Myths about grief

by Therese A. Rando

  1. All losses are the same
  2. It takes two months to get over your grief
  3. All bereaved people grieve in the same way
  4. Grief always declines over time in a steadily decreasing fashion
  5. When grief is resolved, it never comes up again
  6. Family members will always help grievers
  7. Children grieve like adults
  8. Feeling sorry for yourself is not allowable
  9. It is better to put painful things out of your mind
  10. You should not think about your deceased loved one at the holidays because it will make you too sad
  11. Bereaved individuals only need to express their feelings and they will resolve their grief
  12. Expressing feelings that are intense is the same as losing control
  13. There is no reason to be angry at people who tried to do their best for your deceased loved one
  14. There is no reason to be angry at your deceased loved one
  15. Only sick individuals have physical problems in grief
  16. Because you feel crazy, you are going crazy
  17. You should feel only sadness that your loved one has died
  18. Infant death shouldn't be too difficult to resolve because you didn't know the child that well
  19. Children need to be protected from grief and death
  20. Rituals and funerals are unimportant in helping us deal with life and death in contemporary America
  21. Being upset and grieving means that you do not believe in God or trust your religion
  22. You and your family will be the same after death as before your loved one died
  23. You will have no relationship with your loved one after the death
  24. The intensity and length of your grief are testimony to your love for the deceased
  25. There is something wrong if you do not always feel close to your other family members, since you should be happy that they are still alive
  26. There is something wrong with you if you think that part of you has died with your loved one
  27. If someone has lost a spouse, he or she knows what it is like to lose a child
  28. When in doubt about what to say to a bereaved person, offer a cliché.
  29. It is better to tell a bereaved person to "Be brave" and "Keep a stiff upper lip" because then they will not have to experience as much pain
  30. When you grieve the death of a loved one, you only grieve for the loss of that person and nothing else
  31. Grief will affect you psychologically, but in no other way
  32. If you are a widow, you should grieve like other widows
  33. Losing someone to sudden death is the same as losing someone to an anticipated death
  34. You will not be affected much if your parent dies when you are an adult
  35. Parents usually divorce after a child dies
  36. It is not important for you to have social support in your grief
  37. Once your loved one has died it is better not to focus on him or her, but to put him or her in the past and go on with your life
  38. You can find ways to avoid the pain of your grief and still resolve it successfully

by Therese A. Rando, How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies, 1988, pp. 7-9.
With permission of the author

(Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

I want to make a difference for those living with serious illness & loss in Montgomery County.

Sign up to receive our educational articles and upcoming event information.