Grief can be a finite process that has a beginning, a middle and an end.
“In a previous study, we found that the majority of bereaved parents interviewed after the loss of a child were able to adjust to the child’s death and to integrate the experience into daily life, navigating the fine line between remembering their deceased child and reliving their intense grief, while also engaging in their family life and jobs.” In Death Studies, 33: 497–520, 2009
It is not uncommon to hear people say they would never get over the death of a child. It is important for therapists to confront this faulty belief in some way. Humans can get over tremendous loss if the bereavement process is dealt with properly. It is also important for therapists to let the client know that grief can be finite.
The pain from the loss of a loved one can be severe but it can also be temporary.
One hears statements made by therapists such as: “You will grieve at your pace, in your time and in your way”. Whilst this is somewhat true it is potentially harmful as it gives the person permission to extend their grief process for many years in some cases.
When I work with clients who have had the loss of a child at some point I will usually say that 80 years ago parents would have 7 or 8 children because half of them were likely to die before they reached adulthood. We have become a death phobic society and become hyper sensitized to death as we progressively remove ‘offensive’ images and material from our lives and vision. The less we see such images like of dead people, the more hyper sensitized we become to them and the more images we need to remove. This is particularly happening in the news media.