One of the nicest compliments I have ever received was told me second hand. A funeral director, whose firm sends ourContinuing Care Series to the families they serve, told of a rather large and gruff man whose wife had died. The funeral director hesitated before sending the books thinking someone like this guy might not be responsive or even appreciative. A few months after sending the books, the man stopped the funeral director in a grocery store and said, “Thanks for those books, you know the guy who wrote them doesn’t think I’m crazy. He thinks I’m normal.”
Grief happens inside us. That is one of the more difficult things about it. It effects our emotions, our thoughts, our reactions, and even impacts our physical well being. Inside means it is hidden. The thoughts and feelings don’t show, so no one knows what is really going on inside of us. The thoughts are hidden, so we don’t know what is going on inside of others as well. The result is; no one knows what is normal.
What am I suppose to feel? How long am I suppose to feel this way? Am I going crazy? Have I lost my bearings or my morals? Am I the only one? I could go on, but I would never be able to give enough examples to fit the thoughts and fears whirling in the heads and hearts of those in grief.
This means there is no way to do clinical studies about grief. Surveys ask the wrong questions and get the wrong answers. There are no studies that fit everyone in grief. There are none that fit anyone exactly. Neither I nor others who write on this site claim to be experts or authorities in grief. My blogs and articles simply come from my observations after thirty years of walking with people through their grief, or from experiencing grief myself.
I often say, we need to avoid the Feel Bad Because We Feel Bad Syndrome. We have a thought or feeling and think, “I should not feel or think like that.” Then we think, “There is something wrong with me or I wouldn’t think like that, therefore, there is something wrong with me.”
There is even a Feel Bad Because we Don’t Feel Bad Syndrome. Sometimes grief is delayedor for some reason does not hit as hard as expected and we are left wondering if we loved the person as much as we should have or thought we did, No one tells us these feelings are normal so the tendency is to decide there is something wrong with us.
The feelings we worry about can be in areas we are not comfortable sharing with anyone so we keep them inside to fester and grow more intense. We are all lonely until someone understands us, but no one can understand us until we dare to share. If you need a place to share, feel free to email me or post a comment here.
Copyright Doug Manning of In-Sight Books, Inc. Doug’s books, CDs and DVDs are available at www.insightbooks.com. Post originally published on Doug’s Blog at The Care Community www.thecarecommunity.com.
Updated: July 31, 2015