Often people who come to Hospice seeking grief support will start the conversation by saying something like. “There must be something wrong with me. I must be crazy or something.”

When we ask why, they share that they are feeling worse now than when the death occurred, or that they should be feeling better now, it’s been a few months. Or they share that they are so tired, feeling exhausted. Sometimes, they talk about how someone in their life is suggesting that they are somehow grieving wrong, or that someone in their life has ghosted them and they don’t understand why. Oh the list goes on.

The sad truth is that our society is not grief Informed. We do not know what is normal, so we think we are crazy, or that we are doing our grief wrong. So here are some facts for you:

Often grief does feel like it is worse months after the loss. (Not always) We have moved out of shock and so we feel more. Time does not play a role in our grief.

Grief takes a lot of energy. At the beginning, all of our energy. We do not have a lot of band width left to do anything else. So if you are feeling tired, let your body rest.

People in our life try to help us. Unfortunately, they are not grief informed either and so they can say the stupidest things. It is difficult not to get angry or feel hurt, but understand that your grief is unique to you. You are allowed to do it how you do it. Do not let well-meaning people tell you how to grieve.

Grieving with people is the most effective way to grieve. Being able to tell your story and talk about your feelings helps you to develop more capacity to hold your grief, to integrate your loss into your life. In order to do this, we need to find safe spaces and safe people to share with. Grief is not something that can be “fixed”. As Alan Wolfelt says, we bear witness and this provides the space for healing.

Grief is natural. We are supposed to grieve. It is the healthy and understandable reaction to losing someone we love. It can be one of the most painful and confusing experiences of our lives, and we grieve because that person played a huge role. Our relationships are complex and multilayered and so our grief is complex and multilayered. Grief bursts and confusion are common experiences.

Over time we see how our world has changed. As we move through the world without our person, we slowly see that our life has changed and accept that the loss is real. We slowly begin to create a new life. There can be a lot of resistance to this and that is okay. And – it is exhausting.

Alright, I feel like I am getting on a soap box and I don’t want to do this to you. I really can’t say it enough.

Grief is hard work. You are not crazy, and you are not grieving “wrong”. You are going through a painful experience that is natural and understandable.

Hold yourself with compassion, and understanding.

Be Gentle,
Denise Torgerson
Community Programs