Common Questions with Answers About Grief

Peggy Green - Thee Grief Specialist

by Peggy Green of Thee Grief Specialist

Q:

“Is it normal to grieve?”

A:
Absolutely. It is completely normal to grieve. Grief is so normal that it is expected to be a part of your life forever after the event. Its intensities will go up and down based on time of year and how long it’s been since the event, but the grief will likely always be there in one form or another, existing alongside other emotions and feelings like joy, happiness, and more.

Q:
“Are mourning and grief the same?”

A:
No, mourning and grief are not the same. Grief is the emotion you feel, the state of mind you are in, when you experience the loss of a relationship through death, divorce, and so forth. Mourning is the traditional or inventive activation of grief; the movements you go through as you experience grief. Mourning is best defined as acts or
outward expressions of grief. Some common examples of mourning can include preparing for a funeral, wearing black, or sharing memories or stories about your loved one.

Q:
“Is it okay to be angry when I grieve?”

A:
Yes, it is absolutely okay to be angry when you grieve. The goal is to not hurt yourself or others during the times you experience anger. Anger is normal when grieving as you come to terms with what happened to the person you love. You may feel that the situation is unfair. Maybe you are angry at someone who caused something to happen. Maybe you are angry at the person who died. Maybe you are angry with yourself. Anger is a way to sort through the emotions and help your brain come to terms with the events. Prolonged anger, however, can be an issue as can anger that causes you to hurt yourself or others.

Q:
“What types of people have the hardest time when losing someone?”

A:
There is no possible way to answer this question. Everyone deals with grief and loss differently, and it is important to not to compare your loss to another person’s loss.

Q:
“How long will this last?”

A:
I wish there were a standard answer. It is individual and your response to it depends on how long your grief will last. You are on a grief journey and, as you use the tools presented in this book, the path will become less bumpy and the return to life without your loved one will become easier. 

Q:
“Someone told me their loss was more difficult than mine. Is that true? Can grief
be ranked?”

A:
Grief cannot be ranked. Someone else’s loss is not the same as yours. The relationship you have with the person who died is what matters most in terms of the intensity of grief. No one’s grief is more or less than another’s. 

Q:
“What is bereavement?”

A:
Bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after a death.

Q:
“Is it okay to try to push your feelings away when grieving?”

A:
To an extent, yes, it is okay to push your feelings away when grieving, but you will need to deal with them at some point. This is a form of avoidance.

Q:
“Is crying a good way to grieve?”

A:
Yes, absolutely, crying is a good way to grieve. Crying releases endorphins and makes you feel better.

Q:
“Will your grief be gone after a good cry?”

A:
No. But will you feel better giving yourself this time to really feel the emotion and let it pass through you.

Q:
“Should I talk to people about my feelings?”

A:
Yes, you should absolutely talk to people about your feelings. Talk to friends. Talk to family. Talk to a grief support group. Talk to your cat. Heck, talk to yourself! And remind friends and family (and maybe even yourself) that what you need right now is for someone to listen, not to placate you.

Q:
“Is it okay to want to be alone when grieving?”

A:
Yes, it is okay to want to be alone when grieving. Sometimes when you are grieving, you might separate yourself from people for a little bit. And that is okay. You are processing your feelings. That said, folks who are grieving have also said in studies that the number-one thing that is most helpful during grieving is being around friends and family. Being around friends and family at this time may seem difficult or impossible, but it is a healthy thing – and one that can make you feel a lot better, too. 

Q:
“Is there a right way to grieve?”

A:
No, there is no single right way to grieve. However, there is a healthy way to grieve. You are reading this book and learning how to grieve in a wholesome way. 

Q:
“My doctor or therapist wants me to take medication, and I don’t want to. What should
I tell them?”

A:
Ask them what they see in you that warrants the need for medication. Tell them why you are reluctant to take medication and ask if they think that you won’t get better without it. There may be a time for medication, but do not take it blindly. I suggest you try additional alternative methods along with medication. 

Q:
“My best friend, who was there for me before my beloved died, no longer talks to
me and avoids me. Why can’t my friend support me?”

A:
Death changes you. You are no longer the person you were before your loss. Your friend may not be able to relate to you now. This is unfortunate because it is another loss for you. You can have a heart-to-heart conversation and ask your friend if there is something you did to create this distance. You can also tell your friend that you need his or her extra support. But remember that some people are not comfortable with the topic of grief. They do not know what to say or are afraid of saying the wrong thing, so they avoid anything associated with loss – and your very presence
is a reminder of loss. Your circle of friends and support will change. It is okay if they cannot be there for you right now. Remove that expectation, and your friendship can stay intact.

Q:
“I don’t think I’ll ever get over the death of my child. What do you suggest I do?”

A:
The death of a loved one is not something to “overcome.” I gently suggest that you look at the way you see this tragedy. Death is like an amputation, and you do not just grow a new limb. Learning how to live with this significant loss in a healthy way should become your focus instead of simply trying to move past your loss. Using the tools presented in this book, you will learn how to think differently about your loss and be able to move through your grief to healing.

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