Though everyone faces loss at some point, not all are equipped with good information about how to face the grieving process. Below are a few truths that could help you to feel better about your own grieving process.
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You Don’t “Get Over It”
There is a widespread notion that processing loss will naturally end with some kind of final step, after which you will finally be “over” it, but this is not a fair representation of the grieving process. In fact, it’s better said that you will never get over loss—but this is a good thing. So-called emotional memories cannot be forgotten, so the truth of the loss is never written over or erased. But what you can do is form new perspectives toward loss, and come up with ways to handle triggered memories in the future. The pain does get a little easier over time, but it’s not forgotten. Grieving allows you to continue to have positive memories of a lost loved one despite the pain.
Everyone Grieves Differently
You’re liable to find myriad websites that list the “stages” through which you will process the death of a loved one, but it’s important to remember that the order isn’t really lock-step. You may start with anger, for example, rather than denial, as none of the stages occur in any particular order. In fact, some stages you may not even experience at all, and that’s quite alright. It’s not helpful to compare your grieving process to that of someone else. Everyone’s relationships are unique, and the way our lost ones affect us varies. It’s okay if your grief looks different.
It Will Take Time
There are also lots of guides that suggest a certain amount of time passing for things to get better. Unfortunately, this is misleading as well. For many, it won’t get better for a long while. Some suffer from a condition called “complicated grief,” in which the symptoms seem to persist longer than usual. But even outside of those cases, your own grieving process may feel delayed. This is not a cause for alarm. Patience is key in these situations. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and allow time to heal. It’s not always going to make sense, but the process can’t be rushed, so try not to feel discouraged by your grief taking time. In some cases, people report feeling better and then worse again, leading them to believe they are not making progress. But here, too, it hurts to try to measure progress in this way. It’s best to just allow yourself the time and space to feel the weight of your emotional response to death.
You’re Not Alone
It cannot be stressed enough that the griever is not in it alone. Virtually everyone knows someone who has experienced death in one form or another, someone who can empathize or offer support in some way. The last thing someone in grief should do is believe that they have no one else to lean on, or to go to for support. Many may feel as though their feelings are unique in this way, or that no one could understand. And this may well be true, but it doesn’t exclude people from being able to help. Someone grieving the death of a loved one or family member needs the support of their other family and friends more than ever. These people may reach out and offer their help. They may very well be the one thing you need.
Your Grief Belongs to You
Above all, your grief belongs to you and no one else. This means that your story—including the story of your loved one and how they were lost—belongs to you, details and all. There is no right or wrong way to process the death of a loved one, no matter what anyone tells you. There are plenty of myths circulating as well, and almost all of them are hurtful. It’s hard on the brain to understand something as complex as death, and our reactions to it run the gamut. But even if grief can be necessarily prescribed, it doesn’t mean that your grief will look anything like it. And there is no shame in that. You have every right to own your feelings and process your grief in your own way, on your own time.
Novus Mindful Life is here to help with your loss and grief. Please don’t feel that you are alone. Contact or call us today: 562-203-1396