Recently the matriarch of my fiancé’s family passed away and my fiancé found himself feeling a sense of guilt that he was not more mournful or emotional about her passing. All I could think was, “Why are you in turmoil with yourself over not feeling awful!?” This happens so often when someone loses a loved one, but it shouldn’t.
You may have learned about the stages of grief: Denial, Isolation, Anger, Guilt, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. It’s important to know that many do not experience all stages. Some might come to find peace with a loved one’s passing rather quickly while some keep circle back to a particular stage. There is, of course, no set time frame for someone to be in a stage of grief. There are many factors at play such as how close you were to the person that passed, emotional intelligence, environment and level of support from others.
Try to refrain from setting expectations for yourself or someone you know who is grieving. You should never question why you feel a certain way, worry about how long you’ve been feeling this way or wonder when you will move beyond it. Unless of course if you find yourself in prolonged denial, isolating yourself, feeling excessive anger, guilt or depression, it may be beneficial to talk with a professional to help you work through it.
Grieving is not a one size fits all and that is okay. Don’t stigmatize yourself or a loved one and instead seek peace and understanding. If you find this sooner than later know that it is okay and likely what your loved one would hope you would find.