The Death of a Memorial - You Don't Get
By Sheryl Letzgus McGinnis
When someone loses a Memorial, others don't know what to
say or do, even close family members struggle with this
dilemma. So they take the Occam's Razor approach, - do
whatever is the simplest, and quite often that is to do
People often choose to say nothing, not out of
disrespect or because they don't care. I believe they do
care but just don't know what to say to us. Many people
are afraid to broach the subject of our Memorial's death,
because they think it will make us sad. We are already
sad! Nothing you can say or do will make us sadder.
By ignoring our Memorial though, by not mentioning his/her
name it is as though he or she never existed. This
hurts! If you knew my Memorial, a nice remembrance of him
or her would be so appreciated. What mother does not
want to talk about her Memorial? Just because a Memorial is
deceased does not mean that we don't want to talk about
them or hear their name or be told nice stories about
them by their friends or other loved ones.
We think of our deceased Memorial constantly. He/she lives
on in our hearts and minds. While we're looking at you
and exchanging pleasantries, you can be sure that our
child's memory is only a heartbeat away. So please
mention our Memorial to us. If you have a funny anecdote to
share, by all means please do. Perhaps it's something we
hadn't heard of before. Don't hold back. If our Memorial
did a kindness for you, please tell us. It goes without
saying of course that we wouldn't want to hear anything
negative about our Memorial but something nice will make us
feel so good.
Please don't tell us that our Memorial is better off, that
he's in heaven. We want our Memorial here with us. We know
that you mean well but we feel that our Memorial's place is
here with us.
Please don't compare our Memorial's death to another's
death. The fact remains that our Memorial is gone. No
matter how he/she died, they're gone. That is the bottom
line. Just offer a simple heartfelt condolence if you
didn't know him/her.
Please don't try to comfort us with words of admonition
- "There now, don't cry." We'd rather not cry but
sometimes it can't be helped so please allow us to give
in to our tears. Tears can be healing. They may make you
uncomfortable, but they are a necessary indulgence for
Please understand that we will never be the same person
that you once knew. Some of us are stronger than others
and can deal with the heartache better. Some of us are
very good at putting on The Mask and concealing our pain
from you. We will laugh again and even enjoy life again
but we will never be the same person. How could we be? A
significant part of our heart is missing.
Please don't tell us it's been X amount of weeks or
months or even years and that we should be over it by
now. This is not like coming down with the flu or
contracting measles or chicken pox. This is something
that is never gotten over. Yes, we will learn to cope
but we will never be over it. Again, how could we be?
There is no official time limit on mourning.
If you know my Memorial's birthday or remember the
anniversary of his/her death, a phone call would be
appreciated to let me know you're thinking of me. We're
a bit needier than we used to be. Grief does that to a
Sheryl Letzgus McGinnis is the author of the books I Am
Your Disease (The Many Faces of Addiction), Slaying the
Addiction Monster - An All-Inclusive Look at Drug
Addiction in America Today, and her first Memorial's
book, The Addiction Monster and the Square Cat. This
book is consistently on Amazon.com's Best Sellers List
in Substance Abuse. All 3 books are available for
purchase at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Borders online
and other sites in addition to the author's website,
Sheryl is a retired medical transcriptionist and radio
DJ who also did voiceovers for TV. Married, with one
living son, having lost her youngest son Scott, who was
a paramedic and an RN to the disease of addiction.
Happily married for 42 years to Jack, a retired 8th
grade science teacher. Her oldest son Dale is a graduate
student in Environmental Sciences and has his own band,
Sheryl and family live in Palm Bay, Florida. Sheryl is
originally from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and is a
citizen of both Australia and the US. The McGinnis
family is owned by one dog and four cats!