In our predominantly fun childhood, the one thing kids were never allowed to do was to participate in the funeral-related activities when someone passed away. Grief and sadness were simply not on the agenda. When someone died, my brothers, sisters, and I would keep playing kickball and jumping on the trampoline, while our parents did funeral things.

After the service, we rarely talked about the person who had died. Even in the years that followed, we didn’t do much to remember our beloved family members who were now gone.

As an adult, I learned quickly that shielding kids from sorrow is a big mistake and can create confusion and cluelessness around death and loss.

The unfamiliar, unpleasant emotions felt a lot like crazy to me. I had no idea if the deep sadness, the lack of desire to be around humans, or the inability to stop crying were normal parts of grieving.

Was it normal to feel . . .

  • foggy, exhausted, and anxious?

  • physical pain, like an elephant is standing on your chest?

  • icky, like you have the flu?

  • tearful and fearful of melting down in public?

  • tired, but unable to sleep?

  • restless, but unable to wake up?

How about you?

Do the grief-related emotions ever make you feel a little crazy? I wish someone had told me, “You are not going crazy. You are grieving.” That’s true for you, too.  Write about any unexpected emotions you’ve been experiencing. You’re not going crazy. You are grieving.

Excerpted from Beth Marshall’s book, Uncrushed. Purchase it here.

Read more from Beth on Open to Hope: Communicating Your Needs When Grieving – Open to Hope

Beth Marshall

Beth Marshall is a freelance journalist, speaker and author of two grief-related books. Grief Survivor, 28 Steps toward Hope and Healing; and A Time to Heal, a grief journal. After losing three close people in her life, Beth felt crushed and overwhelmed by the intense emotions of grief. As she began to write about her "uniquely awesome" family members, Marshall eventually began to smile again- and even laugh. Her hope is to help others discover joy-filled life after loss.

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