On Grief

2016 August 21

There is no exclusivity to grief. When someon dies, almost all of the time, there are many who grieve. While people do grieve in different ways, at the basis of it all is the simple fact that someone has been on this earth and now that person is gone, leaving a hole for those who knew and loved him or her.

Perhaps one reason that people deal with grief in different ways is due to life experience. If you never experienced grief as a young person (say less than 25 or so), then you most likely have a different take on it. If you have never experienced heartbreak over and over again, you don’t know what it feels like to continue to be let down. If you have never ventured out into the wilderness, alone in the darkness, you don’t know what that fear can feel like, when something steps on a stick and breaks it. If you have not experienced great loss, you may not know, understand, and appreciate the good things that you have, no matter how or when you got those things.

Hard work takes effort. Effort takes doing the right thing, even when you don’t want to. Doing the right thing? Well it is just doing what’s right, for the situation, at the time you are in the situation, putting aside all ofyour own fears, needs, and desires, and plowing ahead into the do right school of hard knocks. If you can’t do the right thing, then don’t do at all. Just don’t.

Grief, as a whole, is something that long-term partners seem to either deal with well or badly. Doing it well, partners seem to move ahead, knowing that the deceased partner would not want to see the living slogging through a crummy existence just to be on the earth. Moving on by going to activities, meeting up with friends or family, remembering to eat and clean, and living peacefully with the memories of the deceased. Doing it badly usually ends up with the living only living through the deceased. The memories can kill a person if he or she lets them. They really can. Blocked inside a shell of existence of his former self, a man can simply fade away if he doesn’t move on.

When a family grieves over a loved one, no one family member will act like all the others. All the others won’t act the same. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays all come up, and dealing with those is what provides an outlet for memories for them all. Not dealing with them or pushing them under the rug is just about the worst thing one can do. You have to, as a human, learn that death is part of life. Yes, you miss the person. Yes, you want to speak to him or her one more time. But, you can’t. You have to deal with it, and you have to move ahead.

Support from others is also paramount during this time. Without a listening ear, or a watchful eye, a grieving person can enclose themselves into a cucoon of lonliness and despair. Is it fun to have to deal with someone grieving? No. Is it something any family member looks forward to? No. Is it doing the right thing? Yes.

Grief, in all it’s intriacy is complicated and messy. Death is final. That’s it. Game over. But, the grieving goes on and on. Everyone, at some point, will grieve over someone or some thing (like a pet). Even the hardest criminal grieves when a long-term cellmate passes away. Parent – child, child – parent, spouse – spouse, partner – partner, friend – friend. It happens to us all. Everyone also has their own way of grieving. There is no right or wrong way. It’s personal. But, since there is no right or wrong way, then it also means that it’s neither right or wrong the way someone else grieves. Perhaps, like me, you remain stoic at the funeral service. You don’t cry. You even laugh, unfortunately, remembering something funny that was said. You are the one who is always chosen to write the obituary, because you are the only person who is actually calm enough to gather the facts into a coherent message to pass along to the masses. Other people may look at you strangely, thinking that you don’t care, that you aren’t missing the person, etc., but you do care. You just grieve differently than they do. You grieve in private, on a wam sunny day, when your thoughts can roam about and give play to whatever comes to mind. It’s your style, although it’s different from some.

Grief – it’s not an exclusionary sport for sure. Remember that when you have others around you. Let them grieve at their own pace, at their own time, in the spaces that feel best to them. And certainly don’t hold it against them if they aren’t just like you.

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