I met grief when the police officer uttered, “I have some sad news to share, your son Charles has been found dead this morning.” “Met” is probably too gentle a term. It was more like grief and I had a head-on collision. The news that my son Charles killed himself was a painful twist of the knife. At that moment I was assaulted by so many feelings at once.
Losses can be traumatic especially when it’s an early or unexpected death.
No one is born with directions on how to grieve and after it happens you crave a road map. Meeting the crashing waves of emotional and even physical pain takes your mind and body hostage. How long will it be this bad? Will I ever want to do anything again? It does lift just when you think you can’t take it a moment longer.
After my son’s suicide, I already knew that I couldn’t heal if I couldn’t feel. And as I threw myself into the substance misuse and mental health community, I kept hearing about so many recoveries and overdose stories that didn’t start with the first drink or first hit, but started with the death of someone years or even decades before the addiction took up permanent residence.
Grief is rarely talked about. I’m shocked to find out how many think the way to go through it is to push away or numb the feelings. When in fact, feeling the feelings is how one heals.
I want you to know that no matter how long ago you lost someone if you’ve never really grieved your loss, it’s never too late to start.