Updated: Apr 16
Photo credit- Kulli Kittus - Unsplash
'Being Strong' - such a powerful term and so emotionlly detrimental. Bejamin Brooks-Dutton felt so passionate about the emotional damage 'Being Strong' caused him that he's dedicated a sub section to it in his extraordinary book 'It's Not Raining, Daddy, It's Happy'.
I'm only a short way through and already I can see this is going to be a heartbreaking, yet very moving and courageous journey of loss after his beautiful young wife Desreen was tragically killed by a car, leaving Benjamin and their dear two year old son Jackson alone in the world.
I know how counterproductive this is.
I know as an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist that you can't be strong AND be human. It's not possible.
"I had to be strong because that was what everyone was telling me to be.... Sadly I know now that some of the people around me were getting it wrong. Looking back I feel genuinely ashamed for the steeliness I showed following the death of the wife I so adored."p31
When asked about his wife's death he would reply with responses such as "Well, her life was short but at least she enjoyed it." p32. Because he thought this was what he should say.
"I was a man over influenced by the innocent, well intentioned, but often ridiculous platitudes offered to the bereaved by people who are just trying to show they care."p32
And this is why we have to be so careful of what we say to others who are struggling with a loss. Just because it was said by our parents and grandparents, siblings, doctors or teachers doesn't make it right. It certainly is never helpful, never emotionally beneficial.
Below are 5 myths around loss:
Don't Feel sad
Be Strong/Be Strong for Others
Time Heals all wounds
Replace The Loss
I bet many of you have heard at least one of them (I have).
I bet many of you have said them to others struggling, unaware of the lack of emotional benefit they can bring (again I had - I didn't know any better before I did my training). That's why the Grief Recovery Method is an educational programme because -
We have to UNLEARN all that we have learnt growing up; when it comes to loss, grief, sadness, tears etc.
We need to feel our emotions.
We need to be OK with crying and those around us have to be OK with us crying too.
We have to take action otherwise times does not help us move through our grief - time alone just passes.
We need to be able to grieve the dead. Society needs to respect this human and innate need and not pressurise us all to 'be strong' and to get on with life as quick as possible.
And we need to be OK with slowing down, being at one with our emotions and not trying to fill every hour of the day in order to try and distract ourselves from our feelings. All that happens is we wear our self out. Our head hits the pillow and we feel exhausted. But our heart still feels heavy. Our heart still feels broken.
The Grief Recovery Method is an action-led, structured loss -supporting programme that can help you move through your grief. With its educational and holistic approach to loss this is not therapy or counselling. As you work through the sequential weeks with different reflective tasks and reading you discover what emotional communication is still undelivered. And you deliver it. You apologise or/and let go of past hurts and trauma. You learn the emotional tools to help you with any future losses. It's life-changing.