By Danny Mize, Advisory Council member for The Hope & Healing Place
We are often caught up in some misconceptions about grief and mourning simply because we believe what the general public says about it – or, we accept what we saw modeled by our immediate and extended family. But, not every grief or mourning statement is TRUE – even though it may be posted online, mentioned by friends, or even printed in books. Consider some things I believe about grief under the two categories of “Misconceptions” and “Realistic Expectations.”
Some MISCONCEPTIONS About Grief and Mourning
1. Grief and mourning are the same thing.
2. Your mourning will progress in predictable, orderly stages.
3. You should move away from grief, not toward it.
4. Tears of grief are only a sign of weakness.
5. Being upset and mourning openly means you are being “weak” in your faith.
6. When someone you love dies, you only grieve and mourn for the physical loss of the person.
7. On holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays, you should try to avoid thinking about the person who died.
8. After someone you love dies, the goal should be to “get over” your grief as soon as possible.
9. Nobody can help you with your grief.
10. Time heals all wounds – including the grief over a death.
11. When grief feelings are finally reconciled, they never come up again.
Now that we’ve put some misconceptions on the table (often called “bad advice from well-intentioned people”), let’s consider some helpful reflections, which I call:
Some REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS about Grief and Mourning
1. Grief is what we feel in response to loss. Mourning is the outward expression of our feelings of loss.
2. You will naturally grieve, but you will probably have to make a conscious effort to mourn.
3. Your journey through mourning will involve a wide variety of thoughts and feelings.
4. Your mourning will impact you in five realms of your experience: physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual.
5. You need to feel the pain of grief to heal the pain.
6. Your grief may end up hurting more before it hurts less.
7. Your grief will be unpredictable and will not likely progress in an orderly fashion.
8. You don’t “get over” grief. You learn to live with it and reconcile the loss to your current life and activities.
9. Having support from the right people can help you work through your grief.
10. Time alone does not heal. It’s what you do with your time that heals.
11. You will not always feel bad.
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