Myths About Grief
In today’s society, grief and loss are often misunderstood. It’s the nature of society to avoid talk about death, loss and loneliness. But fortunately, university classes and Internet clips are aiming to demystify death culture. What are some of the biggest myths about grief?
MYTH: Grief is negative. Being sad—and showing it—is not a sign of weakness. In fact, going through the many steps of grieving are natural and, in many cases, must be completed for one to truly heal.
MYTH: If you don’t cry, you’re not sad. Grief takes many forms—sadness, anger, confusion, isolation, nervousness. Just because someone doesn’t visibly cry doesn’t mean they are not sad. Men, for example, are often more conditioned to withhold outward signs of grief.
MYTH: You can only grieve for someone you knew well. Grief takes on different forms and intensities depending on who we have lost. But it is possible to feel real, honest grief even at the loss of someone you don’t know personally. Take, for example, the death of a celebrity. When a nationally known celebrity dies, fans often feel real pain at their loss—that person may not have been present in their life, but their music, writing or other talents were.
MYTH: You can’t grieve and be angry at the same time. It’s very possible to feel multiple emotions—some which may seem contradictory—after experiencing a loss. While author Elisabeth Kübler-Ross defined five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—it is possible for them to overlap. As she described, the stages are not meant to be complete or chronological. Simply put, you feel what you feel when you feel it.
MYTH: You will be back to your old self in no time. For those who have not experienced grief, they will think this is true. However this is not the case, it can take years for the bereaved to fully integrate the loss into their life. As a bereaved person, you will need to educate others on how to support you while grieving, as most people will not know how to help.
The biggest thing to remember about grief is that it is yours and yours alone. No one will feel the way you do, when you do, how you do. Don’t allow supposed or prescribed “dos and don’ts” to guide your very personal grief.
About our Grief Educator, Chelsea Hanson
As an author, Chelsea Hanson has the special gift of finding the right words when they are needed most. Having experienced loss and transcended grief herself, Chelsea provides a sense of comfort and understanding to help people with grief. Her reassuring words provide hope that you too will be able to journey through grief and find a new appreciation of life.
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