There are lots of grief myths and I’m busting a few of the most glaring ones from my point of view. Many think grief is all emotional symptoms but grief has many physical symptoms, too.
1. You will get over it
It’s not a matter of “getting over it.” It’s a matter of learning to live without the one you lost. It’s a big adjustment. All your hopes and dreams have been yanked from under you. It takes time to rebuild your life with new dreams and you will always have some hurt over the ones that will never come true.
2. You’ll never get over it
At first, it might feel that way. And if you tell yourself that, it could come true. The trick is to not make ‘I’ll never get over it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Grief after the death of a child doesn’t have an ending but it doesn’t mark the end of your life. You can live through this and when you do, you’ll feel like you can do anything. After all, you’ve survived an unfathomable loss. It’s true you are forever changed. And you can find joy in life again if you allow yourself.
3. Women grieve more than men
Men would have to love their children less to feel less grief. This is just not true. They even grieve the same as women, hurt just as much but may show it differently. Don’t ever think the Dad doesn’t need your hugs and the opportunity to talk. They do.
In fact, I would argue they often need it more. Culture doesn’t always allow them to feel comfortable expressing their grief or give them the human comfort they need. I have found men to be desperate to talk about their loss and their child because the opportunity to do so is not as frequent.
4. Time will heal
Like any wound, it improves over time but only if you do the rehab and that’s different for everyone. So as the saying goes, time helps but that, in and of itself, is not what heals but the work you do to live your life and carry the love and legacy of your child forward. You have to work it and for that, you have to find what works for you. I’d say time softens the pain.
5. You should keep your grief to yourself
This is a sorry tradition that is as outdated as big ’80s hair. Your own grief feels isolating enough without feeling you have to hide your ugly, naked grief like a blanket of shame.
It doesn’t mean you have a breakdown in front of everyone all the time but you can talk about your child and you should talk about your child. You’ve lost someone who was precious to you, let others provide comfort. Once you take your two minutes, you can usually move onto other conversations. You just need that minute or two to talk and be heard.
6. You shouldn’t cry in front of your other kids
So we want to teach kids that grief is not acceptable? Show them that the death of their sibling is not worthy of tears. They become confused if you don’t talk and will follow suit.
Make traditions that they can honor their brother or sister. They feel the loss, too, and need opportunities and ways to express their pain and celebrate that lost sibling.