I lost my father, mother, and wife, all traumatic events. But, the grief was different in each case. Everyone grieves differently, for different reasons.
My different reactions to the three deaths:
My Dad’s death—I was fifteen years old. Of course I was shocked but I also felt abandoned. I needed my Dad at fifteen! I was angry that I had lost my adolescent guide. A selfish reaction of a kid!
My Mother’s death—I was thirty-two years old. I felt very sad that my mom was gone. I was now an orphan! But my mother was sick (diabetes complications), so it was merciful that she didn’t have to suffer anymore.
My Wife’s death—My wife was fifty-seven years old, so was I. She died of cancer and it took her quick. I felt it was so unfair because she was looking forward to retirement. I felt lots of anxiety about the future without my wife. Many things were left unsaid also. Guilt feelings overwhelmed me because I was still alive and she wasn’t.
But I did survive these sad times. Time is the healer!
One of the most interesting features of grief, which sets it off from other emotions, is that it’s not only appropriate but also obligatory!
It’s appropriate to grieve, in fact, if you lost someone close to you and didn’t grieve, people and yourself would wonder what’s wrong with you! It’s obligatory in the sense that it is something you ought to do, it is required by custom! You ought to feel the pain of the loss!
Anger and denial are also part of the grieving process. Emotions usually have to do with some sort of desire. But what is the desire in grief? What you want in grief is IMPOSSIBLE! It’s a strange emotion, this grief, because what you want is for the person who has died to come back!
Grief triggers off many thoughts, some pleasurable, such as thinking of you life with the deceased, some morbid!
Grief reminds us of our own mortality. This sparks off the fear of your own death. But the philosophers tell us, “Death is Nothing”. No pleasures and no experiences. These you had when you were alive.
So, it’s BIRTH—LIFE—DEATH. Enjoy and be creative and productive in between! So, we are NOT afraid of death, which is nothingness. We are afraid of the process of dying, which includes sickness, pain and degeneration. There is a social side to all of this also, you don’t want to leave family and friends.
But grief can have a joyful side too. It can be a celebration of the lost loved one, and also, a happiness at being ALIVE!
So, in the end, you do gain, in the sense that you appreciate the time you have been together and you appreciate what it is to be ALIVE!
IT’S ALL IN THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THINGS!