When a friend or family member passes away, you are immediately faced with the task of grieving. Everyone grieves in their own personal way — there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and that’s why it’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to certain beliefs and misconceptions. The sooner you can understand more about grief, the more prepared you can be to handle your own grief, and to support your friends and loved ones who may also be grieving.
Grief myth #1: Grief should last no longer than three weeks
The length of the grieving period is different for each individual. For many who lose a loved one, grief can last a lifetime; therefore, it is often wise for some to view grief as a life process as opposed to a phase they must get past or hurry through. Movies and television shows often depict grief as the time period a person goes through before the officially “move on,” but in reality, grief can stick around for a lifetime. A person may have accepted the death of a loved one and have moved on in the sense that they have resumed normal activities, but they may still be grieving, which is perfectly healthy.
Grief myth #2: Dwelling on death is unhealthy
When a loved one passes, some will advise you to keep busy so that you don’t have to dwell on or think about their passing. However, this advice can be damaging, since grief is often encouraged to be expressed openly. Grief is a personal experience that affects everyone differently, and it’s important for those who grieve to feel comfortable crying, hugging, telling stories, and comforting one another.
Grief myth #3: Always shield children from death
Children who are shielded from death may experience difficulty with accepting and finding comfort after the death of a loved one. Additionally, children who are shielded from death may come to their own conclusions about death using their vivid imaginations. Instead of shielding children from death, adults can openly discuss death with children using the types of words and phrases the children are most likely to easily comprehend. When speaking to children about death and grief, avoid using certain phrases that could trigger confusion, such as telling them their loved one “went on vacation” or became “lost.” Instead, be as kind and gentle as possible when speaking to children about death and dying, and answer all their questions honestly to the best of your ability without causing confusion.
Grief myth #4: You should take antidepressants if you have trouble grieving
Many individuals resort to telling their grieving friends and family members that they need to go on antidepressants to help them better cope with grief. However, antidepressants should not be regarded as the initial go-to solution for depression and grief. If you feel as if your struggle with grief is disrupting your lifestyle, the first step you should take is to see a physician for a check-up. Your doctor may have the ability to properly evaluate whether grief is the sole contributor to depression, and can determine whether other health factors are contributing to depression, such as excess alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, and overall poor nutrition. Your doctor may also be able to recommend that you attend therapy and support groups to help you cope with your grief.
Helping others cope with grief
If you have found yourself in the role of supporter, and are helping someone deal with or overcome their grief, remember that the best thing you can say is “I am sorry.” Don’t offer to help or be available for someone unless you are 100 percent sure you can follow through with your offer. Throughout your loved one’s grieving process, be sure to do things that show them you remember and care about them, such as giving them a call, visiting them, or devoting your quality time. Keep in mind that grief is not a disease, but a healthy, natural way to cope with the passing of someone you cared about.
Family-owned and operated, Heartland Cremation believes that family comes first, and is dedicated to working with you to ensure your loved one receives the honorable service they deserve. Please contact Heartland Cremation for more information about funeral and cremation services in the greater Kansas City area.