Question from Jay: My son Josh died July 12, 2008, from a drug overdose. The person who sold him the drug was his girlfriend’s mother. The police did an investigation that went nowhere due to the fact that they needed one of my son’s friends to make a buy off of her, but no one had the guts to do it. I know that she sold him the drugs because of a conversation that I had with my son two nights before he died. I was waiting to have spinal fusion surgery and was in constant pain, and my son asked me if I wanted a morphine patch because his girlfriend’s mother sells them. My question is: What do I do to help me with the anger and hate that I have towards this woman who I feel got away with murder?
Response from Dr. Fred Luskin: Grief is the first and natural response to hurt. Your grief process is still front and center, and there is more pain to be felt and anger will be a part of it. If anger is the dominant emotional experience, then that a poor outcome for you more likely. Therapy or anger management books and classes may be helpful. As the grief continues its expression, the limitations of grief become apparant and the need to move forward emerges. As that happens part of what has to occur is a letting go of your anger, releasing any sense of victimhood, understanding that your son’s life was as full as it was to be, and reclaiming your power to have a decent life.
Dr. Luskin is a member of the board of the Open to Hope Foundation. He serves as Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects, an ongoing series of workshops and research projects that investigate the effectiveness of forgiveness methods on a variety of populations. He can be reached through www.learningtoforgive.com.Tags: anger, grief, hope