Are you tired of hearing your friends and family say that you should be over it by now, or you need to move on with your life, or that they just want “the old you” back?

Do you feel you shouldn’t be so sad, because the person you’re missing was old or ill and is no longer suffering?

Your grief is yours alone. Accept your feelings and do what’s best to help you.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about the grieving process:

  • Everyone deals with grief differently – even those who experience a similar loss.
  • Every loss must be grieved – whether you do it right away or years later, a bit at a time or all at once.
  • Every grief journey is unique – there are no definitive steps or timeframes to move you through it.
  • Every loss is different – loss of a spouse is different than loss of a sibling.

As time goes on, others might expect that you should be recovering and life should go back to normal. Everyone is different and this may not be your reality. Your normal no longer exists and you may need to find a new normal.

Many people find it helpful to talk to their friends and family, but sometimes the people we expect to be most supportive move away from us – just because they don’t know how to make it better.

Unrealistic expectations – our own and those of others – can greatly hinder the readjustment we need to make when we’re bereaved. We often expect more of ourselves. We wish we could handle things better, be more in control, be stronger.  We expect to be over it, because others around us have moved on with their lives.

What to look for in grief support

If you just don’t want to do it alone anymore, where can you go for grief support?

Maybe you need to talk to someone who is removed from the situation to help you along your personal grief journey. Perhaps you just need someone to listen to you and validate your feelings. You might want to talk about your loved one, when everyone tiptoes around you to avoid the subject. Or your best medicine might be a group of people who can share their thoughts and feelings on grief and loss.

Here’s where you can start:

  • Find a list of credible grief facilitators. Never assume that any help is better than no help. Ask people you know and trust for recommendations.
  • Phone or meet with grief facilitators until you find one you feel comfortable with. Can you freely share your thoughts and feelings with this person?
  • Look at your options. Would a one-on-one or group situation work better for you?
  • If, after you’ve chosen the facilitator and/or support group, you find it’s not working for you, don’t feel you have to stay. Try another – don’t give up.

When you settle on the grief support that is right for you, you’ll find that you look forward to your regular meetings, and that you’re learning valuable information about yourself and your grief. Speaking out about how you feel and knowing that you are not being judged for it may be just what you need. If you’ve chosen a grief support group, you’ll learn from the experiences of your group members. Most importantly, you may begin to feel hopeful again.

Best wishes,

Laurie

Coming soon: Where to look for grief support and what to expect