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The Death of a Memorial - You Don't Get Over It

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 nothing.

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 us.

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 person.

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, http://www.theaddictionmonster.com

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, New Gravity.

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!


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