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Loss: Coping With Shame, Guilt, And Grief

Coping with shame guilt and grief

Blueprint Breaker: Amy Palmer

I grieve – over many things and in different ways.

And yet I struggle with my own internal battle around grief and what are “acceptable” forms of grief. Of course, I understand intellectually that I am entitled to my feelings, and there is no such thing as “acceptable” grief. Still my internal critic chimes in.

“It impacted me deeply and yet I felt some shame around feeling grief.”

Loss: Let’s Talk About It:

I recently lost a friend, mentor, and colleague. I was not part of her inner circle, but I felt like I had a second row seat for her end-of-life experience. It impacted me deeply and yet I felt some shame around feeling grief. (Do I have the right? We had only reconnected in this last year. Others were closer and were there for her in the end, they are the ones who deserve the sympathy, not me.)

This loss has impacted me on a real level and I am still processing what it all means.

I am grieving the loss of motherhood and never having a child. Even though it is 13 years since my miscarriage, and seven years since I started menopause, I still find myself coping with shame, guilt, and grief.  Again, do I have the right? (How can you grieve something you never had? There are so many women and parents who have lost actual children who deserve the love and support. Shouldn’t I be over it by now?)

I am also experiencing anticipatory grief. I have moments of intense anxiety and sadness over the loss of my parents – who are both very much alive. My Mom turns 80 next year, and Dad is 82, but it has only been recently where I have noticed the aging decline. I have such intense dread for what is ahead and that sometimes feels ridiculous to me. (Be grateful! They are still here! Enjoy the moments! Many would trade places with you in a heartbeat.)

“I am grieving the loss of motherhood and never having a child.”

Periods Of Grief:

We have rituals and ceremonies and traditions to help people through the traditionally recognized periods of grief – memorial services, funerals, support groups. While we may still have a long way to go as a society on how we talk about or deal with death, it gets even worse if it is some form of grief and loss that is outside the norm. Or if the loss is just too great to contemplate. Which is confusing to me because I know we all experience these things. Why don’t we talk about it more often? Why is coping with shame, guilt, and grief such a taboo subject?

What also baffles me is the connection between grief and shame, guilt and fear. Can we talk about it? Do you have a loss that you are currently experiencing? Do you have grief that you struggle to acknowledge and feel shame that it’s even there? Send me a note, I’d love to chat about it.

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About the Author:

As host and facilitator for the Blueprint Breaker podcast, Amy A. Palmer is dedicated to expanding and amplifying the voices of women over 45 who are living a “non-traditional” lifestyle.

After a lifelong struggle with feeling “outside” the societal norm and longing to live up to perceived expectations, Amy has found peace, acceptance, and joy as she embarks on the next era of her life. Amy was formerly a senior corporate executive, a nationally recognized sales and operations expert, an award-winning actress, a resident of 13 different US cities, and a prize-winning DC blogger.

Amy has a vast network of friends and colleagues with whom she enjoys travel and adventures and a close family including six niblings (nieces & nephews), the loves of her life!