Ep #248: More Myths About Grief Part 2

The Widowed Mom Podcast Krista St-Germain | More Myths About Grief Part 2

I don’t know that we’ll ever reach the bottom of the list when it comes to myths about grief, but I have six more to share with you today.

Grief is a subjective experience that is unique to each of us, and it’s impossible to do it wrong.

Join me this week to hear six universal myths about grief that simply aren’t helpful and how to be the authority on your own grief experience. 

Listen to the Full Episode:

Join me on Tuesday, March 5th 2024 at 3:30 Central for a live Grief Plateau Masterclass! Find out more and register by clicking here. 
If you want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to apply for Mom Goes On.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why not dealing with your person’s stuff in a ‘timely’ manner is not a problem.
  • How comparison in grief is never helpful.
  • Why grief doesn’t have to lead to personal growth.


Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 248, More Myths of Grief  Part 2.

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.

Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast, part two of more grief myths. I don’t know that we’ll ever reach the bottom of this list, but I have another six to share with you today. And before I do that, I realized I have not acknowledged anyone for listener reviews lately. And so I wanted to do that. I’m not going to read them, but I just wanted to say thank you to the following folks.

So Death Nigh 101, JD Tar, Priscilla from San Jose, Paslaw 7, Somehow Getting Through, Janie Bentley, Lynn from Cincinnati and Christine Pay. I really appreciate the fact that you took time to go to Apple Podcasts to write a thoughtful review. There’s also one from Disgusted Former Listener, who apparently is very offended that in episode 92 I told you it’s okay to date when your children don’t approve. I’m not really sure. But thank you to those of you who have let me know that the podcast helps you.

It really is important in the weird world of Apple Podcasts that we get ratings and reviews because I don’t understand how the algorithms work, but I know that it is important. And of course your time is precious. So when somebody’s considering whether or not to listen to the podcast, I know I definitely go and read people’s reviews. So I really appreciate that you took the time to write a review and that also, I just genuinely appreciate knowing when my work matters because I put a lot into it and knowing that it matters to you means a lot to me. So thank you for doing that, I appreciate it.

Okay, let’s talk about more myths of grief, shall we? So last week I gave you six myths of grief. Today I’m going to give you another six more. And I also want to remind you that there is a podcast episode that I did a long, long time ago, episode number two actually on even more myths of grief. So lots of myths for your consideration. But here’s a few more that I want to offer to you.

So I actually just did a podcast interview this morning and it was with some amazing women who I just really, I only got to actually talk to one of them because sadly the other one had a death in the family of all things, when we’re going to talk about grief. But it’s a podcast called The Declutter Club. And so what we were talking about is, dealing with your person’s stuff.

And the myth that I wanted to focus on, the first one of the six for today is, that not having dealt with your person’s stuff in a ‘timely manner’ means that you’re in denial. Absolutely no such thing. And the conversation that we were having, I hear this, of course, a lot in the coaching that I do. But what I was learning is that so do they. So do they, that they have so many clients who have well-meaning friends and family, who believe that if you don’t deal with your person’s stuff in a ‘timely manner’ that that means something’s wrong. You’re in denial. You’re not doing grief right.

You’re not progressing. There’s a problem and they need to solve it. And they were telling me that sometimes they actually get calls, not from people who want to deal with stuff, but from loved ones of people who think they have too much stuff and haven’t dealt with it yet. And that they are experiencing that as problematic and kind of trying to solve their own discomfort by getting the person help when they don’t necessarily need it. So you get to deal with your person’s stuff whenever you want to, if ever you want to. There is no rule that says that you have to do anything. 

You can keep all of their stuff for as long as you want. And I just want to offer that to you, that if there are people in your life that have rules around how timely you are in dealing with stuff, that’s okay. They came to that as we all do to different myths of grief. And we don’t need them to feel differently about it. But I just want you to know that however you deal with their stuff, is how you deal with their stuff. And you can do that on your own time. It’s a total myth of grief that there’s a certain amount of time that you have to have dealt with the person’s stuff. What does that even mean, deal with their stuff? So myth number one for today.

Myth number two is that sudden losses are harder to cope with than losses that we expected. Absolutely not true. And sometimes the people using this myth against themselves are the ones who had an expected loss and are telling themselves that it should be easier for them because they saw the loss coming. And they are saying things like, “Well, their person was killed in an accident or taken in some surprised way. Therefore their grief is worse than mine.” And it’s just not true. It’s not helpful. It’s not useful. Comparison in grief really doesn’t add a lot of value to our experience.

It’s hard and there are challenges whether the loss was sudden or whether the loss was expected. It’s hard either way. So one is not universally harder than another. That’s myth number two.

Myth number three is that new relationships diminish grief. Meaning, if you decide to be in a new relationship, if you go date, and you are experiencing joy, you’re having fun with it, that does not mean that your grief has gone away, lessened, dissipated, it’s no longer there. And if we’re believing that when we’re in a new relationship that we are no longer experiencing grief about another relationship, we’re really going to set ourselves up for more suffering. It’s not true. You can still feel joy and feel grief. One doesn’t cancel the other out. We can make space for both.

You can still love the person that you were with and love the person that you are with, both are possible. So there’s no situation where one negates another. Sometimes that’s why we hold ourselves back from dating again, by the way, is because we think that. Or when we start dating, we think that something has gone wrong because we notice that we still have emotion that we didn’t expect to have. And then we judge ourselves for that. So new relationships do not lessen grief about prior relationships or people that we’ve lost.

Myth number four for today is that grief always leads to personal growth. That kind of just makes me want to puke a little bit. And you know how I feel about this. Always it’s just pretty much a red flag. We can choose personal growth after a grief experience but to say that it always leads to personal growth sets us up for again, more suffering. It is not a guaranteed outcome of grief. It is not even the morally superior option. Sometimes grief doesn’t lead to any growth. Something happens, we get to decide what we want to make of it. No rights, no wrongs.

We don’t need to grow. We aren’t better if we do. It’s an option if we want to. But let’s not make it a should or something that we tell ourselves always has to happen. I also think sometimes for me the word growth just feels a little icky. I kind of wrestle with it sometimes. And the way that I’d rather think of it is I’m always getting new data and because of that new data, I always have the opportunity to make new decisions and make sure that I’m living a life that is aligned with what matters to me.

And when I can define growth in that way, it feels good to me, which is to say, it’s kind of like when Hugo died and I decided I didn’t really want to work at Learjet anymore. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the people there. It wasn’t because it wasn’t a good experience for me there. It was because it was a moment where I realized that life was shorter and more precious than I thought it would be. And I didn’t feel like I was making the impact that I wanted to make and I wasn’t really loving the way that I spent my time.

And so I decided to make a change so that I could live even more aligned with what mattered to me. Is that growth? Sure. But I didn’t do it for growth’s sake. I did it because I became aware of a way in which there felt like a gap that I could close, existed. So I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a personal thing, the word growth kind of sometimes feels icky to me.

Myth number five for this episode, is that avoiding or not avoiding places or items that are connected to the person that we’ve lost, helps with grief. Just this universal idea, avoiding or not avoiding places or items connected with the person that we lost helps with grief. Not necessarily. Not necessarily. Sometimes avoiding something actually feels like love. Sometimes facing a place or an item feels like love. It’s not universal. Sometimes we’re ready. Sometimes we’re not. There are ways to do it that are loving and helpful. And there are ways to do it that cause more trauma.

So again, we just want to be careful of the absolutes that avoiding or not avoiding is right or wrong. It’s not. Different strokes for different folks. Let’s figure out a way that works for you and helps you get where you want to be. That’s how I hope you’ll choose to see it.

Myth number six, and this goes both ways too. Professional help is only for those who can’t manage grief on their own. Basically, you should be able to handle it on your own, myth, myth, myth. Professional help is available for anyone who wants it. And we are all worthy of the exact support and care that we want. Professional help doesn’t mean weakness. And also I see that sometimes we think the opposite is true, which is another myth that professional help is always required. It’s not. Some people don’t find a lot of value or really don’t benefit that much from professional help, that’s okay too.

Again, do what works for you without the absolutes. You are not weak for asking for support and getting support. And I applaud the many ways in which that is possible. I love it when a client comes to me and they have a whole team of people, of different places that they’re getting support. So they have a great relationship with doctors for different reasons. They have great relationships with people who specialize in trauma and maybe they have a support group that they go to. They’re not afraid to figure out what will help them and let themselves have it. That’s what I want for all of us.

And then also for those of us who haven’t gotten any professional help, maybe that’s okay. Maybe there’s no value in it for you. Maybe the way you’re doing it is exactly what works for you. And maybe you could be the authority on that instead of falling for an absolute that says you must have or you shouldn’t have. There really just are no absolutes in grief, you all. There really just aren’t any wrongs or rights. It’s a unique, subjective experience, all of us are having a different one. It’s impossible to do it wrong.

We just want to ask ourselves what is helpful to us. And let that evolve and change over time, because what might be helpful for you today might be stifling for you in six months. And you can be the authority on that without having somebody else tell you what you need. That’s what I think.

Also a reminder, Grief Plateau Masterclass coming up for you. If you would like to join us, that will be Tuesday, March 5th, from 3:30 to 5:00pm Central. It will be recorded if you can’t catch it live. You can go to coachingwithkrista.com/griefplateau and find out all the details there. Again, coachingwithkrista.com/griefplateau. And of course, you’re always welcome on my free Ask Krista Anything calls. You are welcome to apply for a spot in Mom Goes On. Whatever support you want, go get it. And if you’re doing great on your own that’s awesome too.

Okay, that’s what I have for you this week. I love you, you’ve got this. Take care and I’ll see you next time. Bye bye.

If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence. Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than what you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click Work With Me for details and next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.

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About your coach

I created a new life using small, manageable steps and techniques that made sense. The changes I experienced were so profound I became a Master Certified Life Coach and created a group coaching program for widows like us called Mom Goes On. It’s now my mission to show widowed moms exactly how to do what I’ve done and create a future they can look forward to.

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