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How to Tell Others that You Want to Grieve Alone


Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Apr 03, 2017

How to Tell Others that You Want to Grieve Alone

What's the word we use most often when describing grief? Personal. The act is personal, and the emotion is, as well. Although people tend to grieve in groups, or at least with relatives and close friends, not everyone feels comfortable doing that. Some people prefer to experience most, if not all, of their most powerful emotions alone while others feel that way only about feelings such as bereavement or sadness. The point is, some mourners prefer to grieve alone. Don't feel like you're the only one. Even though you're the one going through a tragedy, our society mourns together. It's thus hard to even feel as if you can approach the subject, let alone actually spend time by yourself. That places you in a terrible, uncomfortable predicament where you're unable to feel or express your emotions. To avoid the risk of offending, confusing, or hurting family and loved ones, you do what's expected—but you don't have to do that. Even in times of anguish, you can tactfully and respectfully take the time to grieve by yourself.

Explain that You Need Time to Process

Giving your loved ones a reason for your absence is often the key. Not all of them will be placated, but a reasonable, logical, and open explanation can go a long way toward soothing hurt feelings and ruffled feathers. Simply let everyone know that you need time on your own to process your pain. Let them know that you're not trying to be selfish or cruel, you're just devastated and overwhelmed, and you need to get through the very worst of your bereavement on your own.

Reveal the Intensity of Your Feelings

You don't have to open up to anyone before you're ready. However, you can share with your loved ones that your emotions are so intense right now, you cannot bear to let anyone see you while you're this raw and this vulnerable. This might open up the floor to admonishments and the insistence that you can be vulnerable around your family, but there's an explanation that can handle that eventuality, too.

Promise to Join the Group at a Later Time

Bargaining will usually stem the flow of chiding, but you should only do this if you're comfortable. Tell your family that you will come together with them during another key part of the funeral process. Perhaps you can handle the viewing or wake, the funeral itself, or the get-together afterward if there is one. If not, then make a solid plan to see the members of your inner circle, i.e. the closest relatives and friends you shared with the deceased.

There is nothing wrong or rude about wanting to grieve on your own. Some people simply prefer it that way, and that's completely understandable, particular if you're very raw, vulnerable, or affected. Have you ever run into this issue? Do you think you might step up and announce that you're spending the bereavement period by yourself?