Loss is part of the circle of life, and grief is a natural response to losing a loved one. Sadly, there are many misconceptions about grief that can make it harder to allow yourself the time and space you need to grieve in your own way. Rather than feeling pressured to conform to someone else’s idea of how to grieve, we need to remember that this is an intimately personal experience and process.
1. We “get over” grief.
If only this were true! But, it is not. We learn how to absorb our loss and recognize that we are forever changed. Over time, the pain will lessen as we remember our loved one but we will always feel the loss.
2. When a loved one dies, our relationship with that person ends.
The bond of love never breaks. It is through the grieving process that we come to accept someone has died, and we are then able to move into a new kind of relationship with them.
3. People who have the same loss will have the same grief.
This is not possible, because each of us is different. Our relationships, even with the same person, are different, so we respond and adjust in our own ways.
4. There is one right way to grieve.
Heavens, no! There is no right or wrong because grieving is an emotional process.
5. Time heals all wounds.
Well-meaning friends and family members use this panacea to help soothe our grief, but the passage of time does not heal. What helps us heal is spending our grieving time acknowledging our true feelings and sharing stories of our now-passed loved one.
6. All losses are the same.
We are all different, as are the people we love. That makes every loss unique, too.
7. Feeling and expressing intense grief emotions are signs of weakness and losing control.
Not true. In fact, having intense feelings, and allowing your intense feelings to show, are signs of how much you care. Our grief evolves as it winds its way through our conscious mind, our body, and our soul. It’s only natural to experience periods of intense feeling as we consider just what we have lost.
8. Once grief is resolved, it never comes up again.
As with Myth #1, this is simply wrong. We cannot forget those we have loved, and we don’t want to forget them. As we remember we may always feel new grief at their loss.
9. Everything about grief is negative and devastating.
We have all heard the expression, “Laughter is the best medicine,” and it’s true. Life is filled with humorous moments, and feeling able to laugh at them is a relief and a release for your mind and spirit. And who would want to hold back the happy memories of your loved one that keep popping up, even as you grieve? Those memories will keep that person alive in your heart forever.
10. Religion and spiritual beliefs always bring comfort during times of loss.
The pain of loss can make us question our beliefs or wonder how a loving God could have allowed something this painful to happen to us. Yet, even our angry questioning is a prayer to God to help us understand our loss and help us through our grief.
Loss happens, and life goes on . . . but you are not alone
Understanding that grief is a natural and uniquely personal process can help you maintain a healthy mind, body, and spirit as you move forward. Our Magnolia Manor Spiritual Care Team is here to help, if you would like assistance processing your grief. It’s part of our spiritual commitment to residents and their families, even as we focus on life and the living. Please contact us at 1-855-540-LIFE (5433).