- Why can’t my family and friends understand?
- How can people say those things?
- Why do others seem to be doing so much better than I am?
These are just some of the questions you may be asking yourself, dealing with traumatic grief. It’s difficult to understand why others, even in your own household, with the same loss – act, feel and try to heal so differently.
Be tolerant, give them space and expect the same from them. There are no rights or wrongs here, assuming no one is interfering with each other.
Different approaches occur because we are unique individuals and we had a unique relationship with the loved one we lost.
- Did you lose a child, grandchild, sibling or other loved one?
- Do you have a parent’s, grandparent’s or sibling’s viewpoint?
- Were you responsible for the loved one’s well-being or not?
- Were you dependent on the deceased in any way?
- Are you part of the immediate or extended family – or a close friend?
- Are you male or female? (gender often affects our approach)
- Are you younger or older than the deceased?
- is your personality introverted or extroverted?
- Are you a private or public person?
- Do you tend to be a pessimist or an optimist?
- How do you handle stress in general and stress related to grief?
- What was the cause of death? (can impact reactions)
- Were you involved or do you blame yourself?
- Have you forgiven yourself, the deceased or whomever is involved?
The toughest part may be tolerating how others grieve around you, especially if they live in the same house. My ex-husband, my younger son and I all handled our grief over the loss of our older son – very differently. I was a ‘DO-er”, they were more introspective. In hindsight, I tried to push them to ‘participate’ more with me, but that wasn’t right for them. We also worried about our younger son when he was away at college – it was tough on him. But eventually, we all handled our grief in our own way, on our own schedule.
We can offer help or suggestions, but remember to respect others’ rights, preferences and privacy. Talk it out and acknowledge the differences, but expect that you will each heal in your own way.
On the flip side, don’t expect others to understand your unique approach, especially if they are not in the same household. Often, when working with the bereaved families in my support chapter, I hear that people say things to them like “Aren’t you over that yet?”. Wow! No clue – just breathe and let it go. They’ve not had the same experience as you and they don’t get it – don’t expect them to, and try not to be angry at them.
For the same unique reasons, some people handle grief better and more quickly than others. It might be their support system, their spiritual beliefs, their outlook on life, the circumstances, how hard they work at it — or any number of things. The best thing you can do is acknowledge that you are doing the best you can, be good to yourself and be open to ideas that might help you.
I can help you explore those if you’d like, contact me through a comment on this blog or by the information below. I’d love to share what I learned and help you find hope and happiness again, like I have been able to do.
Supporting the journey to HOPE…
Wishing you healing,
PS Please consider forwarding this information to someone you know that may need it, thank you.