Heartbreak

Why You Need To Stop Letting Others Tell You How To Grieve

Photo: Olena Yakobchuk / shutterstock
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By Christina Donati

Here’s the thing about grief: You experience a death or significant loss, and people just expect you to get over it and get back to your normal routine.

It’s as if society has created these rules where you are only allowed to feel sad about losing someone for a short period of time before you have to pretend like everything’s okay and move on.

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This outlook is so wrong. The truth is, everyone experiences things differently.

Although it isn’t natural to spend years grieving and not living your normal life, I also don’t think it is natural to try and get back to things after just one week.

The issue is that a lot of people don’t actually come to terms with a significant loss. We think we deal with it by saying goodbye and attending a funeral, but has it truly hit us that the person that we cherish is gone forever?

It feels as though we live in a lie where we believe that the person we lost is just temporarily gone, so the loss doesn’t hit us completely.

However, in those small moments where we begin to actually come to terms with the fact that someone is gone, we have a silent moment where we shed a few tears and let it actually hit us.

This is good; you need to let it hit you.

But I think we are so scared of letting it hit us fully, so we have a short cry and then carry on as if nothing happened. This is okay too because it may be how you experience your significant loss.

When my grandfather passed away, I didn’t believe he was truly gone.

I believed that he was only away temporarily, that he would soon come back, and that when I came home from school for the weekend, he would still be sitting there waiting for me like he always did.

Because of this, I realized that I wasn’t accepting his death. His death had not yet hit me. However, this was my way of dealing with the situation at the time.

RELATED: Most People Don’t Understand What Grief Actually Feels Like

My way of handling my loss was by letting fragments of realization enter my consciousness a little bit at a time, so every day I would break down a little bit, and then pull myself back together.

Eventually, I thought about his death enough times that I realized how real it all was, but this is okay because this was my way of handling it and it was what worked for me.

Everyone deals with loss differently, and we need to remember that, especially when it comes to dealing with loved ones.

Because of how I handled my loss, it took me way longer than a week to feel better, but If you want to grieve right away, then grieve. Allow your emotions to consume you completely.

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Cry for hours, ponder all the things you wish you had done, but also the things that you got to do, write it out in poetry or diary form and, most importantly, let yourself feel all that you want to feel about the loss you are experiencing.

We need to allow ourselves to do this more often.

The truth is, there is no right way to experience grief. People will tell you there are certain steps you will take, but this isn’t true for everyone.

As I said earlier, everyone experiences things differently, so if you feel as though you are grieving differently than someone else you know, it is okay.

Whether you grieve in parts like me or feel it all at once right away, it is okay, just know how to work with your emotions.

Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve because it was your loss, not theirs.

RELATED: 3 Steps To Mourn The Death Of A Loved One Who Hurt You

Christina Donati is a writer whose work has been featured on Thought Catalog, Diply, Narcity, MTL Blog, and Unwritten. For more of her content, visit her author profile on Unwritten.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.