After cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Adephi, MD, it’s not uncommon for bereaved family members to hear other people tell them how strong they are in the way they handle their loved one’s death. Although this is meant to be a compliment, it may leave you feeling like people aren’t seeing your grief and don’t really understand how you feel.
While some people may appreciate being told they are being strong in handling their loved one’s death, most people do not. Why?
For one thing, when you are grieving, you feel weak and vulnerable. So when someone tells you how strong you are, it can come across as a statement that is patronizing or a statement that reveals that the person who said it really doesn’t understand what and how you are feeling and going through.
Another reason why you may not appreciate hearing that you are being strong in handling your loved one’s death is that you may internalize that statement to mean that you are a stoic person. This can make you feel guilty or bad because you aren’t showing how much you loved and cared about your deceased loved one.
A third reason why the statement that you are being strong in the face of your loved one’s death may not resonate with you is that it implies that not expressing emotion about losing someone you love is better than being emotional about it.
You may interpret this to mean that if you show the emotions of the grief you are experiencing for your loved one that other people will disapprove or be disappointed. So, you may feel the need to bury your emotions, which can make your grieving process longer and worse.
Interestingly enough, another reason why you may not want to hear that you have to be strong about your loved one’s death is that it conveys an implied threat. The threat is that if you don’t keep your emotions in check, then there will be negative consequences that follow.
When someone tells you that you are being strong or you have to be strong after your loved one dies, then they are bypassing the pain you are feeling. Therefore, you know intuitively that you can’t count on that person for empathy, compassion, and support while you are grieving.
The reality is that strength when you’re grieving is not strong as it is defined in most other situations. Yes, you put one foot in front of the other, whether you feel like it or not, and you take care of all the things that you are responsible for, but doing these things while you’re grieving depletes your stamina and energy quickly.
That is because, in the background, you’re dealing with a myriad of thoughts, memories, and emotions related to your loved one, and you’re giving them a permanent home in your mind and your heart as you sort through them.
You may put you “I’m okay” mask on when you deal with the outside world, but you know how big the struggle inside you is. The struggle is where you are strong, but most people will never see that because it happens internally and privately.
It’s the little things that are big things. It’s opening up old boxes of photos, even though you know the tears will fall. It’s saying your loved one’s name aloud for the first time in casual conversation. It’s being aware of, acknowledging, feeling, and expressing all the emotions of your grief.