Myths and Facts About Grief

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. From an Irish headstone" ? Richard Puz, The Carolinian

Grief is a deeply personal experience that cannot be conscribed by any other person. Each person experiences the heartache of losing a loved one differently and so many factors add the variability of our journey through grief.

My sorrow for the loss of a friend to ovarian cancer had more to do with the things this young friend had yet to experience; marriage & children were the primary regrets. As her friends, we miss her caring concern for our families, her loyalty, her kindness, her compassion. For her mother, this was her only child and the pain of separation created an incredible lonely void.

If you are grieving the death of a loved one, don't let other people and their experiences determine how you grieve. Realize that you have the right to feel the loss and cherish your memories in a way that brings you the greatest sense of relief. I found a few myths about grief which I feel are beneficial.

MYTH: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.

Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.

MYTH: It's important to be "be strong" in the face of loss.

Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn't mean you are weak. You don't need to "protect" your family or friends by putting on a brave front. Showing your true feelings can help them and you.

MYTH: If you don't cry, it means you aren't sorry about the loss.

Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it's not the only one. Those who don't cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.

MYTH: Grief should last about a year.

Fact: There is no right or wrong time frame for grieving. How long it takes can differ from person to person.

Source: Center for Grief and Healing