC)
Try this. A used book website that can probably help you find what you need. We have over 3,000 books online right now, and someone online is probably selling it.
firecat
Dec. 13th, 2006 04:10 am (UTC)
Thanks!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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