Moving Through Grief at Your Own Pace

July 7th, 2009 by Robin

Have you ever noticed that when someone is dealing with a bitter, life-changing blow, others want to “hurry” them through the grieving, sadness, and the loss stages and get them right back to “normal” as soon as possible? There is tremendous pressure from family and friends to “get over it,” “move on,” or “find closure.”

People think that by urging a loved one along, moving them toward happy days again, they are actually doing that person a favor. But I don’t think so.

We all need to move through the stages of grief or loss at our own pace, a pace that feels right and works for us. Time and time again, I encounter people who have been rushed through a process that they needed to take their time with, and they still have never really recovered.

This manifests itself in all sorts of ways — turning to food to fill a void left in your heart, “medicating” yourself with alcohol to get through the night, holing up in the house and slowly cutting off contact with others, or simply closing down and not letting anyone get close to you again.

During these scary economic times, people are experiencing losses in ways that they ordinarily might not. Losing a job that you love and have done for years is a very painful kind of loss. Losing most of your retirement savings is also a brutal blow to a family.

This summer, if someone you care about is trying to cope with a loss — be it a job, money, relationship, or a death — try to resist the urge to make them feel better before they are ready. Be there for them; listen to them when they need a sounding board, offer advice only when asked, and let them move through their stages at their own pace. It might be the best support you can offer them in this crazy “get over it” kind of world.

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2 Responses to “Moving Through Grief at Your Own Pace”

  1. Ali at Chinaberry Says:

    Hi Marie,
    Thanks for commenting on our blog. I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s passing and about you having health problems. I strongly believe in the connection between our emotional health and our physical health.

    Pushing some things under the rug simply delays the grieving process. I used to get a lot of bad stomach aches. After I worked though some issues in counseling, the stomach aches “mysteriously” disappeared. My thoughts are with you as you work through your grief. Take care.

  2. marie Says:

    This is very interesting; no one told me to get over my mother’s death. I just wanted to wipe it out and now, along with other bad memories in my life, are making me really sick.

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