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Chrissy Teigen’s heartbreaking photos reminded me that there is no right way to grieve

This variation in grief response is perfectly normal, says Ajita Robinson, Ph.D., author of The Gift of Grief: A Practical Guide to Grief and Loss. “The way we all express ourselves [grief] is unique to us, ”she says. “The loss itself can be shared, but the answer is unique and individual.”

That being said, there are some universal emotions that people feel when they lose someone who is important. Disbelief and shock usually come first when people try to grapple with the finality of the death of a loved one, Robinson says. Anger, ubiquitous sadness, and negotiating with a higher power are also common, she adds. “It really is this space that you just don̵

7;t feel anchored in.” And then there are the consequences of learning to adapt to life after loss. That could mean trying to make sense. For example, if someone died of a certain disease, you could create a foundation in their honor, Robinson says. “But how we express ourselves [these common emotions] can look very different, ”adds Robinson.

Some people mourn more actively. Robinson’s sense, in large part thanks to gendered socialization, that people should or should not mourn, and found that men are more likely to “go back to work and get employed.” It can almost seem like they are about to return to normal life and not be affected by the loss, but most of the time they are trying to restore stability after a very destabilizing event, explains Robinson. Staying busy and getting all affairs in order can also be a way to honor and prioritize the deceased, Robinson says. “And it could be the last time we can take care of her.”

Other people are more likely to seek support and express what they’re feeling, Robinson says. (Myself.) Women tend to fall back into this camp more because we’re socialized more often to show our feelings, she adds. And then there are other factors that can affect the grieving process. For example, someone with economic and professional stability may have the space to take time off and speak up on their emotions, while someone who lacks this can be forced into survival mode to return to work because they have to. Other things, like belief and a support system, also affect the way we respond to loss, says Robinson.

There is probably only one “wrong” way to grieve, says Robinson. “Not [allowing yourself to grieve] can enable you to experience complex heartache, ”she says. Complicated grief (also known as persistent complex grief disorder or persistent grief disorder) occurs when you cannot adjust to the loss after six months to a year. The symptoms of grief last longer than normal and are severe enough to get in the way of your life. (Learn more about complicated grief here.) Avoiding the process of grieving can also help you deal with it in unhealthy ways, such as, B. with self-medication or risky behavior, says Robinson.

Taking photos in honor of a tragic loss – as Teigen and Legend did – is just another way some people deal with. For the very visual people, taking photos may be the best way to capture that memory and appreciate the loss, says Robinson. “Some people fear forgetting the feeling and sensation. How do you integrate this moment into your life? Whether or not a baby is born and survived, it changes families. In order not to catch and honor it, it is denied that something has fundamentally changed in life. “

Of course, it’s 1 million percent okay if photographing a tragic moment doesn’t help you. What is wrong is judging other people for who it is doing. “We can’t decide how people honor an experience,” says Robinson. But … there are clearly so many people who believe they can.

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