Clichés of Grief
Clichés of Grief By Rachel Kodanaz Some of us experience hurtful comments from friends and family as they search for ways to help ease our pain. The remarks are usually said with the best intentions but are misunderstood by the griever as insensitive.
“Time will heal.”
Initial reaction: Do we really ever heal, or does time soften the pain?
What they meant: You must feel as though the pain will never end.
“He is in a better place.”
Initial reaction: No, he isn’t. The better place is sitting next to me.
What they meant: It isn’t fair, is it?
“It is time to move on.”
Initial reaction: Move on from what?
What they meant: Take the time you need, I just miss your smile.
People are not mean spirited; they just don’t know what to say. As a griever, please try to filter out the “hurtful” gestures and interpret them as love and caring. Rachel Kodanaz is an author, speaker and coach who provides encouragement to those who are suffering a loss or setback. She is the author of Living with Loss, One Day at a Time.
Grief Coping Strategies
- Seek comfort and help from others
- Take care of yourself physically and emotionally
- Maintain connections with the deceased— visit the grave, write letters, look at photos
- Exercise, get a new pet, develop a new hobby such as coloring, cooking, hiking
“My grief is like a river, I have to let it flow, but I myself determine just where the banks will go. Some days the current takes me in waves of guilt and pain, but there are always quiet pools where I can rest again. I crash on rocks of anger; my faith seems faint indeed, but there are other swimmers who know that what I need Are loving hands to hold me when the waters are too swift, and someone kind to listen when I just seem to drift. Grief’s river is a process of relinquishing the past. By swimming in hope’s channels, I’ll reach the shore at last.” – Cinthia G. Kelley
What Can Get in the Way of the Healing Process?
Some things can impede or slow down the healing process following a death or loss. They include:
- Avoiding emotions
- Compulsive behaviors
- Minimizing feelings
- Overworking on the job
- Misusing drugs, alcohol, or other substances as a way to deal with emotional discomfort