Grief after the loss of a loved one does not follow a certain pattern. It is very individual based on one’s own relationship with the loved one and past experiences. There are some myths about grief. The biggest myth about grief is that we “get over” it. We never get over it, but at some point we learn to live with the grief. Grief is all- consuming, physically and emotionally. It hurts! It robs us of pleasure, leaves us with loneliness and feeling lost.
Another myth is that time heals all wounds. It’s what we do with the time that counts. We must share our feelings and stories with those who will listen even if it is difficult. No one can know exactly how you feel, but people who have had similar losses may understand your pain.
Grief will come and go over days, weeks, months and years. Birthdays, holidays and anniversaries remind us of the one who is not present. You will experience days or weeks of relief, but then a glimpse of a picture or memory of a special trip floods you with grief again. There will be peaks and valleys, but these times will grow further apart.
One positive aspect of grief is that we often become more sensitive and compassionate. We can help others in their grief, and this is rewarding.
Life is difficult as M. Scott Peck writes in his book, “The Road Less Traveled”, but life even with the difficulties and tragedies show our humanity. We grow in our sorrow and tears as well as our triumphs. We should treasure each day and give thanks for the miracle of life.
Penny Zielinski, LCSW