Common Questions about grief

August 20, 2020

Although grief is different for every individual, there is often a lot of confusion, a lot of thoughts and feelings and questions involved when you have lost a loved one.  Here we address some common questions when coping with grief. 

Does it mean I’m not grieving and don’t care if I don’t cry  

People often cry when they are grieving as it is a common reaction and sign of sadness. However, it is important to know that crying is not the only reaction. Some people do not cry but this does not mean at all that they are not feeling pain or that they do not care. We all have our own ways of showing this pain, and however you are feeling and are expressing this sadness is normal for you. You should never feel pressured into crying.  

Should I try not to cry and remain strong for others  

Just as crying is not a mandatory part of grief, it should never be stifled either. If you want to cry, then cry. Although you may want to stay strong for those around you, you need to express your grief in your own way. If this involves crying then you shouldn’t stop yourself. Others will understand that you need to express your grief as well. When you have lost a loved one, the important thing is to support each other.  

How long does grief last? 

This is a common question which unfortunately doesn’t have the answer many people are probably seeking. There is no specific time frame for grief. Whilst some people may feel their worst during the immediate days and weeks after a loss, others can still be in full mourning months, if not years, later. You should never feel like grieving should only last a certain time. It is down to the individual circumstances. It is also common for people to feel like their grief is over but then have waves of intense grief return every now and then. These waves can often occur on special dates and occasions, but there are no specific rules.  

Should you talk to children about death? 

Although death is never a pleasant subject, it should not be one you hide from children. Children understand a lot more than we sometimes give them credit for. If they have lost someone close to them, they will inevitably have a lot of questions. It is important you answer these questions as best and as honestly as you can. If you struggle to know how to word things to children, there is a myriad of resources available to help.

Will grief go away if I ignore it? 

This is a common tactic that some people employ. They try and ignore the pain they are feeling. Although this may feel like a good coping mechanism at the time, it is often not sustainable. You will eventually reach breaking point when the pain will catch up with you and you will have to address your grief head-on.  

Do I need to tell everyone that my loved one has died? 

It can be tough to tell people about your loss and can be very difficult when you have to repeat yourself. Tell your immediate family and have them help you spread the word but only at the speed you are comfortable with. People do not need to know immediately. You need to come to terms with the news yourself first before you are bombarded with visitors and phone calls. It is down to you who you tell. However, it is often beneficial for you to tell the HR department or your direct manager at work as they need to understand what your personal circumstances are and how they can help with your workload.  

Are grief and mourning the same thing? 

Although they are related, they are not the same. Grief is the private, personal feelings you have, whereas mourning is the outward expression of grief that we openly share with others. Whereas we all experience grief, we do not all actively mourn. 

These responses are by no means the only answers, however they can often help start to answer these difficult questions. It is natural when grieving to wonder whether how you are feeling is normal, but at the end of the day there is no normal. We are all individuals and grief will, therefore, affect us all in our own way. However, it is important to talk about grief and ask these questions whenever they occur. People are here to help you find the answers you are searching for.