The following email was sent to me by someone who is grieving a death blamed on the deceased. In this case it was a young man who was drunk driving. It could also relate to suicide or other recklessness behavior. Professional counselor Marnie Macauley answers the question.
"I came onto this site to try to find a way to deal with the anger I feel as I'm grieving. It's been helpful in understanding that anger is a common part of grief but it is often mentioned that anger is directed towards drunk drivers who have killed a loved one. What do you do when it is the drunk driver you are grieving for? My best friend died after drunk driving and crashing into a tree. Its so hard when people's reactions are so unsympathetic (I don't mean on here) because they think he was an idiot for doing it. I think he was too and that's why I'm angry that he wasted his life of 18 years in such a stupid way..I love him and miss him so much but can't get over how angry I am at him for doing this to us (his friends) and his family. What was the point? It is so lucky that he didn't harm anyone else but its very difficult when the person you're grieving for is seen as the 'baddy' when I know he would never intentionally harm anyone and just thought he was invincible. Sorry for rambling. I think I need to. Thank you."
Marnie's response to grieving a death blamed on the deceased:
Honey, this is the most difficult sort of grief! When the victim dies as a result of poor judgment, breaking the law, or yes, even suicide, family and friends also feel victimized, with triple the rage! Yet, unlike other mourners, true empathy and sympathy are compromised.
Painfully straight-up, there are wafting, often unstated feelings by you or others of ““He could’ve killed innocent people!” “Didn’t he give a damn about himself? US?” and the odious, “Well, he asked for it! (or ‘deserved’ it!)” Add to that a huge dose of guilt. (“Could I have done something!”) The death of a loved one is painful enough, without tacking on these burdens, along with the usual support we expect. So let’s look at this another way.
Strategies When Dealing with Death Blamed on the Deceased:
Then, honey, feel free to grieve, without compromise! Grieve for him, this marvelous human being, with forgiveness and understanding. And by doing something constructive, not only will you be able to make some sense of the senseless, you’ll help turn this tragedy into something meaningful, which pays tribute to him, and will save the lives of others in his name.
More Questions for Marnie? Click on the banner below to talk to Marnie further through email or live chat.
Return Home from Death Blamed on the Deceased