I was married about 15 years ago to a lady with a 5 year old son. We were together for a few years, but as life goes, things didn't work out. We divorced and went our separate ways. Afterward I went into deep depression fueled by a fast track alcoholic lifestyle, but about 2 years later my life turned for the better. 10 years ago I began dating my current wife and have been happily married. Life seemed perfect, until December. I always kept in touch with her son, he'd stay nights with me, come see me with his grandparents or her sister, or I'd go see him there, but I mostly lost touch when he turned 16 and I moved away. I'd still see him on Facebook, have messaging chats, respond to things, all the Facebook-y communication you'd expect. I even tried to get him to come down and spend a summer with us since we live near the beach, but his girlfriend had plans for their summer... you know how that goes when a boy is 18. December 15, I woke up to learn that he had <mod edit - methods> ended his life in front of his girlfriend who he was apparently "on the rocks" with. My head flipped completely upside down and my heart just went cold that morning. I had a long drive to a meeting that day, spoke to several of his family, but his mother wasn't reachable for obvious reasons. I went to his funeral, saw his face in the casket, but couldn't shed a tear. I sat with his grandmother for some time, his grandfather and I talked about anything but him, and his other family all welcomed me to grieve with open arms, as they always did really. His mother was still in shock, and I couldn't do anything but hug her for several minutes and hold her, appearing to be strong to be there for her. I held her hands for some time after our hug, just listening to her. Nothing she said made sense but it didn't have to. She was dealing her own way, and has her own beasts in her mind and life to deal with, not even including the death of her just-turned-21 year old son. After the funeral, I kept in touch with his family here and there, talked to my ex wife and took her mind off things, but I shut it away. A few months ago, out of nowhere, I began having really just down right emotional moments, crying jags, things that have never happened. Stress from other areas piled up and I realized I wasn't as strong as I thought. My mood changed, my relationship with my wife changed, and most importantly my emotional state changed. I was isolating from anyone and everyone I possibly could. Finally, a couple weeks ago, I confessed to my wife after a long discussion about my mood, everything that had affected me. I backtracked through all the life changes we had been through the last few months, and while all that was stressful, it didn't bring a tear. Then like a hammer, it hit me. I almost couldn't breathe as the tears started. Meaningfully tears, not just a random jag. I realized, I never grieved since December. I wanted to put on a strong front, be there for his family as a strong shoulder, but I forgot I needed some of my shoulder too. In my mind I just thought I couldn't have been grieving over his death. He wasn't my son, she was grieving, not me. I felt so selfish. I hadn't even seen him for 5 years, didn't raise him for the last 13 years, and hadn't been in close contact him since he was probably 15. There was no way I could feel like that. Finally, the emotion poured out, my wife wiped my tears away, and now I am finally grieving. Yes, it is OK to grieve. It doesn't matter who you lose. We must grieve, and cry, and remember, and love again. If we don't, we may not live.