Hello there and greetings to all who read this article. I hope and pray that everyone is doing well. That is indeed my hope for you. This article was going to be about another topic; instead, it’s about grief and grief-shaming. Grief is a delicate state of being of the mind and heart.
When I say I truly hope you are doing well, I mean that in the most genuine heartfelt way. I want to make it a point to normalize concern for other human beings’ internal wellness.
On February 19, 2021, instantly, upon hearing words that no one wants to hear about their loved one, I experienced a feeling that I’d never felt before.
A feeling I know that many around the world have felt and can relate to. I was suddenly struck with a vast amount of emptiness and deep, uncontrollable sadness as I learned that my grandmother was coming to the end of her precious life. This feeling within was not just for me; a part is for her. The grief I felt for her was that she was such a happy person and enjoyed her life. It made her feel good to give things to anyone she knew because that filled her up and allowed her to do her part. She always thanked me for caring for her daughter, and I wanted her to know how much I thank her.
I am grateful for her living her life to the point of my existence. To meet and know her, to be filled up and prepared by her for this world. I reflect on her telling me how to naturally care for myself and my family spiritually and physically through the earth’s use.
“Just get you some seeds and sprinkle them out there, and they’ll grow.”Susie Mae Barnes
The Grieving Process
I wholeheartedly understand what someone may feel when they’re grieving. I’ve found myself doing my best to remember everything good about granny and what she left with me and in me. Imagining her smile after spending a moment in tears helps me to smile. Doing this helps me to lean towards healing while hanging on to the hope of seeing her again. Now I am fully aware of what so many people share in losing a loved one.
Sometimes there may be sudden bursts of sadness and tears because you dearly miss your loved one. I can appreciate the importance of the bible’s message, “Speak consolingly to the depressed souls.” In times like that, people will need a gentle voice or listening ear. No matter for how long, you have the natural right to weep for someone dear and near. To “speak consolingly” means to talk soothingly, to cheer, to encourage, to uplift another’s spirit with gladdening assurance. Yes, to speak consolingly means to fortify the listener’s heart so that his horizon widens out.
When you share love with someone, it stirs up thoughts and emotions. That same love then causes you to move and take action towards the overall health and happiness of that person. When you fill each other up with love, you become part of a person’s makeup of how they show up in life. People hold those kinds of memories and treasures of their loved ones close to their hearts. Those memories are reflections that may be a source of healing for most people.
I needed to understand some things for myself, like what my mind and heart were and still going through. How can I cope with losing my granny? And why does anyone feel the need to apologize for grieving? I wanted to know why I was trying to suppress my feelings after just a short time. Suppression in regards to how much I may cry and for how long grief lasts.
There are random moments throughout a portion of an individual’s life that their grief will show up. Each person experiences distress in different ways, which is natural and perfectly fine. There is no time frame for being saddened by the loss of a loved one. Each person’s healing process is not the same. There are no set rules to abide by on how to feel when mourning. To me, it is a jolt to the mind and heart that puts you in a state of shock. No one knows how they will react to such a significant loss or for how long.
What is Grief-Shaming?
In those tender moments of being in their most vulnerable state is when I noticed people being grief-shamed.
Grief-shaming is when a person judges another person’s response to someone’s passing when around other people. Grief-shaming occurs when someone is rushed out of mourning and is expected to move on too quickly. People are also ignored when they’ve been down for a while after they’ve lost someone. Some even go as far as to make fun of a person or leave a person while they are grieving. I came across a picture that shows how you never know what a person carries while being scrutinized. Scrutinized for not holding up to someone’s judgmental standards of grieving.
Some people are led to questioning their own grief as I did. They are influenced to believe unkind thoughts of themselves in regards to the grieving process. Some ideas can come up such as, “That is enough crying,” to, “I have to straighten up!” To all types of wrong reasoning as to why you shouldn’t be crying or grieving anymore. And you feel the need to apologize for losing your composure. More information about grief-shaming can be found here.
Conditioned to Numb Your Feelings
The problem is, the world pushes people to numb their feelings with ideas such as you have to be tough. Ending with a lot of us creating a mindset of you’re weak if you cry. These two ideas alone cover many life circumstances and are used to stop the outward expression of heartfelt emotion (whether it’s a joyous occasion or not). Particularly when we face something that causes such great pain and sorrow, one may say things like, I should be stronger, I shouldn’t feel this way, I don’t want anyone to see me this way, or I’m sorry.
Or you’re afraid that you’ve made someone uncomfortable because of how grief affects you. Some become embarrassed to cry because you’ve been conditioned to feel embarrassed if you cry.
Also, it’s made known to you that other people are uncomfortable with your feelings. By implying how you express your sadness, it gets in the way of their happiness. Let’s keep in mind; this is about when someone needs compassion to help them heal from what’s hurting them (which is what causes them to cry). Instead, people are laughed at if they cry for whatever reason. All this conditioning happens in the environments we live and associate in. So it all gets held in.
How Feelings Work
To cry, you must feel something big on your heart, right? Feelings in your heart come from the thoughts of your mind. And the thoughts of your mind are created from what you’ve learned and your experiences in life. Eventually, those thoughts will find a way to express themselves voluntarily or involuntarily. Going through grief is very well a cause for involuntary moments of sadness or tears.
If someone intentionally makes another person feel ashamed for their grief, they can’t see anyone else as a real person.
This kind of attitude doesn’t allow a person to really feel and heal what’s going on inside. Instead, people are shamed into suppressing their feelings and tears even in the unfortunate event of losing a loved one. I noticed when you hold those big emotions in, it hurts more. Experts would agree. “Feelings denied or bottled up won’t stay bottled up forever,” says the book The Grieving Teen. “They will return when you least expect [them to] in the form of emotional flare-ups or physical ailments.” Please visit this link for more about some harmful effects of suppressing grief.
Uniquely Designed to Cry
Designed in such an excellent way, we can emotionally express ourselves through crying as humans. Shedding tears is a natural gift to relieve ourselves of either emotional distress or a feeling of joy. As mentioned above, grief is a delicate state of the mind and heart, and a response might be crying. It is a way of communication for an overwhelming feeling within. Restricting a person from naturally expressing their feelings during mourning is not to know true love or life’s meaning. More information on this can be found here.
The Importance of Genuine Love
If you have loving family and friends, stick with them. No, they may not be perfect according to false standards that we project on others and ourselves. That is where understanding comes in, in any relationship worth being in. Some days we may need our space, which is okay, but when you come back together, you feel happy.
Being around family and friends makes you feel better because we’re not made to be alone. Specifically in times of distress. You have to be around people who are going to surround you with the comfort that you need. When you pour your heart out, you’ll need genuine love to be poured back into you. Doing this may open up space for a path to peace within yourself. Our lives are not so far apart from one another as we may think. We must be careful not to let years go by without hearing someone’s voice or setting our eyes on them.
I must admit that it was very hard writing this article but well worth it. I gave myself permission to feel and heal without judgment. Remember, grief is a delicate state of being of the mind and heart. And love and support are needed to heal and cope. My hope again for anyone reading this is that you are well. Do not be ashamed of the way and how long you grieve the loss of a loved one. More about grief and hope can be found here.
Other articles you may enjoy are The Aftermath: Pressing Through the Pain to Find Healing After Trauma and When Grief Moves in and Unpacks Her Bags: How Grief Changed Me.