Last month Zoomer magazine published an article challenging the idea that all people fall apart following a bereavement. They admit that their subjects were self-selected and a rather small sample, which may have biased the results of the study. I would have to agree with both statements: not everyone does fall apart, and that their choice of subjects did bias the outcome of the study. Zoomer magazine is one that is aimed at an aging populace, and those who have reached a mature age have probably experienced sufficient bereavement that they do not fall apart when faced with yet another. Sometimes, as we have discussed earlier, the death of a spouse has been long and difficult, making the death almost a relief. Life can now be resumed without the constraints of caring for the dying. Much of the burden of grief has already been released through the thousand goodbyes as the relationship slips away piece by piece. Often there has already been time to adjust to new roles and to find help with unfamiliar tasks. Thus, it may appear that some people do not grieve as deeply (read here "as well") as we might like.
For those of us who have lived through many bereavements, death becomes a natural end to life. We may no longer fall apart for long periods of time, but we do grieve. The sadness we feel may not devastate us or cause us to lose time at work. But, I would suggest, it is foolish to think that we are not grieving. When we lose our temper over relatively minor events, or rush into questionable relationships or committments, when we change jobs or pack up and move, we may in fact be responding to unresolved grief. I would caution those of us who do not fall apart to be especially gentle with ourselves, and to put off major decisions for at least 6 months, if possible.