Dear Counsellor | Am I grieving correctly?
Q There are family and friends who are questioning how I am grieving over my wife. We were happily married. Our business was holding its own. We communicated well. We enjoyed each other's company. We went many places together. We had plans for the future. Then, suddenly and tragically she was taken from us in the dead of the night. I did not go to see the mangled body neither did I go to the autopsy. Some people are claiming that I did not love her and that is why I did not look at the dead body. Others say I should look at her as a part of the grieving process. I just wanted to remember her alive. I did not even view the body at the church. I cried during the funeral service but nobody saw. Some are claiming that I am bottling things up and I need to do a big bawl out. However, when my son was crying uncontrollably everybody was telling him to man up and stop the crying. I am confused. In addition, some of her relatives are wanting to know what she died leaving because she did not leave a will and they want the female stuff since it is only my son and me. Some are looking for handouts. What should I do and what should I say?
A You should ignore them and grieve in your own way and at your own pace. If it works for you that you did not look at her dead body, then fine. Your avoidance of viewing her dead body could however, mean that you are in denial that your wife is dead. But nothing is wrong with you wanting to dwell on pleasant memories. In any case you have cried and let out some of the pain. Grieving is a process and you will go through different stages and express varied emotions. In addition, allow your son to express his emotions. Protect him as far as possible from negative people.
The relatives are most insensitive in expecting financial reward from your wife's death. They should be handing you money to take care of funeral expenses and expenses associated with raising your child as a single parent.
I hope you have good support to counter these negative people. Condolences to you and your son.