Simply defined, grief is the normal and natural reaction to a significant emotional loss of any kind. While we never compare losses, any list would include death and divorce as obvious painful losses. Our list also includes many others; retirement, moving, pet loss, financial and health issues, among them.
The range of emotions associated with grief is as varied as there are people and personalities. There is no list of feelings that would adequately describe one person’s emotions, much less an entire society's.
Grief is individual and unique. As every relationship is unique, so are the feelings and thoughts each person will have about the relationship that has been altered by death, divorce, or any other loss.
While grief is normal and natural, most of the information passed on within our society about dealing with grief is not normal, natural, or helpful. Grief is the emotional response to loss, but most of the information we have learned about dealing with loss is intellectual.
The majority of incorrect ideas about dealing with loss can be summed up in six myths which are so common that nearly everyone recognizes them. Most people have never questioned whether or not they are valid. The misinformation is best described in the following six myths:
- Time heals all wounds
- Grieve alone
- Be strong
- Don’t feel bad
- Replace the loss
- Keep busy
Just looking at the myth that “time heals” creates the idea that a person just has to wait and they will feel better. We have known people who had waited 10, 20, 30, and 40 years, and still didn’t feel better. And, we know that they would tell you that not only had time not healed them, but that it had compounded the pain. The other five myths carry equally unhelpful messages.
But there is a way to deal with the grief that we all experience. The Grief Recovery Method® Outreach Program is one of those ways.