The tears of grief speak more eloquently than any other language.
I invited a very special mom to share her addiction journey with her daughter with you.
It is in the sharing of our struggles and grief that we are all untied and supported in our quest for recovery.
Grief – “The tears of grief speak more eloquently than any other language”
Grief is universal, yet very uniquely personal. Put into this language, a unique story of loss – loss of a child to addiction even though they continue to live. “My daughter left out the front door. I ran after her. She got into the car of a young man. I screamed “please, please don’t go”. They drove off!” …….and I fell to the floor and wept, and screamed, and wept, and hurt. My heart grieved – again!
Living with a child addicted to drugs is in my personal, humble opinion..one of the most painful things a parent could ever have to do. You see I counsel people in their grief journey. But one thing I have recognized is they have a place to move up from and get better. The loss is final. The story of a life is told with joy while the story of the loss is told with grief. Then the story of how they incorporate the loss into a meaningful chapter for their own lives. What they experience is “healing from moving on or moving forward from the close of a chapter.” I soon realized that my grief is so completely different. My grief is mixed with fear of the future and trauma from the past path of destruction. You see we have loss in both directions.
Addiction can cause a parent to grieve the past and ruminate on what they could have done, should have done, should have known and didn’t do! We question our parenting skills, our sanity, and we question the entire child’s life. We question what could have been and we grieve. We question the loss of our dreams we held for this child and we grieve. We question the signs and symptoms, and we grieve. We question our mate and those around us who have given up on our child, and we grieve. We question what caused this, and we grieve. We question what the future might hold and we become fearful – and we grieve. We question how we will handle another relapse – and we grieve. We question what kind of life they will have – and we grieve. Grief seems to run backwards, forwards, and sideways. It is a very different kind of grief.
My grief recovery work began with telling my story to others who understand. It is in the sharing that we find relief. My recovery work also began with me. I had to accept the hard truth that my daughter has a disease and there was nothing I had done then that caused the disease. I had to accept the hard truth that this disease of addiction will lie, steal, cheat, manipulate and anger me if I don’t stand up to the disease and refuse it’s tentacles to invade my own mental, emotional and spiritual well-ness. My daughters brain is diseased and she will have to manage it for the rest of her life, if she wants to live well. My grief work also begins in the morning where each day I consciously choose to release her to the loving care of my Heavenly Father and trust in Him with her destiny. I ask for the strength to accept it for just this day. Tomorrow, I begin again. As time moves on….I recognize that healing can and is taking place.
Our grief is loss of the child we once knew, the child who slowly died in our anticipation for dreams to be fulfilled, our grief over loss of what we thought would be, even our grief over the trauma from seeing the path of destruction – all of which can render us paralyzed in the reality of an unknown and unpredictable future. We grieve the loss of our self. This grief journey can also be a blessing in that we are offered a silent valley to insight. We do draw closer towards a spiritual self as we soon realize how many things in life simply do not matter. What begins to matter is the compassion we feel to those suffering from this disease and those loved ones trying to find their way out of the grief. We find our humanity – and that to me is “losing self to find one’s self”. For me, finding that deeper place of spirituality means drawing near to my Jesus and becoming completely dependent on Him instead of becoming closer to the co-dependency of my addicted child. I am blessed to have found my Savior in the midst of unexpressible pain. I am blessed, and I am hopeful…again.
Paula Nevius, LPC, LADC