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Each person grieves differently

Each person grieves differently

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2008 8:44 am
By: By Don Harold Lawrence

Several years ago, while I was having a grief consultation with a young woman whose brother had died suddenly and unexpectedly, she told me that her grandmother was angry because not everyone grieved the same way she did. She said her grandmother expected all of the members of the family to grieve in the same way she grieved.  A few days later, she brought her grandmother to see me for grief consultation, and this gave us an opportunity to discuss the phenomenon of grief, the various experiences of loss she had experienced throughout her life, how she had processed her grief and also the fact that each person grieves differently. A few days later, the grandmother telephoned me and said she now realized each person must grieve in his or her own particular way. After making this discovery, she began to work through her own grief. If we try to grieve in a way someone else expects, our grieving is not genuine; it is unnatural and artificial. One’s attempt to grieve in an unnatural way that is not right for them can be disastrous to one’s well-being. No one can dictate how another person experiences and expresses grief. There is no “one-size-fits-all” formula for the resolution of grief. No two people grieve in exactly the same way. Each grief experience is unique because each person is unique. Each person has walked a different path and has experienced life differently from any other person. Just as each person’s fingerprints and temperament are unique, so is their response and reaction to loss. Death evokes a different grief response from each person who knew the deceased because each shared a unique relationship with him or her. To one person the deceased was a spouse, while to another that person was a son or daughter. To another he or she was a lifelong friend, while to another he or she was a respected colleague. One of the clues to grief recovery lies in an awareness of this uniqueness of each person and each grief experience, for, as one recognizes and appreciates this uniqueness, they are then able to create their own personal plan for recovery which results in understanding, coping, acceptance, adjustment and rebuilding their shattered life. ——— Don Harold Lawrence is coordinator of SUNRISE, which is sponsored by Shackelford Corporation. He may be contacted by mail at 145 Abernathy Drive, Adamsville, TN 38310-3001 or by telephone or fax at (731) 632-4483. His Web address is www.shackelfordfuneraldirectors.com. Published in The Messenger 11.20.08

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