Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Your Right to Grief

As you may imagine, as a working Medium I spend a fair amount of my time helping people to come to terms with grief.  Part of that work is obviously seeking to bring through their loved one, friend or pet from the Spirit World, but the other part is purely practical - helping them to cope with their feelings.

Having lost a few people (to put it mildly) and a few pets myself I know how weird grief is, and that there are no rules.  Losing my grandfather felt nothing like losing my grandmother 30 years later, and nothing like losing my father 12 years after that.  All four of my cats left behind a completely unique experience of missing them, and every other pet and person I've lost has been mourned in their own individual way.

This is why people telling other people how to grieve, what to do, what do say, how to behave and when to be 'over it' and 'getting on with life' annoys the heck out of me.  I hate it.

Like all the major events of life humans are not trained to deal with grief and no one has a clue how their grief will hit them, what feelings and emotions it will raise, and how they will react at any given second.  People think they're doing well and getting over it, then a small thing happens and they're bounced right back to the hurting part of the programme again.

The worst problems occur when the families and friends of a lost loved one get together, because far from drawing people together grief can create barriers that feel insurmountable, particular because there can be a lot of anger around death.

One of the things I wish never to hear said but is said only too often is "it's worse for me because..." or "it's worse for them because...".  If someone loses their life partner then of course that someone is experiencing something unique to them, but that doesn't invalidate anyone else's grief or their reaction to that grief.

Sometimes partners who have shared a lifetime of love cope better than friends who have relied on having that person in their life, because the lifetime of love carries that partner through whereas the friend has lost a special and valued confident.  It doesn't mean that person a) is hurting more or less than person b), or that they have a right to hurt more or less.  There is no sliding scale of grief.

All it means is that individuals mourn individuals in individual ways.  Repetition is deliberate!

So if you're going through grief and finding that people are telling you what to do, what to say, how to say it, how to behave and when to be 'over it'.  Just gently tell those people that you are way outside your comfort zone and knowledge base and are coping as best you can.

If you find things too difficult then it may be necessary to put some distance between you and them for a while, but don't whatever you do react with anger and finality.  Just make yourself unavailable in person, keep in touch by phone, and make excuses to get off the line quickly if the going gets tough.

There are so many different and competing emotions around it's better not to react for at least a year if you can possibly avoid it.  Don't lose the people you love and care about just because you can't cope with the way they're grieving.

I hope this helps a bit.

Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights, and years before you need this advice.

Deb xx

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