Friday, November 8, 2013

"Common Sense" - Grief rules


In her work as a Bereavement Counselor for funeral homes, Margaret Gerner of St. Louis MO  contacted family members who had lost loved ones approximately eight weeks after their deaths.  The largest percentage of them were what she called “I’m Fine” calls.  Surviving family members say they’re ‘fine.’  In truth, many of them are, but more of them are not!!   She says she hears comments such as:

 “I’m keeping busy so I don’t have to think about it” or “I hurt at first, but I just have to give it time.”  Or “I try not to cry in front of my family.  It upsets them so much.”  Very few people will admit that they are hurting. Unfortunately, this denial of grief is all too common in our society.  Actually, we have unwritten rules about it. 

The Rules ARE:
  • Ÿ  Bury your feelings
  • Ÿ  Replace the loss
  • Ÿ  Grieve alone
  • Ÿ  Give it time

Did you pick up any of these rules in the above comments? 

We live in a fast paced society that does not allow the deep, searing emotions that occur at the death of a special loved one, especially at the death of a child.  It’s not comfortable to listen to another talk about his or her child, or cry, or show pictures of them.  We are asked to ‘get on with life.” ………….. Thus “The Rules” !!!

As a bereaved parent, we pay a high price for those rules…….We pay the price for swallowing our emotions in illness and chronic depression that can plague us many years after our child dies.  We pay the price in a prolonged sense of isolation because we can not share our pain with another.  We pay the price in self-blame when that magic year mark comes and we aren’t   “over it.”

We never stop and ask ourselves who said we have to keep busy, that crying is weakness, that talking about our deceased child is morbid, that we must think only of the ‘good’ memories, or that time heals all wounds.  We just take what society dictates as ‘truth’.   “THEY”  ARE NOT  ~ Society IS NOT  !!!!

Ignore these Rules!!!  Let yourselves grieve in healthy ways. 
  • Ÿ   Do not bury your feelings.  Let them out.  Get angry when you need to!!!!
  • Ÿ   Cry when you are hurting….Talk out your guilt!!!   Don’t try to replace the uniqueness of your child.  You CAN NOT!!! 
  • Ÿ   Don’t grieve alone.  Find people who will listen non-judgmentally to your story told over and over again. 
  • Ÿ  Let GO of the mistaken idea that time heals!!  Time, in and of itself heals nothing.  It isn’t time that heals: it’s the grief work that you do while the clock ticks away that heals….. 

Look at what you are being told about grief.  Question who “THEY  are and  What “THEY”   know about grief.  Don’t listen to those who tell you not to grieve.

Would you consult your neighbor on financial matters if he were a mechanic?  Would you ask an attorney about your stomach problems?   Of course you would NOT.  So why listen to those who tell you how to grieve when they have absolutely NO knowledge of how to grieve or how to recover.

The loss of a beloved child creates a big change in your life.  Do NOT leave healthy recovery and positive personal growth to “Common Sense” rules.  Keep in mind that while the Rules may be “Common”………..they don’t always make….”Sense.”  

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