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The Questions of Grief: How Am I Suppose to Act?

By Yourtribute @yourtribute

The Questions of Grief: How am I Suppose to Act?When it dawned on me that I did not know anything about grief, I began to invite grieving people to join me in a discovery experience. I guess these were some of the first grief groups ever formed. I had never heard of groups and had no idea what we should do, but somehow folks seemed to work through some of their pain. I know they helped me far more than I, in my ignorance, could help them. I came away from each session with my head swimming in new concepts and insights. I honestly believe that most of the things I now know about grief I learned from the stories folks like those early pioneers told me.

As I listened to that first group, I began to understand that one of the very basic questions they wanted to ask but could not find the right words to do so was, “How am I suppose to act now?” The question came out in statements about the pressures they felt rather than any actual incidents or questions about their behavior. One woman said, “I would not buy a car for a long time because I could just hear them saying that my husband was not even cold and she is out spending all of his money.” Others made similar references to restraints they felt and things they would not dare do because of what someone might think or say. I was astounded and almost angry. Here were some people in deep pain who could not concentrate on their own needs for worrying about outside pressure and gossip.

Since those days, I have learned that grief has a paranoid element to it. We all feel like every eye in the room is looking at us. No matter where we go, we just know we are being watched, talked about and even judged. It is a strange phenomenon, on the one hand we need the interest, prayers, and empathy of our friends. On the other hand, we don’t want to sense or feel it every time we are seen in public. Most of us are not comfortable with being on center stage at every appearance. If we let it, this can make it very difficult for us to go anywhere or be seen by anyone.

This sense of “everyone is watching me” can leave us wondering far too much about how we should act, what kinds of activities we should engage in, and even how we should spend our money.

In the groups I lead, we have a time when we talk quite openly about these feelings. We end up telling ourselves we would be absolutely amazed at how many people are not talking about us. A great deal of the paranoia we feel is just that, paranoia. Our own feelings of vulnerability leaves us imagining more gossip than is there.

We also talk about the freedom to do or be what each person needs to do or be. I am often asked when should a widow or widower begin to date. I always answer, “when they think they are ready.” Some will find the whole idea repulsive, some will gradually become willing to try. Others may decide to do so very quickly often to the consternation of family and friends. Early dating does not mean the person did not love their mate, and not dating does not prove they loved much more. We all react in the way that meets our individualized needs.

We need to find the courage within ourselves to do what we need to do to help us as we face life after a loss. Real friends will understand. Family may struggle but the family members that really matter will find a way to love us anyway. Most of the rest of the world isn’t really watching and, if they are, that is their problem.

Copyright Doug Manning of In-Sight Books, Inc. Doug’s books, CDs and DVDs are available at Post originally published on Doug’s Blog at The Care Community


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