by Glen Gaugh, LMSW
“Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone; his own burden in his own way.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
There is nothing as universal yet so intimately individual as grief. The quote above from author and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh touches on the individual burden of grief. Her son was found dead, the hostage in a ransom kidnapping meant to extort $50,000 from her and her famous aviator husband, Charles Lindbergh.
How do we learn to grieve together? If everyone grieves, then there must be a way to support one another in grief. Former Navy Seal and author Jocko Willink, who lost men in combat, indicated that we have no ritual or standard for grieving, leaving the process up to the individual to figure out.
There is no way to overstate the importance of a support system while grieving. Sharing in grief takes place at funerals but often ends there. The longer life goes on after the loss, the more diverse and private the grieving process seems to become. When one sees family members and friends grieving at different stages or in different ways, it can cause confusion and resentment.
Some common ways this happens is when one parent remarries after the death of the other parent and siblings or friends seem to “move on.” Anything difference in coping from the perspective of the affected person can seem disrespectful or be the focus “why me” thoughts. Most often, the pain others are feeling usually goes unexpressed and masked by these ways of coping.
If your family is not “in sync” with your grief, it might be helpful to find a support group so you can see the full range of grief stages and coping. Mutual support is also a benefit of support groups. Family and individual therapy is beneficial to foster understanding and for expressing the unsaid in grieving.
There are ways to grieve together. Start on the work required to find satisfaction in relationships during the grieving process.