5 things about Grief no one really tells you

July 3, 2023
5 things about Grief no one really tells you

In our shared human experience, we all, at some point, come face to face with grief. It’s a painful and bewildering chapter in our lives, filled with unanswerable questions and raw, untamed emotions.

But even though we all go through it, grief can feel isolating and overwhelming. It’s hard to know what to expect or how to cope with the intense emotions that bubble up when mourning a loved one, whether for a brief period of time or an extended season of life.

In the spirit of lending a helping hand to those in need, here are five insights about grief that aren’t often discussed openly.

1. Grief is Not Linear

There’s a popular notion that grief follows a neat, five-stage progression: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. But the truth is, grief is not a one-size-fits-all journey. You might bounce between stages, skip some entirely, or invent your own.

Grief is not a linear path; it’s a winding trail with hills and valleys, with no right or wrong way to traverse it. And wherever you are on your journey, that’s okay.

2. Grief Can Feel Like Many Things

Grief is not confined to sadness alone. You may also experience feelings of guilt, anger, fear, or even relief, and these are all natural reactions to loss. Sometimes, grief can feel like physical pain, or it may leave you feeling numb.

These reactions aren’t often talked about, leading to additional stress or confusion, but know this: your feelings, whatever they may be, are valid.

3. Grief Can Make You Feel Isolated, Even When You’re Not Alone

Despite being surrounded by loved ones offering support, grief can create a sense of isolation. The magnitude of your feelings can make it seem like no one truly understands your pain. It’s essential to remember that while your grief is uniquely yours, you are not alone in experiencing loss and its accompanying emotions.

Reach out to your loved ones, join support groups, or seek professional help if you feel comfortable.

4. The ‘Firsts’ are Often the Hardest

The first birthday, the first holiday, the first anniversary without the person you lost—these ‘firsts’ can be unexpectedly challenging. They may sneak up on you, and suddenly, a day that was once joyful now feels hollow.

Preparing yourself for these moments can help, but remember, it’s okay if these days are hard. It’s okay to celebrate, to mourn, or to do a bit of both.

5. Healing Doesn’t Mean Forgetting

Many believe that moving on from grief means forgetting about the person lost, but this is far from the truth. Healing means finding a way to keep your loved one’s memory alive while continuing to live your life.

This could mean honoring their memory by continuing a favorite hobby or tradition, talking openly about them, or creating a meaningful memorial.

No matter how you choose to remember the person you lost, it’s important to know that your grief doesn’t have to be forgotten to heal. Yes, grief can be difficult and unpredictable but with understanding and support, you can move forward without leaving them behind, cherishing the love and memories while accepting the loss.

Wrapping up

I want to remind you that grief is not a test of endurance, nor is it a race to ‘normalcy.’ It’s a deeply personal journey, and it’s okay to take it at your own pace. You are stronger than you think, and it’s okay to ask for help. The pain might not ever disappear entirely, but with time and support, it becomes bearable. You are not alone in this journey.

It’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to hurt, and it’s okay to heal.