Relatives and friends of those who have lost a child have asked me about whether someone should or should not have a shrine in memory of their child who died.
Some have told me their daughter-in-law, for example, has created a memorial in their home and that it makes them “uncomfortable.”
I say if it helps you cope with a loss this insurmountable, have that memorial shelf or shrine. Don’t let anyone grief shame you out of it. It’s your home and if it makes someone else uncomfortable, that is not your problem. It’s theirs.
I don’t give a rat’s ass if it makes someone else uncomfortable. They didn’t lose a child did they? And they have no idea what they’d do if they did or how it feels.
If you are moved to do so, you can have a conversation about it and simply say that it helps you heal and you want your child remembered. Who can argue with that?
You don’t have to lapse into apologizing or defending yourself. Simply make the one statement and invite questions if you wish. Sometimes people who have not been through this will want to know more because it’s a human emotion they really cannot fully grasp. Being intentional with explanations helps others understand grief. Sometimes the questions sound so unbelievable to those of us who’ve lost a child. But we weren’t always on this side and we were not always in the know. We have to place ourselves back in those shoes again and remember that we were once blissfully ignorant of this level of grief, too.
Don’t ever let anyone shame you out of talking about your child because they “don’t approve” of how he died or it makes them uncomfortable. This journey is pure hell which gives you license to do what you want to remember your child and find emotional healing without judgement from outsiders who have no earthly idea what it’s like to stand in your shoes day after day, aching for the one you love so much it crushes your heart.