What was I to do? What do any of us do, other than what seems like the right thing to do at the time?
What I did, while it was right for me, was too difficult for others who I cared for. Life said to me "Make a decision. Decide whether this time you will live for yourself, or ... "
When I chose life, that is what was given to me. While nothing lasts forever, I am not going to feel guilt for having survived, and perhaps, through sheer luck, for having thrived.
I am peeling away and casting off remnants of shame and guilt. What is left is me; grateful for every thing that has come my way, whether I deserve it or not.
After a lifetime of trying to please others and living with feelings of guilt and shame that I couldn't control the world, I did what seemed right. Sometimes the universe is benign. Often it is very, very cruel. For me, there was a gift of healing and acceptance in a way I could never have orchestrated.