My response: I'm so sorry this happened to you ~ and coming from your dad, I'm sure it cut you to the core. It certainly speaks to the fact that we all have a lot of educating to do, doesn't it? Your dad may have been raised to believe that "moving on" was the healthy thing to do following the death of a loved one, but now of course we know better. Your dad may not realize that today we recognize that grief is a process and mourning takes time ~ and great effort as well.
Unfortunately this sort of pressure to "move on" conveys such a negative message, especially at this very early point in your family's grief journey. You've just lost a husband and your son has lost his father, and barely two months later it feels like you're both being judged by your dad for not "doing" your grief properly or quickly enough! It's what Rabbi Earl Grollman once described as being treated like a bereavement failure or, in his words, "an under-achiever who has flunked a grief course." The truth is that grief takes as long as it takes, and there is no right or wrong way to "do" it.
People in the freshest throes of grief are wounded: we are more vulnerable, more easily hurt, and more sensitive to the comments and behavior of others. In an ideal world, at times of grief we would be surrounded by those who deeply care, understand and accept the depth of our loss, and who will give us all the time we need to come to terms with it. But the world is not ideal, and we do have to deal with others, both at home and in the workplace. I want to encourage you and your son to continue to seek the support of those who do understand your experience and accept your feelings. Reach out to your close friends, other family members or acquaintances, and even strangers (such as those you'll find in a grief support group or in the forums in our online Grief Healing Discussion Groups) who are willing to listen to your story. And no matter how good their intentions, don't let others judge how well you or your son are doing with your grief.
I don't know if you're of a mind to do so, but if you think it would help, you might consider printing out one or more of these articles, and giving them to your father to read:
- Helping Another in Grief
- Common Myths and Misconceptions about Grief
- What Is Not Helpful to the Person in Mourning
- Words of Comfort for the Person in Mourning
- Words to Avoid When Comforting the Bereaved
- Grief Support: When Others Fail to Meet Our Expectations
- Understanding Different Mourning Patterns in Your Family
- You Should Be Over "IT"
- Forget The Past?
Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing Newsletter. Sign up here.
- Sibling Loss: Coping with the Insensitivity of Others
- Support the Support by Pamela Hester King
- The World Moves On by Barbara Mason