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Grief Is a Very Personal Thing

Posted by terrepruitt on November 1, 2011

So how do you handle grief?  Pub med says, “Grief is a reaction to a major loss.”  But then it says, “It is most often an unhappy and painful emotion.”  Wiki states, “While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, and grief is the reaction to loss.” I guess they mean grief is an EMOTIONAL reaction to a major loss.  In relation to death, I believe that everyone grieves in their own way.  You have probably heard about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  I believe that these are emotions or feelings that people might go through when they are grieving.  And just because someone identified these stages doesn’t mean everyone goes through each stage.  If people do experience them they might not even be in this stated order.  These were just created to help people understand, to cope, and to connect, knowing that you aren’t the only one who felt angry or were in a state of denial.  Most important grief is very personal.

We all handle grief differently.  We all handle our emotions differently.  I believe that people can feel whatever they feel.  We don’t always have control over what we feel.  Emotions sometimes just pop up.  Sometimes they might even surprise us if we look at them.  Feelings are what they are.  I think it is healthy to let yourself feel whatever comes up.  I don’t think emotions should be pushed aside or ignored.  I don’t think they should be stifled.  Emotions just happen.

Nia Teacher, Oct. 23, 2011, Nia classI do believe that our reaction to our own emotions or the action we take while experiencing feelings might need to be regulated or contained.  For instance if you are grieving and angry it does not help the situation to lash out at those around you.  Others are sad too, and maybe they are angry too, but allowing all that anger to come out in harsh words and temper tantrums does no good at all.  When one is mean because they are angry at the situation, it does more harm than good.  I can understand someone feeling so much pain the first reaction might be to lash out, but for most people saying mean words and forming hurtful sentences is not a habit so in order to be so unkind it takes more effort than just a spur of the moment reaction.  Continuing to be cruel is something I deem unacceptable.

I also believe that as long as you are not harming anyone or causing harm to yourself you should be allowed to grieve in your own way for as long as you need to.  If I were to not get dressed and do nothing for two weeks, I wouldn’t really be harming anyone.  My circumstances would allow me to check out for a couple of weeks.  As long as it didn’t last too long it could be good for me.  But if I were in a situation where I was a caregiver, let’s say I had kids, it would not be acceptable for me to do nothing for two weeks.  Doing nothing for two weeks would cause harm to the children.  So how you act because of the grief really depends on the situation, but since it is so personal it is not easy to say that one’s way of acting is wrong.

I also think that there really is no time limit on sadness.  I think the sorrow will last forever.  I think there are moments of sadness.  But I also think that there is joy, it is ok to be happy.  It is ok to go on living.  I think it is even ok to recall the deceased with happiness.  I always marvel at instances where people’s behavior is deemed unacceptable.  Again, if they are not causing harm, then they should be able to deal with their grief in their own way.   I think it is healthy to allow yourself time and what you need in order to cope.  There are definitely as many ways to deal with loss as there are people. Grief and the way one works through it is a very personal thing.

6 Responses to “Grief Is a Very Personal Thing”

  1. niachick said

    Grief and grieving are a very personal thing, yes, I absolutely agree. I also resonate with your statement that one can’t control what emotions come up. I want to reiterate here though what you also said…and I’m paraphrasing your words…that how we respond and react to those emotions is key. We are responsible for our creations — as we interact with others the energy that we offer is exactly what comes back. Just because I’m angry or grieving does not mean that I can strike out at you (or anyone) physically or otherwise — if I did, I would be creating the avenue for that same energy to come back at me.

    I know the loss of a loved one is a major life-changing event. I understand that. I’ve lost my mother, my father, my nephew, my best friend and several other good friends. My process is to take the time to grieve and give thanks for this person’s life on earth and then it is my responsibility to emotionally let them go. My grieving process is personal, but brief. My experience has taught me that although the word “death” carries alot of weight emotionally it is actually (for me) a very sacred and holy time. The physical body no longer encompasses the brilliance and beauty of that loved one’s spirit. The “body” — the physical body is what “dies”, not the spirit. I am so thankful to know that my loved ones’ spirits — which is what I truly loved about each and every one of them — not their physical bodies — are with me.

    Thank you for so beautifully articulating something that is so very personal for every person. I am honored to have you in my life.




    • Grieving and death are so different for everyone. I received Alan Davidson’s newsletter and I loved the quote he had in there, “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ~ Mitch Albom (Tuesdays With Morrie) I posted it as my Facebook status and I tweeted it. The timing of his information is often uncanny.

      Thank you for reading and for leaving such a well voiced comment.



  2. You are so right. It is very personal and individual. This post moved me, because it touched on my own moments of sadness and how they affected me.
    My mom is still grieving for her husband. It’s been over three years now. Breaks my heart. 😦


    • Since it is so personal it is difficult sometimes to just let people “be”. Some people might not agree with how someone is “handling it” or behaving, but people need to work through it. Most of the time it is new to us, even if we have had to deal with death in the past, each one is different. I can see me posting more on this because there is so much to say. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Hugs to you!


  3. suzicate said

    You are correct. Grief is very personal. We all deal with it differently, just as our personalities are different so are our losses. All we can do is support one another, no judgment, just hugs, and words of love and ackowledgment.


    • You are right the BEST thing we can do is support one another, no judgment, just hugs, and words of love and ackowledgment, but unfortunately, that is not always what happens.

      Hugs to you!


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