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All about grief and myths about grief

Updated on March 27, 2011

Life is often quite unpredictable. It is not always possible to figure out exactly what will happen or how things will turn out. Perhaps the biggest blow kids have to deal with in their growing years is the loss of loved one. It may be a pet, a friend, family member or some acquaintance the child is close to and at a young age understanding concepts like death and letting go can be difficult. In order to cope with grief, it is important to first understand the process.

Grieving is a very personal and individual expression of loss. The more important the lost person or object is, the greater the grief experienced. There are in addition a number of co-factors that will influence how a child or adult copes with grief. This will depend on the individual personality,  the interests and habits of the child, the coping styles adopted and more. While talking about grief in a scientific manner may seem absurd, it can help someone to disconnect themselves from the emotion on some levels.

When I lost my grandmother, I did not really cry or stop living life. I found that on some days I would be very moody, on some days very irritable. I would spend hours alone and sometimes the tears would just come. Sometimes I would snap for no reason at someone or something or just want to be alone.

 It made me realize something, that grief is something that cannot be controlled or locked away. That it will resurface and it will need to be resolved before moving on. You cannot choose to be happy when you are hurting inside and the pain is overwhelming your senses by not allowing you to focus or do what you should without having sorted those feelings out.

There are some common myths that get in the way of coping with loss:

People think crying is the only way to resolve the pain.

 Crying is definitely one way and a good one at that but sometimes the emotions associated may also be anger or frustration at things left unsaid or undone. In such cases, crying will definitely not be the answer. You will need to be honest with yourself about how you feel about something, which is the first step towards coping with the situation.

Being strong in the face of loss is manly

This is a cultural concept that has made it virtually impossible for men to express how they feel. There is automatically a belief that men who cry are weak and that they have to protect the rest of the family by not expressing their true feelings.  This is not true, expressing your feelings and sharing your grief will make it far lighter.

Grief should last a certain time line

This is another myth that people often find themselves conforming to, that grief has to last a certain number of months, sometimes years. Each person’s ability to let go of the past is different and the sooner someone gets back to being themselves and being happy, the better it is for everyone concerned.


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