Myths about Grief from a Griever
I’m no stranger to grief. I’ve experienced a number of personal losses that have changed my life. Every change we experience involves some form of loss but when this loss involves a heavily meaningful and significant transition, we experience symptoms related to grief (Murray, 2001). Grief is the natural emotion, physical, and psychological response to a loss. The ‘natural’ is bolded because I want to rail home that it’s a perfectly natural response for people to have.
But if it’s such a natural thing, why do we have such a tough time with loss?
In western society, death/dying/loss and grief all freak us out. We have no idea how to handle them because we spend most of our time avoiding all of these topics as best we can. When someone dies, we teach our children to say, “I’m sorry for your loss.” The first response isn’t necessarily to go into an in-depth discussion about what death means and how it can impact them. Even when the loss isn’t related to death, we tend to sweep it under the rug.
Pet dies? Get another one.
End a relationship? Cut the ties and move on as quickly as you can.
Lose your job? Hunt for a new one and don’t think about the old one.
Experience a life-altering medical issue? Heal it and don’t discuss what’s happening.
And some losses barely even get recognized, even though they’re deeply impactful for the individual who has experienced the loss:
Watching an older parent struggle with dementia or Alzheimer’s