GRIEF

Dr. MacAfee wrote to me: Many years ago, a dad, a laborer, a very hard working man and ever so wise whose daughter had died, came back into therapy after a couple months absence – around the anniversary of her death. In my awkwardness, filling space with my anxiety, I said, “these anniversaries are so difficult.” To which he said, “Dr. MacAfee, I know you mean well, but everyday is the anniversary.”

In that moment, Libby, I learned about trauma and grieving in a way as never before. Needless to say tears filled both our eyes and I came to understand something – a great gift from a grieving father.

My reflection on the passage above: Often we carry our grief alone, lock it inside ourselves where it isolates us, swells and hurts every day. There are times when I feel the grief of lost years, of dreams that missed the mark and of hurts that happened without my being able to stop them. When I least expect it, a remembrance comes to mind and I feel grief for what has been.

Today’s promise to consider: Feeling grief is a part of the human condition and it can trap us in a place where we feel totally alone. Today I will share my grief, my sadness. I will talk with someone and maybe he or she will help me carry it, if just for a moment.

 

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VJ
VJ
11 years ago

I had paid for a ninety day treatment program for my son and he agreed to go when he was relaesed from the county jail. He is 35 and addicted to cocaine and meth. He has never been clean and sober for longer than nine months since he first began using at age 16. This morning there was a message from my son informing me he has decided not to accept my offer of treatment. He is back on the streets hussling his next high. He is so sick and the disease holds him hostage as it slowly tortures him to death. I grieve his loss everyday yet he is not physically dead. Is this worse than when the death is physical? For me, I have to answer yes as I can’t imagine the pain being any greater than I now feel. May God give me peace and understanding.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
11 years ago

Dear VJ,

I’m so sorry. You are living through hell and I’m sorry. I’ll pray that your son makes a different choice in time. I found great help in the halls of Al-Anon. When Jeff was on the streets and lost to me, Al-Anon was my anchor and my strength. Love to you,

Libby

Jane
Jane
11 years ago

Yes, I have learned much about grief through this journey with my son’s addiction. Such sadness, and loss and yet he is alive. I agree with Libby that I learned how to cope, move on and live through the help of Al Anon. It does not make the grief go away but it taught me how to lessen my sorrow and find some relief through the help of others. My prayers are for everyone who walks with us in the shadows of addiction

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Jane, I join you in prayer. Thanks for reaching out to help. My love to you.

Julienne
11 years ago

My daughter 22 died of an overdose on May 26 2011, she had come out of her second time in recovery 6 months before, and was presenting herself in such a remarkable way that we, her family and friends thought she was clean. She had support, she was working on livingwaters-reinvent.org a recovery home for women. She was vibrant and had many anchors…..a family that was behind her all the way, the creation of Living Waters, a new baby in the family a nephew Greyson. She had a new job that was a dream job for her, it called on her creativity, bubbly, organized, outgoing and beautiful self. She said “I’m doing a job that people study for years and then work up the ladder to have, and I am doing it, and being paid well for it!” excitement was exuding from her.
I thought that her anchors would keep her clean. I now know that she had begun using right when she got out of rehab, and did not stop. I think that her shame and a lie took her life.
I will be going through my day and a wave will hit me like a bowling ball hit my stomach, with the realization that she is gone.
Last week I woke up in the night with my thoughts reeling again, (I had begun to think the night haunting’s were lessening). During my day I wept, felt giant waves of sadness move though me, I kept busy and wept most of the day. In the evening Khaleya’s sister called me and said how sad that she had felt all day, then realized that it was June 26th , a month from her death. It is a subconscious response, although every day I am conscious of our loss, I look at the book of Khaleya’s pictures that were made for the 250 people that attended her memorial service, people who were directly connected to her and loved her.
What an immense amount of love that girl has.
Grief is as near the heart as love is, sometimes I am aware enough to move the grief/love out through my heart to my extremities and beyond my body to the the universal energy , I then feel the tight hold on my heart release, I imagine that she can feel my love for her, and my pain lessens I even feel joy.
I will always have to make a practice of loving her in this way, this day this week this month this year and for the rest of my life.
I for the first time found your website, thank you for the work that you are doing.
Julienne

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Julienne,

There are no words to express my deep sadness for you and your family. I’m so sorry that your baby girl – only 22 years old – is no longer with you. This is grief that I do not know and I extend my love to you.

Your words are perfect, “We who choose to be warriors and are called to do so can work together.” I don’t know if you’ve ever attended an Al-Anon meeting, but I can only think that your experiences could greatly help another mother, another father to reach out and help their child. Addiction is confounding and we parents are often tricked into thinking that our child is good when, in fact, they are living a huge lie, a double life – as Jeff, my son, called himself – a chameleon. They can change colors depending on their environment. When Jeff was sick, no amount of anchors, no amount of my personal strength made a difference in his life. Addiction suffocates life.

In an effort to help others, you might consider attending an Al-Anon meeting. I know that if I were in the meeting, I would be humbled by your walk and your strength.

My sincere love and respect.

Libby