You Can Grieve in Your Own Way

Don’t “Should” on yourself

By Kimberly Grande, Niagara Hospice Bereavement Counselor 

   How often have we, who are parents, stated, “This child didn’t come with a training manual?” At times, grief can feel like that, too  – “I wasn’t given a training manual for handling this.” And yet, society seeks to impose on us a training manual, of sorts, with comments such as: “You should do this,” “Have you thought about this?” “You should never do that,” and “You really should try this.”  

   “Should” – now there is a word that the grieving person would do well to avoid. No one knows or understands your grief experience. Just like raising each child is a wholly different encounter from another, so too is the grief experience a very individualized one. It is indeed very individualized, such that the grief you experience for one loss may be completely unique to the grief you experience for another loss. 

   If you are experiencing the loss of a loved one, please know that there are no “shoulds” in your life. There is only “am.” I am tired, for now. I am having a good day, for now. I am remembering her and I am crying tears of sadness. I am thinking about him, and I am weeping tears of gratitude. I am looking at pictures, and I am laughing. I am angry! I am not ready to go to a party. I am folding her clothes and giving them away. I am waiting to go through her closet. I am keeping his room exactly the same.

   I am …. grieving and mourning in my own way, at my own pace, without guilt or apology.  

   My hope and prayer is that you allow yourself the time, the space and the permission to mourn and grieve according to your timeframe, your tradition and culture, and your very own inclinations.  

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