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6 Myths About Grieving

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6 Myths About Grieving

By Candace Rotolo, AgingCare.com

Eleven years ago, Beth Marshall got the call no one ever wants to receive. The one telling her that her mother had died.

“It was the most shocking day of my life,” Marshall recalls. A devout Christian, she turned to her faith to get through the heartache. “I thought it wouldn’t be so difficult because I had such a strong faith. I thought I could pray it away.”

That was just one of the many myths Marshall realized during her journey of grief.

During more than 20 years as a bereavement counselor, Louise Kenny, LCSW has recognized six common myths about grieving.

Words of Comfort: What to Say When Someone is Dying

Myth 1: Grief has a timeline

Kenny, who counsels dying patients and their families at Avow Hospice in Naples, Florida, believes this is one of the most common misconceptions. She often hears clients say (or be told by others), ‘It’s been six months or 12 months – you should be over this.’ The truth is, there is no time line. “The grief process is a personal experience and influenced by so many factors,” adds Kenny. “There’s no set timeline to be done with it.”

“People think you should snap out of it,” says Marshall of the grieving process. She admits that more than a decade after her loss, she still cries when she hears a song on the radio that reminds her of her mother. “It doesn’t mean you haven’t gotten better. It means you’ve gotten through the season, and it’s part of the process. You can’t check grief off like a scorecard.”

Related:

6 Common Hospice Care Myths
Breaking the News that a  Loved One is Going on Hospice Care
As End of Life Signs Approach, Is the Hospital the Right Choice?

6 Myths About Grieving originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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127 comments

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11:09PM PST on Feb 11, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

2:04PM PDT on Sep 6, 2013

There is no truth to # 5. I find each time, you DO go through this. Albeit, some may experience it differently than others.

4:42AM PDT on May 7, 2013

Thanks

4:02PM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

This is very helpful, because it needs to be shouted out loud that you don't 'get over it' in a standard timeframe. People who think they can shut out the emotions they are most afraid of, unwittingly shut out the good ones as well.... You can't know happiness but not grief! We are not made that way!

I think that some people don't want to have to remember to treat you differently. They want you to look OK. You need to get away from them,- if you can - and find yourself friends who understand better. I could write a lot more, but it's bed time and I'm pretty tired.

9:36AM PST on Dec 7, 2012

Thanks for posting, I re-shared this!

2:53AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Excellent article.

6:11AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

I think it's largely because of this (and the death of my cat who was one of my best friends, last year) that I completely support the right of terminally ill people to choose euthanasia for themself if they so desire (and given that they are in a clear enough frame of mind to be able to choose). Sometimes the kindest thing to do for someone is to allow them to end their own suffering.

6:00AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

I lost my grandfather four years ago, to emphysema, he died slowly and in great pain and suffering. He had always been a strong independent man, who was as tough as boots and to see him reduced to someone who couldn't even sit up and eat unaided, and who said he wanted to just die was heartbreaking. When I saw him in hospital a week before he died, my mum and I felt complete despair and said to each other that we just wanted nature to hurry up and for him to die, because we wanted his suffering to be over. To me he was already dead at that point, he wasn't living, he was just "existing". For months after his death, I felt hugely guilty for the immense sense of relief I felt when he finally did die, because I knew then that he wasn't suffering anymore, but believed that feeling that way, wanting someone I loved to die, made me a terrible person. I think what people need to realise, is that when someone you love is suffering greatly and is in pain, and you cannot do anything more to save them, it is ok to feel relief on their death, it is ok to want them to die quickly, and you should not have to feel guilty about feeling that way, because it means you have their best interests at heart.

8:22PM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

when my dad 5 yrs ago i still aint over it. never will be cos hes just not here anymore. I will never get over it. I never had counselling and i think i needed it i wasnt offered it here in the uk.

3:00PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

I wish more people would understand this--especially the timeline part--it makes me sick how insensitive people are. Losing a parent is something you should eventually expect, but I haven't yet....I lost the love of my life this year and he was only 27 years old, nearly everyone abandoned me, and it is still extraordinarily painful--I can't yet even handle looking at pictures of us. Everything changes and it can never be the same again, and it's even more difficult when loved ones abandon you because they can't handle your grief.

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