Ten Tall Tales of Grief & Loss
It's bound to happen - either right after a loss, at a funeral or in the coming days and months. Someone, maybe close to you or maybe a stranger, will try and say something to make you feel better. They mean well - we all feel compelled to SAY or DO or HELP somehow - and yet, when the words tumble out, it is not only NOT helpful, but can be incredibly painful.
For the most part, people do not mean to be cruel (although I have heard of some truly awful things being said to family members under certain circumstances). But our culture does not teach us anything more kind or supportive. But in that moment of shock or sadness right after one of these comments, we may not know what is useful, how to feel or how to respond.
So I have created my Ten Tall Tales of Grief & Loss, highlighting what I feel are some of the most pervasive and most damaging comments out there. There are some authors who list over 30 of these myths - but I believe that is too much for a griever to process in a shut down state.
Each one of the Tales has its own Blog post here, which will have more in depth information on how to respond and what to take seriously. Granted, these are based on my opinion, but also my experience of over 30 major losses, 25+ years on my own healing journey and my decade of experience as a healer.
The Ten Tall Tales are as follows:
Waiting does not Magically Help – it can actually make your pain worse!
There is no Timeline for healing.
Taking Action is what shifts you into Healing and Integration.
Even if you have had the same loss, you do not know my pain because you are not Me.
Every loss is completely personal and individual, and must be honored that way.
These are actually misleading – and not designed for Grievers at all.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, their author, said they were meant for a different audience, grieving is not linear, and that there is no fixed End Point.
Grief Healing is more like a Wave.
This will give you something to DO – but it is an illusion and will not heal anything.
It simply pushes aside your emotional needs, pain and truth, and postpones the work you have to do.
The pain will still be there…start your healing work as soon as possible.
Feeling alone after a loss can be greatly magnified by isolation.
Human contact, support and friends are so very important.
Finding a supportive community and taking Active Steps to Heal is what will open your heart again.
You can get married again, have another child, get another dog…..
This not only does nothing to make you feel less pain, but devalues the loved one you have just lost, as if they were a spare tire you can just swap out.
Used especially where pets are concerned – but one’s lifelong companions are not trading cards or disposable commodities. They are God’s creatures and members of the family. Honor their loss as you would any loved one.
Plenty of people will have lots of opinions about what you Should or Should Not do – about disconnecting life support, putting a pet to sleep, the funeral, the will, a memorial and so much more.
This also includes Folks who try and de-legitimize your pain, implying that you should not be sad because your loved one’s pain is over and they no longer suffer. You will feel the pain of the loss nonetheless.
These are layers of guilt and shame that you do not need. Keep people around you who will help you make decisions and support you, not criticize and judge you.
These last three are connected and extremely important:
Oh, no, there is plenty one can do to heal! People stay stuck in their pain and their suffering because they have been taught that they are helpless, and because no one can give them tools that work.
But Healing IS Doable – I know, I’ve done it and continue to do it – and many others have, too.
This implies that someday, you will forget your loved who passed, which of course, you will never do.
This can be very dismissive of your loved one’s life and also your emotional pain, usually saying, “you JUST need to get past this,” or worse, “haven’t you gotten over that yet?”
This implies there is an End Point, which is not realistic – it is about getting accustomed to your loss and communicating the Unsaid Things, about honoring your loved one and learning to move forward.
This is SO important – LOSS CHANGES YOU – cannot possibly go back to the way things were. Something has fundamentally shifted in your Life.
Your Normal just MOVED – and one has to adjust, learn, heal and keep going.
It is about building a New Normal, based on this new reality. And yes, you CAN – I’m here to show you how.
These all fit into slightly different categories, as to whether they are usually used right after a loss or in the following months. But what they all have in common is that they don't move you forward and can actually keep you stuck, spinning your wheels and staying heartbroken.
Click on each Tall Tale above - each one has its own post with much more detail, empowering ideas and Tools that WORK to shift you out of neutral and into your Life again.
I hope you find my Truths and Tools of use on your healing journey.