HIV POSITIVE  Caretakers
Coping With A Loss

Grief Is Difficult

Western culture tends to glorify youth, health and living, and to deny death, as if it were not part of the human experience. Death is a part of life, as birth is a part of life. Society provides little to support people who are grieving. At best, we get a few days off from work, then it's back to "normal." Many of us receive messages that encourage us to hide feelings, to grieve bravely and alone, and to quickly replace the loss. For example, you may be told, "You have to be brave for the children" and, "You're still young - you'll marry again/have another child/get over it quickly." People are often uncomfortable with our grief -- they don't know what to say and try to avoid the subject or the grieving person. They are afraid of our pain and our feelings.

"I had a friend tell me she didn't call me on the day that would have been my son's birthday because it would have reminded me and made me sad. Reminded me? He was all I was thinking of, and nobody called, and I was so lonely."

"Every time I heard someone say, 'I know just how you feel,' I wanted to choke them! they couldn't know, they couldn't guess a tenth of what I felt. It was a way of avoiding talking about what I really was feeling -- I felt that my feelings and I were being casually dismissed."

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