Myths of Grief - Part 1
By Sandy Clendenen
Since grief is a difficult topic for most people, there
is a tendency to descend into myths about the subject of
grief. These myths have often been passed down from
generation to generation. These myths or paradigms
easily become the accepted truth of our lives that we
accept without questioning.
In this series of articles I will be discussing a number
of myths which are prevalent in our culture. These myths
have a lasting impact on the lives of grievers and those
who are watching others grieve.
The purpose of these articles is to bring these myths to
the surface of consciousness in order that they can be
seen and evaluated from a place of awareness rather than
simply accepted as the norm. Through these articles a
number of myths will be dispelled. You will then be able
to make clearer decisions about your own grief process
from a place of honesty. Myths cloud the truth and
create inner confusion and frustration.
The first myth we will explore is a very common response
expressed to many grievers; namely,"...it just takes
time to get over grief."
If you are presently grieving you may have heard this or
you may have expected to hear this from others. It may
be a sentiment you have shared with others you know who
Simply because this is a common response does not mean
it is helpful or true. Take a moment to close your eyes
and really focus on the words and the meaning of the
phrase. "It just takes time..." How do you feel when you
really allow yourself to experience the meaning of these
You may experience inner conflict or confusion when you
hear these words. You may begin to wonder how much time
is enough time to grieve. You may feel compelled to ask
others how long they grieved their loss. You may feel
resigned to the fact that grief is something that must
take a specific number of years to move through.
I believe one reason this myth is so prevalent is
because it is so very difficult to watch someone who is
grieving. There can be a deep feeling of helplessness
watching grief as well as personally grieving.
Projecting the grief out into an extended time frame
somehow gives those grieving and those watching the
grief a way to justify the pain of grief.
If grief just takes time, then all concerned can just
resign themselves to an extended time frame. It's like
if you break your leg and the doctor gives you a
specific time frame for the bones to heal. Most people
simply accept what they are told.
With grief, time is not the healer. Grief is not about
time. Grief is about a hurting heart. And that hurting
heart longs simply to be acknowledged, with no time
expectation or limits.
If time were the healer of grief then those losses from
may years ago would not still be impacting our lives
today. If time were the healer then we would not find
ourselves so easily drawn back to our past losses when
we witness or experience a new loss.
Time is not the healer of grief. Awareness and honesty
are the first steps to healing grief.