Chapter 2: Why your grief may be different
What you did or didn’t know
When my brother died, finally
there was this nothingness in my chest. The constant feeling of chaos and the
expectation and fear of the worst thing that could happen were gone.When I heard she had overdosed, I felt like I had
crumpled into a million pieces, and I’d never be whole again. It’s taken a long
time to pick up the pieces, and I know I will never be the same.
Depending on your relationship with the person
who has died, information that comes to light about them may or may not be a
surprise. If you learn details
about the person’s life, lifestyle, and
substance use after
their death, especially if the information doesn’t fit with what you thought
you knew, this can add new layers to your grief.
Because every relationship is different, not everyone will have known the person who died in the same way, and they won’t necessarily feel the same way about the person and their death.
Below are different situations that may or may not apply to you. Click on each one to find out more.
What may help
- If you knew about the person’s substance use, you may feel guilty or helpless that you weren’t able to intervene. Remind yourself that you are human and have limits in terms of what you can know or do at any given time.
- Living with the uncertainty of not knowing if someone will survive their substance use is emotionally exhausting. It’s important to recognize and acknowledge all of your thoughts and feelings.
- You or others may be in shock for some time before you can begin to process the complexities of your loss. Take time to let information sink in.
- Consider whether it would be helpful to take control of when and how much information you want to hear. News and social media can be overwhelming at times.
- Talking with others who knew the person who died can be helpful as long as everyone understands that each of you may grieve differently, even from one day to another.
- Consider joining a support group. It can be helpful to talk to others who have been through similar experiences.