Beyond the Myths: Good Mourning Sheds Light on the Realities of Grieving


Grief is a universal experience, yet it’s also intensely personal. Whether you’re grieving yourself, supporting someone who is, or regularly interacting with grieving families, the journey can be complex and challenging. It’s important to remember that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone’s experience is unique.

We understand the complexities of grief firsthand. As two young women who lost our mothers suddenly, we found ourselves searching for information and support. When we couldn’t see what we needed, we created Good Mourning – a podcast, a community, and now a book – to demystify grief and provide relatable support to others in similar situations.

Understanding grief starts with understanding just how many misconceptions there are about the topic. Because even though grief is something we all experience, how we go through it is as unique as a fingerprint. There’s no rulebook for how to grieve or right or wrong path – everyone navigates a personal journey.

Grief isn’t just feeling sad – it’s a mixed bag of emotions. It’s also anger, confusion, numbness, and maybe even relief. It’s like being caught in a storm of feelings, unsure of the way out, which can be confusing. If someone snaps at you one minute, then is a crying mess the next minute, this is normal. Let them know you understand and that it’s okay, offer a listening ear, and be patient.

Did we mention that grief can mess with your body, too? You might find yourself tired all the time, or you need help sleeping. Your appetite might vanish or suddenly skyrocket. Grief can affect your mind, making it hard to concentrate or remember things, which can be frustrating for the griever and the supporter. Journaling and list writing helps with strengthening memory retention, but the best thing is patience and time. It does pass.

It’s also a common misconception that grieving people prefer not to talk about the person they’ve lost. In truth, sharing stories and discussing the departed is often incredibly comforting. Ask questions about their person, or ask them if they want to talk about them. Be curious and compassionate.

Another thing to know is that grief doesn’t have a set timetable. It’s not like you get a memo saying, “Hey, grief will last exactly three weeks.” It’s more like a rollercoaster that you’re on without a clear endpoint. Some days might be okay, and then suddenly, a wave of grief hits you out of nowhere. Some people need more time, while others move on faster. And that’s okay – people process at their own pace.

Grief isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience, either. People can go through different shades and shapes of it, like ‘Anticipatory Grief’, which comes before the actual loss happens. It’s like when you know someone you love will pass away due to a terminal illness. You start grieving before it happens, emotionally preparing yourself for the inevitable. It’s a mix of sadness, anxiety, and even guilt for feeling sorrow before the loss.

Many people also experience ‘Disenfranchised Grief’, which is a type of grief that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. It happens when your loss isn’t openly acknowledged or socially accepted. Think about when a pet dies; some might not understand why you’re upset. This can make you feel isolated because others don’t validate your grief.

Above all, if you’re supporting someone who is coping with a death, remember that you don’t need to have all the answers. Your role is to provide a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, and a helping hand. For those coping with loss, remember that grief is not a task to be completed, but a personal journey and there is nothing to be ashamed of.