Grief is a roller coaster ride. It has ups and downs. Grieving patterns are unique. Here are 9 myths about it:
1. People grieve the same way. Grieving is a highly individual experience. Grief depends upon a variety of factors (i.e. education, religion, life experiences etc.). No two people grieve the same way.
2. Grief lasts 6 months to a year. Grief recovery takes two years or more before life feels “normal” again.
3. Time heals the wound. Time alone isn’t enough. There is an old saying that tells that “time heals all wounds.” With the passage of time, the pangs of grief may become less sharp, less frequent. Healing doesn’t just simply “happen.” You must help it alone. Some ways to help include: grief support group, nurturing your spirit, taking care of your physical self with exercise and nutrition.
4. Get over grief as soon as possible. Instead of focusing on getting over grief, focus on growing through it.
5. Friends can help by avoiding talking about it. Grievers want and need to talk about their loss. Friends can facilitate the healing by being good listeners.
6. Tears reveal weakness. Tears reflect a deep love and are a natural part of mourning. Many people associate tears of grief with inadequacy and weakness. Crying on the part of the mourner often generates feelings of helplessness in friends, family and caregivers. Crying is a natural way of releasing tension in the body. Crying makes people feel better. Tears are NOT a sign of weakness.
7. Staying busy keeps the pain away. There is no way to avoid pain or loss. Burying yourself in a lot of activities delays the recovery process. The BEST approach is a balance of social interaction and solitude.
8. Family and friends are your best support system. Some families have high dysfunction. Some friends have never had an experience with loss and may not know how to help. The best support comes from 2 sources: 1) People with high levels of compassion and sensitivity, 2) People who have experienced the death of a loved one.
9. There will be closure. Closure is not some magical, mystical endpoint with a sudden ending to grief and life returns to normal. Closure is gradual. Each person’s journey is different.
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