WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT GRIEF
Grief is a natural, healthy reaction to loss.
Grief is universal and unique.
Grief has no age limits.
Grief is a process, not an event.
Grief does not follow a timeline or sequence.
6 Common Myths About Grief
The Five Stages of Grief
Grief is not a linear process. The five stages of grief, popularized in the 70’s by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, are often misunderstood and incorrectly applied. There are many aspects of grief, but there is no singular grief process. Each person grieves differently and uniquely.
Time Heals All Wounds
Grief does not have a timeline. That doesn’t mean the intensity of the experience will last forever. It will evolve and reemerge throughout a person’s development. Grief becomes more manageable and less intense with support systems and a caring community of family and friends.
We don’t just get over it. We don’t just move on. We can’t compartmentalize grief by closing the door as if it didn’t happen. Closure is a false idea that neglects the fact that grief is a lifelong process. Grief can appear in cycles and present itself again intensely many years after the death.
Not Talking About Death Keeps Us Happy
Humans are social creatures. We thrive off of connection, understanding, and belonging. Not talking about death or grief assumes we can live a compartmentalized life, and ultimately blocks connection and understanding.
Grief Is An Emotion
Grief is the compilation of feelings. It is a physical experience, an intellectual experience, an emotional experience, and a spiritual experience. All four components of grief comprise our response to the loss or death of someone or something we care about.
Children Don't Grieve
An infant grieves. Starting at birth, a child will grieve the death of a parent. An infant will be clingy and colicky when sensing something is wrong and doesn’t smell or see mom. Just because a 2-year-old can’t fully articulate his feelings does not mean he is not grieving.
Grief is a normal and natural reaction to death. Love and grief are inseparable – they are yin and yang – so when we lose those we love we experience grief. It is a normal response and it has been a part of the human condition since the beginning of time. You can see grief in every culture. Some cultures embrace this experience more directly than others. Some, unfortunately, sweep this experience under the rug or pathologize it as an abnormality.
WHAT IS GRIEF?
Grief is a normal and natural reaction to death. Love and grief are inseparable – they are yin and yang. So when we lose those we love we experience grief. It is a normal response and it has been a part of the human condition since the beginning of time. You can see grief in every culture. Some cultures embrace this experience more directly than others. Some, unfortunately, sweep this experience under the rug or pathologize it as an abnormality.
GRIEF IS NOT JUST AN EMOTIONAL REACTION, THOUGH.
GRIEF IS AN EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL, AND INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCE.
EMOTIONAL – It is not uncommon to feel anger, numbness, relief, uncertainty, anxiety, fear, depression, apathy, sadness, and joy as a part of the grief experience. All emotions are valid and they vary based on all sorts of circumstances. See some of the variables that influence the grief experience below.
INTELLECTUAL – We experience a range of thoughts about grief, which can include blame, the idea that we could have prevented the death, we often try to “wrap our heads” around the fact that someone is gone, we frequently try to make sense of things, we may try to make meaning, and we may think that the death and our consequential circumstances are unjust. This component also forces us to reimagine our lives and change our expectations, hopes, and plans.
SPIRITUAL – As humans, we try to understand “how” and “why” bad things happen. Often times, this is where we do our meaning making. Religion may play a role, but our understanding of our lives and the meaning of life itself is often at play here. “He was such a good person. How could this of happened to him?” or “why didn’t she ask for help?” etc.
PHYSICAL – Grief is exhausting! For adults, fatigue and feeling like you’re in a fog is not uncommon. For kids, they often experience bellyaches and headaches. Without a safe environment to express their grief, kids often bottle it all up which leads to behavioral expressions that may get a child into trouble. It is not uncommon for grief to cause people to overeat or under eat. It is also not uncommon for a grieving body to be susceptible to illness, as the immune system is often weak during intense grief.
HERE ARE A FEW VARIABLES THAT WILL INFLUENCE GRIEF:
The nature of the relationship
Religion How the person died
Comments that people make
And many external variables that are outside of the grieving person’s control.
Grieving a Pet
Dealing with the Death of a Parent
Helping Grieving Adults
Supporting a Grieving Coworker
Grief and Holidays
Cooking & Grief
One of the most overlooked aspects of grief is cooking and mealtime. Coping with daily life in adjusting after the death of a loved one must, by necessity include the concept of how we address food. The goal of this day is to help individuals discover a new sense of meaning, purpose, and happiness in life after a death through various avenues, including cooking. We hope you find meaning in this content.
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Tembi Locke is an author, producer, actress, screen writer, advocate, and creator of the The Kitchen Widow, an inspirational online platform dedicated to raising awareness about how we can support each other through times of illness and grief, offers a modern take on the age-old kitchen table conversations, which is all done around delicious food.