Grieving After Loss: Is Grieving Ever Wrong or Unhealthy?

Grieving after loss can be so difficult and painful, especially after the death of someone we care about.

I’m sorry you’re going through a season of grief. I know that you’re feeling some strong emotions, and that many of them seem negative (sorrow, sadness, loneliness, fear, anger, etc.). But grieving is normal even when grief comes out of nowhere. Most of the time, you’re not “doing it wrong”.

Here are some healthy ways to experience and process grief that I hope will help you along the path to healing.

Feel Grief, Don’t Numb It

Feeling the range of emotions that come with grieving is healthy and normal. But be sure you don’t try to numb your feelings through unhealthy behaviors.

Excessive eating or drinking may make you feel good temporarily but numbing your grief doesn’t heal your wounds. It is easy to fall into patterns of addictive behavior if you’re looking for healing in behaviors that only offer a temporary fix, especially if those behaviors harm your body through drug use, alcohol abuse, or an unhealthy relationship with food.

Acknowledge Grief, Don’t Hide It

When you’re tempted to numb your grief, acknowledge it. Trying to hide it by pretending everything is OK ignores your pain and distances you from people who can otherwise support you. Refusing to talk about grief can become very isolating and can increase your feelings of abandonment.

You don’t have to shout your grief from the rooftops to experience healthy grief and you don’t have to share your feelings with anyone you’re not comfortable with. But simple acknowledgments go a long way:

  • Being honest with yourself about grief helps you know what kind of support you need.
  • Praying when you are grieving allows God’s peace and comfort to calm you on difficult days.
  • Telling trusted friends and family allows them to be there for you to express their love for you and helps you avoid lapsing into unhealthy grief behaviors.

Another advantage of talking about your grief is realizing how many other people close to you have experienced loss. This will bring you closer together as you help one another heal.

Take Small Steps Toward Healing

After any loss (a death, losing a job, a breakup, etc.), grief takes time. And grief changes how you see the world and interact with others. It takes time to recover after loss and allowing yourself time and space to figure things out is crucial.

This might mean spending more time alone or in smaller groups, taking time to journal about your emotions, or scheduling an appointment with a counselor to talk things through. If you need support or help from a friend on a particularly tough day, don’t be ashamed to ask for that help. People who care about you want to be there for you.

I know grief can feel lonely, but you don’t have to go through it alone. TheHopeLine offers grief support mentoring and resources to help you along the way. Reach out to us anytime you need help healing during grief. We are always here to listen.

When life gets hard do you ever wonder why bad things happen? Find the answers to help you understand here. 

We also have a partner, GriefShare, who is a caring support group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life's most difficult experiences.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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