Losing a loved one can change your world. Coping with your emotions after the initial shock of dealing with the changes can be devastating. When friends and family have gone home, leaving their casseroles and cookies, and you settle in to rest, you realize that you are alone. You expect to be an emotional wreck right now. But three weeks or months down the road, what then? Does it ever get easier?
- TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS. Contrary to popular belief, time is not the ultimate healer. Many people have lived the rest of their lives without coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. Whether they use avoidance, denial, or even chemical means to avoid dealing with the loss, they just never handle it well. Most of us can think of someone who fits into this category and we never really know how to help them.
- EVERYONE GRIEVES. Tying in with the first myth, this simply isn’t true. Avoidance is a great tool. It is possible for some people to continue on with their lives as though someone just stepped away for a moment. They never work through the grieving process, so their own lives are suspended in time.
- EVERYBODY HANDLES GRIEF THE SAME. Just because your brother-in-law remarried six months after your sister passed does not mean he was done grieving for her. The fact that your father could never talk about your mom doesn’t mean he didn’t think about her constantly. While one person may be in the denial stage for months, and breeze through acceptance when they get there, another may get stuck in the anger phase for a very long time as they raise children alone. Grief is a very personal way of dealing with loss, based on the effect to our own personal world.
- THE STEPS OF THE GRIEVING PROCESS ARE SET IN STONE. Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, acceptance; the modified Kubler-Ross Model of grief is simply a baseline. Because grief is so individual, the phases are interchangeable. One may miss a step or stay in another for a long time. You may find that you are working in several phases at once. The goal is to continue to work through it, dealing with the emotions as they come in waves.
- EVENTUALLY YOU GET OVER IT. This is the ultimate lie about grief. Coming to terms and accepting the loss of someone you cherished is only the agonizing conclusion to the grieving process. It isn’t a miracle cure for the rest of your life. Replacing the tears with a sad smile is not getting over it. Remembering a special moment with affection and loss when a memory is triggered is not getting over it. The reality is that you may never feel as though you are ready to move on from the loss. You may learn to get through it but you lost someone special, and your life is different because of the love of that person. Cherish it.
Understanding what grief is, and is not, may help you to have a more realistic expectation of the weeks and months ahead. Your loss, and the time to work through the associated pain, is yours. By letting it happen and confronting each challenge, you will be able to come out on the other side. Time may not heal all wounds, but time is your friend, and life will become easier again. Take comfort in that knowledge and peace as you grieve.
Forest Lawn Funeral Home serves the Mobile, Alabama area with funeral and cremation services, grief support, pre-planning, and more. Visit us online at forestlawnfh.com! Call us anytime at (251) 675-0824 or connect with Forest Lawn Funeral Home on Facebook and Twitter!
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