Talking about death is difficult, but then add talking about drug overdose as a cause of death, it gets even harder.
When a loved one dies from an overdose, there are often a lot of unanswered questions:
Did my loved one know what was happening?
Did they do it intentionally?
Did they do this on accident?
Talking about the cause of death can also lead to shame about the person’s behaviors…
Was it an addiction? Were they depressed? Was someone there to help stop it? Why couldn’t they stop?
Why didn’t they care enough about leaving us behind to stop?
I think this is one of the hardest questions to think about as someone who is left behind.
We desire our loved one to stop their self-destructive behavior. We may have gone through several attempts to help rehab them. We may have pleaded with them to stop and start life over, fresh, and get back on their feet.
Our loved ones may have tried several programs and had cycles of quitting and starting up again. Hiding from us, being ashamed that the drug was a master over them and not being able to be free from it. Sometimes they were angry at us for not understanding and giving them more to aid their addiction.
The list goes on. And in the end, when they die from it, we are left with wondering why didn’t they love us more than that drug?
Even if we understand the addiction cycle or know the rigors of depression…we still have this sinking feeling, they didn’t love me enough to stop.
These are some of the questions and thoughts that you can talk about, with people who get it, like in a GRASP support group.
GRASP: Grief Recovery After A Substance Passing. They have support groups across the country and are led by volunteers.
Participating in a GRASP group and seeking individual grief counseling with an experienced grief counselor can be healing to help answer and process the questions that come along with the uniqueness of a substance death.