When Someone Dies and People Tell You How to Grieve

The last few years have been overwhelmed with losses. Personally I have seen the death of two grandparents, a godparent  and a life-long friend. Several friends have also experienced a multitude of losses in their families and circles. It seems to have come in multiples just now, in a way we haven’t expected, in a way that seems unusual. Maybe that’s part of growing up.

Loss is never easy but there are times that special circumstance make the ending of life especially difficult: estrangement, divorce, widowing, the loss of children.

For some reason I can’t put my finger on just yet, I found myself having conversations with others about who gets to grieve and how.

No, you read that correctly: I’ve had conversations with loss-connectors who feel they get to decide things like:

-how you act when in grief

-if someone deserves to be sad

-how deep others are allowed to grieve

-if one has a “right” to grieve the loss

-if someone was close enough to the deceased to feel a level of grief or loss, or grieve for a length of time

-how long someone gets to be sad based on qualifications they’ve determined for them

Let me be clear: I think this is crazy. My response every time seems so damn obvious to me; there are no rules in dealing with death. There are no prepackaged grief deals we can unpack and offer others. Grief is felt differently and dealt with differently in every heart.

There are no rules to grief.

It is incredibly narcissistic to tell someone how to grieve and how long they are allowed to do so.

If you’re someone who is about that, just move on. We aren’t going to agree. But if you’re someone who has been told how to grieve or how long or whether you’re worth of grief, know that I am sorry. I am praying for you now. Grief IS an act of love. Keep loving, keep feeling, keep being real.

You’ll never be same, no. But allow the grief to grow you. Beautiful you.

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