My Grief Care

Misconceptions About Grief

12 Episodes

Episode 4 : Why Grievers Don’t Need to Be Strong


Episode Notes

Grievers Don't Need to Be Strong

Grievers can feel pressure from themselves and others that they need to be strong at a time when they may feel anything but strong.

Since you lost your loved one, you may have heard things like “You are strong. You need to be strong, or “You need to be strong for _____.” Or maybe you are telling yourself that.

Many times after Mark suddenly died, I heard, “Anne-Marie, you are so strong.” I kept thinking, “What? Are you crazy? I am not strong. I am just surviving. Being alive does not make me strong. I am barely hanging on here. And you telling me that I am strong is just making me feel like I have to appear that I am doing better than I am, which adds more pressure on me, or makes me feel like there is something wrong with me if I don’t actually feel like I am being strong. I felt so weak and depleted.

Believing we should be strong encourages us to pretend that we are okay, which can actually hinder our grieving process. 

Sure, we have times where we have to keep it together and act like we are feeling better than we are, but don’t be alarmed if you don’t feel strong. I felt crushed, worn, and overwhelmed; not strong at all. I knew that I needed to be gentle with myself and lower my expectations of what I was capable of. I knew I needed self-care, and we will discuss that more in other episodes.

Thinking we need to stay strong for someone else puts pressure on us to act like we are recovered when we actually aren’t and can stunt our own healing process.

Some of the ways we may think we are being strong, but that can actually hurt us are:

  • Stuffing your own feelings so as to not upset others
  • Getting the job done no matter how exhausted you are
  • Having young children in your care and not letting them see you cry
  • You are the boss or leader at work and can’t let anyone know that you are weary and keep pushing

As you hold others up, make sure that you are acknowledging your own grief and pain, and be realistic about what you can do.

Pick a select few persons that you can be vulnerable with and build a support system. We have an entire section on support for you; this is so important.

After the devastating loss of a loved one, I’m impressed every time we get through another day. I want to remind you that I am living proof that you can get through this, that there is hope, and that you will not always be where you are now. When you are in it, it’s sometimes very hard to believe this.

TRUTH: You are probably not very strong right now and maybe quite fragile. Recognize the strength in being vulnerable with safe people. Acknowledge your condition and create a support system.


  • Is there any area where you are taking on too much because you feel you need to be strong or you don’t want to let people down?
  • Is there anyone in your life who is safe for you and with who you could be vulnerable?
  • Check out our self-care series and our resources page with lots of options so that you can create your own support system.  



Real strength is in acknowledging your weakness.