The one thing you should probably never say to someone who’s experienced loss or a cancer diagnosis is, get over it, or something like, I thought you’d be over it by now. Or, it’s time to move on.
It’s been three years since my dad died and no, I’m not over it. Oh sure, I’ve adjusted. I’ve adapted. I’ve moved forward. (Not on.)
But over it?
No, I am not.
Of course, no one has ever directly said, you should be over it by now or anything to that effect. No one has ever implied it either. Not that I know of anyway.
Sadly, this is not the case for everyone who’s experienced loss.
For a good read on this, take a look at this piece: The Grief Experience: Survey Shows It’s Complicated.
Telling someone to “get over it” just might be the one thing you should never say to someone who’s grieving. And it doesn’t matter how fresh the loss is.
Of course, people don’t usually come right and say such a bold thing, but the message is sometimes implied, nonetheless.
Maybe YOU’VE heard such a message – directly or indirectly.
If so, how did hearing it make you feel?
Probably the latter, right?
Life-altering events like the death of a loved one or a cancer diagnosis, change a person.
The old you is gone. For good.
Some can’t handle this and prefer that you just be over whatever it is/was that changed you, perhaps more for their sake than yours.
After all, avoidance of difficult topics is not an uncommon behavior.
But when you think about it, how could you be the same after either?
And this doesn’t mean you are better or worse. (Don’t get me started on the idea that cancer transforms you into a new and improved version of yourself.)
You might want to read, After a Cancer Diagnosis You’re a Better Person, Right?
What doesn’t kill you doesn’t necessarily make you stronger. Yeah, that song sorta irks me.
You’re just different now.
And yet, you’re the same too.
That sounds contradictory because it is. It’s complicated. People are complicated. Life is complicated. Death is too.
I still have days when I miss my dad so much it takes me by surprise, for lack of a better phrase. The emotions are still close to the surface at times. Sometimes, I still feel quite lost.
And this is okay.
It makes no sense to think grief is something to get over after three years. Or five. Or ten. Or whatever passage of time you choose.
You don’t get over the love you felt/feel for your dear one who’s died.
What you can do, or try to do, is integrate your experience of loss into your life and make it part of who you are.
I’m still figuring that out, which is one of the reasons I choose to write about grief even though doing so perhaps makes some uncomfortable.
If you are trying to figure this out, too, I’d love to hear from you.
After all, navigating grief is easier when done together rather than alone too.
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Has anyone ever suggested to you that you should be over grief (or cancer) by now?
If so, how did you respond?
What’s a hurtful thing someone has said to you about grief (or cancer)
What is something said that really helped?
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