Jane, our Counselling and Bereavement Services Manager, shares some common myths about grief.
“For everyone experiencing loss – no matter if you’re a close family member, friend or carer- grief can become a difficult burden to bear. Knowing how you’re feeling is perfectly normal can bring some much needed comfort at a dark time.
Myth: If you are emotional you are weak
Feeling sad, frightened, lonely, or crying are normal responses to loss, not a sign of weakness. Showing your honest feelings can help you and others accept your grief appropriately and realistically, opening the door to true healing.
Myth: If you don’t cry you are cold and unfeeling
Crying is both normal and appropriate at a time of grief or loss, but it is not the only acceptable response. There are many ways to express these feelings of pain and loss. You shouldn’t feel guilt over crying or that you haven’t cried ‘enough’, everyone grieves differently and that includes crying.
Myth: You should grieve for a full year
It may be that your grief lasts for a year, as you experience all the seasons and anniversaries associated with your lost loved one. However, there is no set time frame for this process. Grief is personal and manageable, varying in time and intensity from person to person. The pain of grief may surface in waves: bearable for long periods then suddenly overwhelming when exposed to an emotional trigger. Knowing this can be of comfort when you are surprised by an intense feeling of pain or loss.
Myth: Ignore it and move on – that pain will eventually go away
While this stoic approach has been popular in the past when support for grief was unavailable, today we know that trying to ignore or suppress your pain makes it worse and last longer. To heal from your loss and ultimately put it to rest, it is critical to face your grief. This is best done with an experienced professional in the area of grief and healing.
During a lengthy illness, following the funeral, or sometimes long after the death of a loved one grief may become more than you are able or willing to handle. There are services and support which can help you through this time.
Useful Services and information:
Cruse Bereavement Service
Winston’s Wish has a wealth of resources and advice on how to support your child through bereavement, whilst also dealing with your own grief. They also have a free phone helpline you can call.
Childhood Bereavement UK
Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.