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Typical Myths about Grief and Mourning

Typical Myths about Grief and Mourning

You Just Need to Get Better

The standard bereavement leave policy at many companies is three days. Does that mean that in three days we are expected to be back to business as usual? Our culture views grief the way we view the flu: That it’s something we can completely recover from, and that if we take a few days off--maybe take some medication for our “nerves”--we should be cured in no time.

We All Grieve in Pretty Much the Same Way

Not true. There is tremendous variation in style of grieving (instrumental versus expressive), cultural variations in grieving, and variations in length and intensity of grieving. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

It takes About a Year to "Get Over" a Significant Loss

A survivor whose loved one died after a long history of Alzheimer’s disease may have a relatively short grief response after the death. He or she may have grieved the loss of the loved one’s personality years before. A parent whose child died years ago may feel they have never gotten over the loss. Generally, it is thought that intense grieving lasts from three months to a year and that some people continue experiencing grief for two years or more.

It’s Better Not to Think or Talk About the Pain

On the contrary, it has been proven that avoiding the pain associated with grief can have negative consequences, including physical problems, anxiety and depression. Those who are grieving need to honor the amount of time they need to grieve, and not try to live up to their own internal expectations or outside pressure.

The Intensity and Length of Your Grief Reflects How Much You Loved the Deceased

This just isn't the case. There is no grieving contest and no winner. You must feel what you feel and begin to live life when you are ready, on your own timetable. Your grief has no bearing on another’s, or on the depth of your feelings for the person who has died.