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Grief is a phenomenon that needs serious understanding, but is not so well studied. In the book "Grief and Loss", Katherine Walsh-Burke describes five common misconceptions about grief:
1) "Time heals all wounds."
The loss of our loved ones can be a tragic experience, leading to grief. The most "difficult period is often three months onwards after the death when the bereaved person will still feel an acute sense of grief" (Lendrum & Syme, 1993 as cited in Cooke, 2000, p. 93) but friends are no longer there to offer support. Time can certainly heal our wounds to some extent, as we become more and more pre-occupied with other things in life and as our priorities change. But I feel this myth is partly true. Deep inside we still carry the grief, although we are not mourning all the while.
2) "People find it too painful to talk about their loss."
Talking in details about the loss often helps the bereaved to accept the reality of the death. On certain situations and mentalities, people like to open up. But there are times when the bereaved person may not want to brood over and will prefer a normal conversation. People around should take a note of the feedback they receive and proceed with their conversation accordingly. So in my opinion, this myth is partly true, as it totally depends on the mode of the person and possibly the personality of the person as well.
3) "Crying indicates that someone is not coping well."
Crying can indicate many things: anger, guilt, anxiety, and/or profound sadness, all of which comes naturally during the process of grief. Different cultures express grief in different ways. Crying and becoming emotional in public does not necessarily mean that someone is not coping well with grief, instead it may be a way of managing grief. So this myth seems to be wrong to me.
4) "The grieving process should last about one year."
The first birthday or anniversary without the deceased one may feel very empty, but there is no prescribed rule on how long the grief will extend. Each person experiences grief in their own special way. So this myth seems to be wrong again.
5) "Quickly putting grieving behind will speed the process of healing."
This is easy to say, but not easy to do. Besides, it is not helpful to try to aggravate or stop the strong emotions. The only way to heal is to experience and work through the feelings. So again this myth is wrong.
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