Grief

The Definition of Grief

Simply defined, grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind.  While we never compare losses, any list would include death and divorce as obvious painful losses.  Our list may also include many others:  retirement, moving, pet loss, financial and health issues to mention a few.

The range of emotions associated with grief are as varied as there are people and personalities.  There is no list of feelings that would adequately describe one person’s emotions much less those of an entire society.

Grief is individual and unique.  As every relationship is unique, so are the feeling and thoughts each person will have about the relationship that has been altered by death, divorce, or other reasons.

The Problem of Grief

While grief is normal and natural, most of the information passed on within our society about dealing with grief is not normal, natural, or helpful.  Grief is the emotional response to loss but most of the information we have learned about dealing with loss is intellectual.

The majority of incorrect ideas about dealing with loss can be summed up in six myths which are so common that nearly everyone recognizes them.  Most people have never questioned whether or not they are valid.

The Six Myths of Grief

  • Time Heals All Wounds
  • Grieve Alone
  • Be Strong
  • Don’t Feel Bad
  • Replace the Loss
  • Keep Busy
Just looking at the myth that “time heals” creates the idea that a person just has to wait and they will feel better.  We have known people who waited 10, 20, 30, and 40 years, and still didn’t feel better. They would tell you that not only had time not healed them, but that it had compounded the pain.

The Solution to Grief

Recovery from loss is accomplished by discovering and completing all of the undelivered communications that accrue in relationships.  We are all advised to “let go” and “move on” after losses of all kinds.  Most of us would do that if we knew how!
Completion of pain caused by loss is what allows us to let go and move on.  It is almost impossible to move on without first taking a series of actions that lead to completion.