Grief is Different for Everyone
Some people show little outward expression of emotion when a loved one dies and others seem not to be able to control the outpouring of feelings. One cannot judge the depth of pain and sadness a person feels based on their outward expression, it is not a valid indicator.
Culture can influence a person’s grief, having been told to be strong, some need permission to show emotion. Given recognition that they are hurting is very important. Participation in making arrangements and doing things is a very important part of their mourning.
The grief response is highly individual, some individuals hide their grief. Not everyone mourning a death experiences depression, anger, guilt, fear or deep sadness. Behavioural, social, and physical responses, attempts at coping, and beliefs about death and mourning among people are so varied. The result is that there is even more diversity accepted as normal mourning.
Many are riddled with guilt and regret, having been conditioned to believe they are responsible for virtually everything. They feel they should have been able to do so much more, even to have prevented the death. The kind of guilt experienced in these cases is usually ‘neurotic’ guilt that is induced by culture. We need to recognise that this is very different to ’cause and effect’ guilt, and keep in mind that another’s life and death is ultimately not in our hands.
Women often have a wider support network, and are more willing to talk about their feelings.
Men usually have fewer support persons to rely on and do not like to talk openly about their pain. Fewer men join support groups.
Some people take longer to process their grief than others. Depending on one’s relationship with the deceased and how one handles one’s grief, the time for grieving varies enormously from one individual to another. When one’s relationship with the deceased was close and loving, with no feelings of regret, sometimes the mourning process can be quicker. If one blocks out the emotions, they are likely to resurface, still unresolved, at a later date.
If you are concerned about the length of time the grieving process is taking and think it may have gone beyond grief and triggered a depression, read ‘Grieving or Depression‘ and consult your doctor, psychologist or spiritual advisor for guidance.