Guilt and Pain

A regular, older couple came in late today. It was towards the end of my shift, but I had a few other tables walking in around the same time, but only a few tables total. My manager grabbed drinks for them as I went to the bathroom. I came back, greeted them, got their order, joked with them a little. More like I tried to. The guy was wearing a Cubs hat and I asked if they had won today. I was watching the game before going to work for my second shift. He said he didn’t know.

I brought them their food and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. When I went to check on their food and deliver the check, I noticed that the woman had barely touched her food. She asked for a box and I brought one out for her. I went about my business and began checking on some of my other tables. I noticed them talking to the table right next to them. I saw the woman from the other table hug the older woman. She looked upset, but touched by the gesture. I heard a few words: “I know”, “smoking”, “hospital”. This couple seemed to have had a long day.

The other table got up, leaving the older couple to be. I noticed when they did that they carried two checks. The woman told me that she was going to be paying for the other table’s check. The couple had just lost their son named Matt. She, too, had a son named Matt. I saw tears start to swell in her eyes so I proceeded to check her out. I talked to my manager to see if we could give them some free pie. They were touched, but declined.

I could only think of one word after this ordeal.


How do you continue on after such an ordeal?

How do you keep moving?

How does life keep moving without that person?

Do they think of the significance of that meal? Oh, our son Matt just died so we went to Perkins and ate an omelette and fish and chips. 

I remember their order perfectly. 

I feel like my question on the Cubs game was rude now.

I don’t know though.

I have experienced a lot of close loss in my life from a young age. I always preferred when people would just say a few kind words then leave me alone. It was better the less they said. The less I looked into their eyes. It just reeked of pity and sympathy. 

It never changed anything. It never changes anything. That person is gone and there isn’t anything that’s going to bring them back.

So you move on. Order an omelette with fruit and wheat toast and some fish and chips. Touch your food but don’t eat it. Drink your iced tea and coffee. 

I don’t know.

Death is such an interesting thing. That is what has stopped me on all my previous ideations with suicide. 

I wasn’t just killing myself. I was killing everyone who considered me a friend. 

But sometimes, that pain is so, so incredibly hard. Your body isn’t your own, your mind isn’t your own, your soul isn’t yours. You belong to something much deeper and darker.

I used to think that death was so much easier. But guilt is a much stronger emotion than pain. 

We feel guilty for the ones left behind. We feel guilty for the words we wanted to tell to that person but never got around to it. Everything that was done everything that was said is now final.

So, what are you guilty for?


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