Books and Resources Grief Guilt Healing

Got Grief? Myths, Fallacies, and Expectations

Autumn Leaves on the Serviceberry tree

“What if we never ‘get over’ certain deaths, or our childhoods? What if the idea that we should have by now, or will, is a great palace lie? What if we’re not supposed to? What if it takes a life time…?”

Anne Lamott

“It isn’t true that you have to get over it. It isn’t even true that you have to want to. No one else can understand what you have lost. No one else can bear the burden of your tribute to a love, to a life, to an identity now gone….Something happens when you entwine your fate with someone else’s. If they go somewhere you cannot follow, part of you goes with them….

Mandy Stewards

Practical Ways to Express Grief

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”

William Shakespeare
Draw, paint, scribble, scrawl, sculpt, 3D, sketch, color
Write Letters
Play Music
Listen to music
Write music
Move to music
Play an instrument
Books on Grieving, Healing, and Hope
Search for Support Groups
Read Devotions & Scripture
Talk -Out loud, To Others, To Your Beloved
Express your feelings
Let the tears fall

Myths and Fallacies about Grieving

  • MYTH: Crying is a sign of weakness.
  • MYTH: When your faith is strong, you don’t grieve.
  • MYTH: If you are strong, you should be able to get through a devastating loss without showing emotion.
  • MYTH: You will be able to get pretty much back to normal after 2 or 3 months.
  • MYTH: Expressing intense feelings means you are losing control of yourself.
  • MYTH: Grief gets easier as you get older.
  • MYTH: Getting angry at God or asking God difficult questions means you have a weak faith.
  • MYTH: You can tell how much a person loved the one who died by how deeply and long the person grieves the loss.
  • MYTH: Losing an infant doesn’t hurt because parents didn’t have time to know the child.
  • MYTH: Resolving your grief means putting your loved one out of your mind and moving on with your life.
  • MYTH: A strong person should be able to deal with grief alone.
  • MYTH: Christians shouldn’t grieve if they know their loved one is in heaven. They should feel only joy.
  • MYTH: It’s better to deal with grief intellectually than emotionally.
  • MYTH: Only immediate family members will experience significant grief.
  • MYTH: Continuing to talk about the person who died only makes the pain last longer.
  • MYTH: Grief proceeds through predictable and orderly stages.
  • MYTH: After a loved one has died, you can never be happy again.

“Grief is difficult enough without letting yourself be pressured by unrealistic expectation or by guilt-producing misconceptions. So if you hear any of these myths, don’t believe them. They simply aren’t true.”

Kenneth C. Haugk, A Time to Grieve: Journeying through Grief

Excerpts from “5 Lies You Were Told about Grief”

The Lie: You should be over it/him/her by now.
The Truth: No one has the authority to tell you how you should feel, when you should feel it or for how long.

Do you hear me? There is no normal when it comes to grief. There is no quantifiable estimate of how much value who and what you have lost has added to your life or for how long you should be sad about that loss. You are not a machine. Numbers: days, weeks, months, years are meaningless.

Mandy Steward, 5 Lies You Were Told about Grief

The Lie: You should stop talking about him or her / Stop living in the past.
The Truth: The only people who cannot bear to hear you speak of your beloved are those who cannot accept their own mortality.

They are people who have never grieved. They either don’t know loss, or they buried themselves with their loved ones. Trust me when I tell you, they have their own mountains yet to climb.
Those who would have you silence yourself, choke on the words that you must speak, are people who do not know their own souls.

Mandy Steward, 5 Lies You Were Told about Grief

The Lie: You have to move on with your life (right now).
The Truth: This advice is an act of violence against a grieving heart.

It is a kick in the ribs while you lie hopelessly seized by despair. Whatever it is your loved one would want, it is unlikely that he or she would want an avalanche of guilt entombing you with your grief. You have enough to climb out of, enough rebuilding to do.

Mandy Steward, 5 Lies You Were Told about Grief

The Lie: You could have prevented this tragedy.
The Truth: If your loved one passed in a sudden or unexpected way, somewhere inside you is a voice asking what you might have done differently that would have changed the course of events that led to the death of your beloved lost.

The truth is that the factors that influence the course of our lives are bigger and more mysterious than what we did and did not do. To hold yourself accountable for any reason is to deny the greater context in which life happens, and that is a dangerous choice to make, because it will eat a hole in your spirit that you can never fill….

Mandy Steward, 5 Lies You Were Told about Grief

The Lie: Time heals all wounds.
The Truth: The truth is there are losses you never get over.

They break you to pieces and you can never go back to the original shape you once were, and so you will grieve your own death with that of your beloved lost.

Your grief is your love, turned inside-out. That is why it is so deep. That is why it is so consuming. When your sadness seems bottomless, it is because your love knows no bounds.

Mandy Steward, 5 Lies You Were Told about Grief

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