I was reminded recently of one of my pet peeves. You see, once someone you love dies, you join a new world. It’s the world of the bereaved. It’s a club no one wants to join, but once you do, you realize something. Sometimes people in this club believe lies. Sometimes those lies are told to them by other bereaved people and sometimes, they tell them to themselves. Here are some lies grieving people believe.
1.It doesn’t get easier.
This is one of those I hear a lot of bereaved people telling new grievers. Sometimes those who tell new grievers this aren’t much further down the grief road themselves. I think people say it to let people know, actually I have no idea why people say this. This is just flat out not true. Raw grief is so painful I’m not sure I could live a lifetime with it. Grief does get easier with time, lots of time. If I spent every waking moment the way I did the days after my son died, I wouldn’t want to live. This doesn’t mean grief ever goes away, it doesn’t. You never “get over it” or move on, you move forward with it. In fact, I believe the trauma we endure stays with us, the pain, but it’s not usually at the surface all the time. At first, it’s all at the surface, waiting to spill out at any given moment. Over time, and I’m talking not just years but decades, it takes a little more digging to reach that raw grief. As long as we love our loved one, we will miss them and wish they were with us. That will never change.
2. Time heals all.
Another lie. Time alone will not heal anything. I believe dealing with your grief, working through it and for me, my faith, heals my hurting heart. I don’t think there should be a timeline on grief, but some people do get stuck in certain areas of their grief. For example, if you are struggling with post traumatic stress disorder. This is when a counselor can be of great help.
3. If I’m feeling happy, it means I don’t care about them as much as I used to.
This is a very common feeling among the bereaved. I remember early on after my brother died, I laughed. How could I? Not soon after, a pang of guilt ensued. How could I laugh when my brother was dead? Sometimes we feel like we don’t have the right to be happy anymore. Sometimes we feel like it’s dishonoring to the one who died. Sometimes we think that if we are happy or feeling “better” it means we don’t love them as much as we did or we are forgetting them. These are all lies! I get it, sometimes I feel closest to my loved ones in the midst of my deepest grief. I don’t want to leave the sorrow because then I feel like I’m leaving them behind. However, I know for a fact, my brother and my son would not want me living a depressed life. How better could I honor the ones I lost than by living a life of purpose and joy? Of continuing their legacies and helping others in their name?
4. We don’t compare grief.
Should we compare our pain and our grief? No. Do we all do it to some extent? Absolutely. Sometimes it can help put our own despair into perspective, but most of the time it just makes us feel like we shouldn’t feel as much pain as we do. Don’t fall into the comparison trap! No matter how old you were when they died, no matter how old the person was who died, you have the right to grieve.
So I encourage you, don’t believe these lies!