Loss is brutal. Grief is agonizing.
And when you’re grieving, everyone has an opinion about how you’re supposed to make your way through the experience of loss.
Even you might have ideas about how your grief process ought to go. Almost everyone thinks there’s a correct way to grieve.
But that’s simply not true.
What is true is that our society is death-phobic, and our collective fear of facing death and loss perpetuates some hurtful falsehoods about grief, like “grief takes a certain amount of time,” or you need to do specific “grief work” to be okay.
When you’re in the throes of painful grief, friends and loved ones who are gripped by these myths say things that end up feeling thoughtless and alienating, even if they don’t intend to hurt you.
But I’m here to confirm for you that:
You have experienced a loss and you are grieving.
You have not contracted an illness, become weak, gone crazy, or lost your intelligence.
And the anxiety-based distortions that our culture purveys leave many, if not most, grievers like you and me feeling confused and isolated.
When your grief is dismissed or criticized by your friends, or when you try to hold yourself to some false external standard of grieving, you can end up feeling not only astounding pain from your loss, but also fear or shame about how you’re managing your emotions.
I’m here to provide some resources to begin to clear up some of those myths.
Grief is hard enough without having to fight your way through a morass of inaccurate information that makes you feel worse.
I’m working as fast as I can writing a book about grief that provides accurate information about what’s actually happening in your body, your identity, your emotions, and your relationships that causes the overwhelming pain that grief brings. In the meantime, I have a few resources that might help you feel understood and less alone as you make your way through the darkness of your grief and into healing.
(Please also note that though a lot of my work on grief refers to losing a loved one to death, there are many other causes of loss and grief–like adoption, divorce, retirement, childhood trauma, loss of ideals and dreams, having a mentally or physically ill child, and more. Your loss is important even if no one has died. The following resources are meant for you, too.)
1) Free downloadable e-book that dispels common myths about grief:
2) Grief posts in my Loving the Questions blog:
3) Therapist Uncensored podcast interview with me about grief:
4) Video – Jennifer Bilbrey interviews me about grief:
5) On the Pathways program on radio station KBOO, an interview with me about grief:
6) Grief quotes and poetry from this site:
7) Professional articles I’ve written about grief:
I hope these resources help you to know that you are not alone, and your grief is not crazy. Please keep a lookout for my forthcoming book, where I’ll be able to help you a lot more.
Loss of a loved person is one of the most intensely painful experiences any human being can suffer. — John Bowlby