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John James, founder of The Grief Recovery Institute

John W. James

Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

Ask The Grief Experts

It's never hepful to compare an intellectual fact with the normal and natural emotional reaction to a death. (Published 4/1/2014)


I lost my 21 year old daughter 5 years ago from a drug overdose. I thought I was doing okay. I continued working, going to college, maintaining everything. About 6 months after it happened I began to come apart and to be honest just didn't want to be here anymore without her. When I think about it that seemed so selfish because I had other children and grandchildren but my heart was so broken I couldn't feel anything they were offering me in the way of comfort. I turned to alcohol and began a downward spiral that nearly took my life 4 or 5 times. I was angry every time I woke up because I did not feel like I should still be here and she wasn't. To my way of thinking she was more deserving of life than me. Even though it's been five years that question is still foremost in my heart. I am doing well, have the drinking under control and no longer wish to die but it's that question that still begs an answer. I now have God in my life and that is a great comfort but how do I stop feeling guilty for being the one alive. Mommies should not have to bury their children and I don't know how to reconcile that in my head.

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