Grief and Shame

“You should be over it by now.”

I’m not over it. I’ll never be over it. Some things will be grieved forever. Even more, some things should be grieved forever, because the loss is so great and life-altering.

We have no idea how to grieve in the West. We do not have ceremonies or traditions. We’re told to join a support group if we can’t cope, until we’re “over it,” like it’s a bad cold or a rash.

And if we don’t recover according to the comfort level of others, there is something wrong with us. “You still have that sucking chest wound? You should be over it by now.”

One of the most freeing moments for me was hearing someone describe the adoption experience in the terms of grief and loss. Until then, I did not have permission to grieve about my adoption. In fact, I did not know experiences could be losses. Grief was no longer only for death, but for all the “could-have-been’s,” the relationships that couldn’t or didn’t happen.

This is a hard time of year for me. The holiday season is overwhelming. Of course, my birthday is also in the mix. I fight shutting down altogether by focusing on others, and always feel guilty for not being happy.

Added 2020:

“Some things in life cannot be fixed; they can only be carried.” Megan Devine

Everything Doesn’t Happen For A Reason 

Elle Cuardaigh is author of The Tangled Red Thread and contributor to The Adoptee Survival Guide


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s