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I Am Having Problems With Guilt

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My husband did not leave a will and he never talked to me about what he would want done with his estate. Legally I inherit 3/4 of all pre-existing property (the house he bought before we married, his car and a few collectables he owned) and since we live in a common wealth state all common wealth property (bank account, and household items, and things purchased after our wedding) also goes to me. Both of Arthur's parents signed documents saying that they want the portions of his estate that would go to them to be assigned to me (they each had the right to 1/8 of his estate).

I am incredibly grateful to them for this since it means I do not have to sell our house or figure out how to pay them for part of it. The problem is that I am feeling horribly guilty. In a way I don't feel I deserve to inherit everything. He had two sister, a brother and his parents...I can't help feel they have more right to everything that was Arthur's. I am not sure why I am having issues with this. No one in his family has expressed the opinion that I don't deserve to inherit...in fact everyone has told me they want me to be able to keep the house and dogs and for us to be ok. They have also all told me I am still part of the family and they want me to stay part of their lives.

This guilt is driving me nuts...it makes no sense at all. I keep on trying to figure out why I feel this way. The only thing I can think of is that we were only married for ten months...that somehow the shortness of our marriage makes it less real and thus his stuff was his and I have no right to it. It is not a large estate...mostly our small house a few small investments and a life insurance policy and of course his beloved dogs (Cougar a nine year old German Shepard and Couper an eight year old Lab)...but still I can't seem to help the guilt. Is this insane?

I love my Arthur with all my heart and I know he loved me just as much. Next to me and Sophia (my daughter) he loved his dogs more than anything else in this world...so I am making sure I take good care of them in their old age...this is helping a bit with how guilty I feel...but is not solving it. I am not sure how to deal with these feelings.

Could this be spill over from other confused and confusing emotions? I know I also feel guilty thinking about the future. Every time I think about how to live a good life without him I feel guilty. Part of me feels like my life should be over and I should go into maintenance mode and tread through time until I can die...but there is a large part of me who clings to the idea that I am still relatively young and I don't want my life to be over. I don't want to never love again. I don't want to give up on life and joy and love. I feel horribly cheated...I feel like I had finally found everything I wanted in life. I was so incredibly happy...truly I felt blessed and thanked God every night for my amazing husband, wonderful daughter, loving pets and safe home.

This is all so horribly confusing. More then anything I want Arthur back. I want the life we had planned. I want our dream house in the country with a big garden, a flock of chickens, lots of fruit trees and cuddly adorable toddlers. I want to go to sleep at night listening to his breathing. I want to have my beloved here...I don't want to have to plan my life without him. I don't want to have to grieve for him. I don't want to have to deal with the guilt of still being alive when he isn't. He deserved to be alive more than me. He took better care of himself and worked harder to be healthy. I feel bad for being the one still here. I feel bad for having 'gained' financially because of his death....he worked so hard for everything he had...I don't feel I deserve it...I have never been ambitious or hard working...I have always been the sweet spacy kind...I was happy supporting him in his dreams....but he was the one who earned them.

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Dear Lina,

I am so sorry your dreams were obliterated and your future seems empty of all you and Arthur planned. Though I can not put myself completely in your shoes, I do understand. I am so sorry. It seems that if Arthur's family did not want you to have what he left, his parents would not have signed off on the property. It does sound like the fact that you were married 10 months instead of 20 years plays a role in your guilt. The fact is you were married, you merged your lives, your bodies, your souls. Property is nothing compared to that. Arthur was your husband and I bet he would want you to have everything that is yours guilt free. Guilt is such a tough one to deal with. I have had my share of it also. I did learn that the guilt I felt and focused on was taking away from dealing with the heart of my grief. I did not want to focus on guilt and allow it to contaminate the sadness I feel over losing Bill. It is tough but we are only guilty if we do something wrong intentionally. You had/have no intention of doing anything wrong. And you have done nothing wrong. You have been left with a home and dogs and more, all things that Arthur would so want you to have. I wish I had an answer but believe me I know guilt and the price is too high and useless. I hope you can humbly accept all you have knowing you deserve it. Peace, Mary

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