We all grieve differently.
Updated: 6 days ago
“Gabby, why am I grieving the loss of my mom more than my sisters are? Why is mine so much deeper and more painful? I feel like it’s something I must have done wrong, a mistake I made, or my lifestyle choices. Am I being punished? Does grief choose who gets to feel it deeper or harder?”
I am asked something like this often as though grief bases its level of pain on who you are, and what you’ve done. But that’s not the truth at least not from my perspective.
Grief is what we feel and go through when someone we love dies. Some have an emotional reaction; some keep it to themselves. Some people don’t have a reaction at all for months or even years and then out of nowhere, it hits them hard. Some people grieve from the moment last breaths are taken, and for years afterwards.
We all grieve. We all feel a loss, along with a certain level of sadness, guilt, regret, or anger when someone dies, and we may feel the need to "punish" ourselves for those feelings. Grief can be painful physically and emotionally; we all experience it differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve as long as you are not physically harming yourself or others. And however long that journey takes for you, is not for others to determine. You are not being punished because your grief is deeper than someone else’s.
We need to give ourselves permission to feel whatever we need to feel, and support those around us, who might be doing it differently than us. Some people need more support than others, and while our grief is different, and the level of our pain is different, we all grieve.
The best thing we can do is accept that we do it differently and continue to support one another in a way that brings them comfort and the reminder that they are not alone, without judgment of whether or not they are doing it right.
Grief doesn’t choose the level of ache we feel based on how we lived our lives, or mistakes we may or may not have made, or by how we vote, kiss, or pray. Grief is unique and individual… we all grieve differently simply because we are all different. And that’s okay.
Embrace the differences and be there for each other in whatever ways are needed.