elle cuardaigh

Grief and Shame – Guest Post

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“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. So finding this post on Facebook this morning was a message I needed to hear:

Grief and Shame: An Unacceptable Combination

Tim Lawrence is someone who gets it. Thank you, Mr. Lawrence, for writing this.

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

 

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