People who have not lost a son or daughter cannot possibly understand the pain. Many times they realize this. The comment I heard most often was, "I can't imagine what you are going through." All of us felt or are still feeling shock, numbness, denial, fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, anger, blame and like your child has been ripped away from inside of you.
A grief counselor can be of help here. This is not the time to tough it out and just wait for things to get better or to lose all interest in helping yourself. You must consciously choose life, not destruction. A bereavement support group can help, too. The feeling of aloneness and uniqueness in the loss of your child is overwhelming. That is why you need to connect with someone who has been there and knows and/or understands what you are going through.
What do you do, however if relatives, friends and acquaintances seem to hold back on there sympathy and support? This can happen all too often. Unfortunately, society is quick to be critical and judge. There is a social stigma associated with some forms of death. If your son or daughter died from suicide, homicide, domestic violence, AIDS, drug overdose, alcohol poisoning or an act of wrecklessness, people may be less than empathetic. You may sense this and find it hard to talk to people about your child and the cause of death. This is called disenfranchised grief.
Disenfranchised grief is very confusing and not good because you don't get the support you need. You need validation of your son or daughter's life and of your loss. Otherwise, you kind get stuck in a bad place. You can become very depressed and even have a myriad of physical symptoms like being unable to eat, headaches and anxiety.
I would like to refer you to two websites which discuss this topic more in depth.
http://www.expressivecounseling.com/disenfranchisedgrief-alone-ashamed/ by Elizabeth Kupferman.
http://www.efuneral.com/on-grief-and-grieving-what-no-one-talks-about/ by eFuneral.
Every parent has the right to have his or her grief acknowledged. Due to the suspicious nature and unclear manner of my son's death, I sense I went through this myself. As a result, it may have taken me longer to come to terms with Chris' death. I hope this discussion and these websites will help any of you finding yourselves in this situation. All of us need a bridge over these troubled waters. God be with you all.
Peace and love,