"He can run, but he can't hide."
That famous line is attributed to heavyweight boxing champ, Joe Louis, in 1946. Joe's statement was in reaction to being told that his next opponent, Billy Conn, was very fast and would try to run around the ring to avoid getting hit by Mighty Joe.
In that squared space, oddly called a boxing ring, one can imagine the relentless Joe Louis tracking his smaller, darting prey until the little darter ran out of steam. Some accounts of the actual fight indicate that's pretty much what happened.
Might seem odd to start an article on grief and loss with that reference, but it will soon make sense.
In our 35 years of helping grieving people, we've seen thousands of people who try desperately to avoid feeling and dealing directly with their grief. Exhausted, they eventually wound up at our door, much the worse for wear. And that's just the ones who showed up here. The real number of hurting people would be off the charts.
The question could legitimately be asked, "Why would people do that?" The answer—even if it seems a bit naïve—is another question, "Who would want to feel bad if they didn't have to?"
The solution is not quite so simple. Along with other incorrect ideas about dealing with loss, almost every grieving person is advised to keep busy. Ask any widow or widower; ask any grieving parent or mourning child. They all hear keep busy, and variations on that theme, countless times following the death of someone important to them. That advice comes from well-meaning, well-intended people who love them and care about them.