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It is allowed to smile

Some people told us they felt guilty when all of a sudden, they had fun again. If you know this feeling, then this post is for you.

We have discussed a lot about how important it is to respect personal time without rushing the process. In the great interview with Dr Elaine Gomes dos reis Alves, for instance, she talks about people who are out of the process and insist on pulling the bereaved one back to life; many times disrespecting limits, rhythm and wishes. Definitely it is needed to have patience.

However, we hear from several people that in a specific moment f the grieving process, usually when pain gives a break and a little bit of happiness seems to be back, a new feeling surprises the bereaved one: Guilt! And we discovered with the specialists that feeling guilt is absolutely normal. But a person who has never experienced a grieving process must be asking: What are they talking about? How come someone who has gone through so much pain may feel guilty?’ It is very simple: somehow, a person who lost someone may feel guilty for being happy dancing in a party, laughing at a work lunch or doing something mundane…or for having forgotten the deceased one for some minutes.

It doesn’t have to be this way, nobody has to feel guilty for anything, but many times this happens. And as we learned in this interview with Dr Elaine, the permission for being happy again can take a long time but it is a good sign for the grieving process. “ Nowadays we don’t talk about the end of the grieving process anymore. We talk about the end of the elaboration process. It is when the bereaved one starts  to make plans without the person who passed away. In the case of  a widow, for instance, this doesn’t mean having a new girlfriend or boyfriend. But it is when we understand that the person is no longer there and therefore decide to move on. And we allow ourselves to be happy. This is a very complicated authorization because during the grieving there is a lot of guilt. The bereaved one punishes him/herself for forgetting the beloved person for one day, for some minutes. Deciding to be happy again is a betrayal and realizing this takes a personal time that each person needs.”

Marina Papi Illustration for 'Let’s talk about grieving?'
Marina Papi Illustration for ‘Let’s talk about grieving?’