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Feeling Guilty for Feeling Good

Published: December 15, 2023

There comes a day in every grief journey where you feel good. Oddly enough, feeling good can make a grieving person feel guilty. How does this happen? 

Sometimes a person who is mourning settles in with sad. Feeling sad becomes their new norm. So, when the day comes when they notice the bird’s song, or maybe the smell of bacon, or their heart is warmed by a grandchild’s giggle and they realize they are having a good day, it knocks them off balance. Feeling good feels, well, wrong. 

When that day comes, it’s best to take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back, and embrace feeling good. Grieving is work; you’ve earned this. Loving someone who has died doesn’t require the mourner to never be happy again. Good days and bad days are a normal part of life. It might help to think about the person you loved. They probably loved you back, right? How would they respond to you feeling good?

Another trigger for feeling guilty about feeling good can come when our loved one passed after a very painful illness or required care over a long period of time. In these cases, it’s normal to feel a sense of relief. Relief for them and relief for you. This “not sad enough” feeling can cause the mourner to question their feelings. Mourning is a mixed bag of feelings. There is never a right or wrong way to feel.

Accept that it’s ok to feel relief that suffering has ended and accept the pain of loss.  Loss of someone you shared a history with, someone you loved, someone who loved you. Try not to judge your feelings. Just feel. No guilt.

The mixed bag of feelings that comes with grieving also comes and goes. One day you are feeling really good, and it seems like you are over the hard part. And then bam!  You are crying again. Some people have described the grief journey like climbing up a greased pole. You are climbing to the top feeling better and better and then you slide back again. That’s normal. 

Embrace the good days. Watch for the things that may trigger a difficult day such as birthdays, anniversaries, and those special days for you and your loved one. Prepare for those days. Know that sad days will eventually become treasured, nostalgic days. And good days will become your normal again.

Vitt, Stermer & Anderson Funeral & Cremation Services has been serving the families of Cincinnati with respect and professionalism since 1899. They provide quality funeral, burial, cremation and memorial services as well as special services for veterans from their locations in Delhi and Cheviot. They also provide options to pre-plan and pre-pay for your final wishes in advance. Learn more at


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