Shame is a shackle as sure as any chains forged from iron.
And it often finds its home in the hearts of those who bury a child.
Bereaved parents may feel shame for lots of reasons:
- Circumstances surrounding the death of their child-suicide, alcohol, drug abuse;
- Inability to provide the funeral or burial they want due to financial constraints;
- Missing signs or symptoms of an illness that may have led to death;
- Family dynamics that pushed a child away from home or relationship.
The list could be endless-on the other side of child loss our brains pick apart every interaction, every choice, every moment that could have gone one way but went another.
Grief is WORK.
But it is impossible to make my way through the pile of emotions if I’m shackled by shame. I can’t move freely and effectively if I’m bound hand and foot by things I can’t control and can’t change.
In the midst of all this work, some bereaved parents find they are immobilized by depression and/or anxiety and need medication to help them through.
And they feel ashamed.
Can I just say this?
There is NO shame in seeking help.
There is nothing shameful about using whatever tools are available to make this awful journey more manageable.
A wise and kind doctor friend said, “Medication does not make the sorrow and pain go away, but it can calm the mind and create space so you can do the work grief requires.”
You are not a failure if you need medical help to quiet your mind. You are not weak if you take a pill to keep from feeling like you’re going to come out of your skin. You have done nothing wrong if you can’t sleep and require a sleep aid to allow your body the rest it needs to carry on.
Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s.
You are unique. Your path through this heartache is your own.
Do what you need to- for YOU.
Shake off the shame.