Common Misconceptions

Grieving should not last longer than six months.
There is no timeline for grief. Again, grief reactions vary in intensity. They can be triggered or worsened by anniversaries and holidays. If someone’s grief is severely interfering with daily functioning, it could be a sign of complicated grief, and a healthcare provider should be consulted.

Only weak individuals grieve.
Everyone grieves. After a loss, feelings are unpredictable. They can range from sadness to fear to loneliness to anger. Hiding emotions during grief is not helpful. Processing feelings is extremely important to heal and recover from grief and loss.

Not crying following a loss means you are not experiencing grief.
Lack of crying or sadness following a death does not mean someone is not grieving. Many people are in a state of shock or numbness following a death and aren’t able to cry. Others may cry privately. Some who come to terms with the death quickly do not appear as affected by the death compared to others who show more outward signs of grief.

We slowly and predictably recover from grief.
Grief is an uneven process, best thought of as a roller coaster with no timeline. It doesn’t have a specific ending point, and recovering does not mean “letting go”; rather, over time most people learn to live with the loss.

People who are grieving need to be left alone.
Social support is extremely important for people who are grieving, for a period long after the loss. People who are grieving need opportunities to share their memories, talk about their loved one and their loss, and receive support from others.

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