Dismantling Three Grief Myths
We are continually awed by the wisdom of each grieving child, teen, and adult who walks through our doors. One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned from them is how painful expectations can be for those in grief. At The Dougy Center, we work to create a safe place for people to chart their way through grief, free from the opinions of others. Many people initially contact us because they fear that they or their children aren’t grieving the right way. They worry their thoughts, feelings, and actions aren’t aligned with what they’ve read or heard from others about how people should grieve. In listening to these families describe their concerns, we’ve identified three common myths about grief that create pressure for those dealing with a loss to think, behave, or feel a certain way.
Spring doesn’t always mean relief, especially for those in grief
Spring and early summer in the Pacific Northwest bring splashes of vibrant color, warming temperatures, and the promise of sunshine. The collective spark of giddiness spreads, as the parks, gardens, and restaurant patios fill with people shaking off winter’s hibernation. After months of darker days with less activity and interaction, spring can feel like a swirling hive of high energy enthusiasm.
Grieving the Death of a Best Friend as a Teen
A best friend knows you in a way no one else does, and when you’re a teen, this connection can be particularly unique and intense. Between school, texting, and social media, teens are in constant touch with their closest friends. In a time when teens are in the midst of figuring out who they are and aren’t, friends are who they talk to about their their hopes, fears, dreams, and insecurities. When a friend who knows you on such a deep level dies, it can be devastating. For many teens, it might be their first experience with grieving someone who is part of their day to day life. Because they aren’t officially family, teens can feel left out of the rituals and routines surrounding the death. They often don’t receive the same support and care from others who tend to focus on the immediate family.
New Year’s Intentions & Grief
As 2016 comes to a close, articles and advertisements about ringing in the New Year are sure to include suggestions for making and sticking with resolutions. Resolutions can be concrete - exercise three times a week - or abstract - be more compassionate and patient. Unfortunately, many resolutions become just another reason to judge ourselves as not good enough. Sound familiar?
Grief lends itself to a similar set-up. Kids of all ages, along with adults, often worry they aren’t grieving the right way. They fear crying too much or not enough. They give themselves a hard time for thinking about the person all the time, but then feel guilty if they think about anything else. It can become a perpetual self-blame scenario, leaving those in grief convinced they don’t measure up. With that tendency in mind, we offer the idea of shifting away from resolutions to setting intentions related to grief, with lots of permission to change your mind and rework those intentions as the year unfolds.