Grief Is Hard

Gray stone heart surrounded by green mossBy Judy Brizendine

For once, let’s forget about dancing around the bush – or being politically correct. Let’s agree not to sweep the truth under the rug and stay silent. If you’ve faced a major loss, you know the truth. Grief is hard.

Even grief professionals are sometimes surprised and overwhelmed when they face a profound personal loss. No one is insulated from the effects of grief on their own life, even someone who is well-versed in the subject and is accustomed to helping others make their way through experiences of loss.

Why the Truth Matters

Remember the book The Road Less Traveled? Peck’s introductory words to the book were “Life is hard.” There’s something powerful about knowing and understanding up-front the way things are. Then you have a starting point for understanding what you face; you can begin to shore up your strength and set your mind (in this case, toward healing); learn what to expect with grief; and, when the time is right, you can begin to move forward, even if it is inch by inch. Some may see this as a defeatist attitude, but I don’t. I see this viewpoint as empowering.

I think you’re only setting yourself up to be knocked down later on if you believe the idea that grief is like a walk in the park. It isn’t.

We’re reluctant to talk about grief, much less talk about it frankly. And some folks even feel guilty about grieving – especially when others who don’t understand begin to push them to get over their grief too quickly and move on with life.

The Truth about Grief

Profound loss hurts more than we ever imagined. It lasts longer than we thought it would. And we don’t understand the tangled mess our emotions become. We don’t expect the isolation we feel. And we’re surprised by our lack of tolerance for things going on around us that are insensitive or simply do not matter.

I emphasize all of this to assure anyone who is on a grief journey that they are not different; they are not alone in what they are feeling and experiencing; and they are perfectly normal. Grief will try to make you feel as though you’re crazy. You are not.

Yes, grief is hard. But grief is also normal – a natural response to loss. And you CAN work through your grief in a healthy way. Perhaps not as quickly or easily as you’d like – but you can work through your grief and lead a healthy, happy, and productive life again.

Helpful Actions

Anchor yourself early on to the truth that you will find a way through grief and lead a fulfilling life again. Setting your mind and heart in this direction is powerful. I believe my conscious decision early on that I would do whatever was necessary to heal from my grief – and not allow myself to become bitter over my loss – gave me strength to carry on when I felt weak. Others have gone before you and found these things to be true. They can be true for you, too.

Grief is hard. But it’s not the end. It’s the beginning of a change in your life … and you will determine how the change colors your life moving forward.

© 2015 Judy Brizendine
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Related reading:

Grief Is Hard Work – Dr. Carolyn DeMarco
When Grief is Hard but God is Greater – Rachel Rewritten blog
Grief is Like – Pat Schwiebert, R.N., from
Grief is Hard Work – Kira Elliott
Things I Wish I’d Known about Grief – Judy Brizendine


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3 Responses to “Grief Is Hard”

  1. A wise, honest, and kind article, Judy. Thank you. I look forward to sharing it on my FB page this coming week. Today I led a hospice bereavement group with a harpist who is our hospice music director. Many wept in relief because they could speak openly about their losses. Some were shy in the beginning. By the end, most had shared tears, their hearts, and phone numbers.

    • admin says:

      Thank you so much, Elaine. I respect and appreciate your feedback, and also thank you for sharing the article.