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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Grief doesn't care what is proper, part 2

As I noted in the blog post Grief doesn't care what is proper, part 1, grief like love exists independent of what society thinks is proper or approves of.  The focus of the first part was grief's look or form and society's timetable on grief.
As we know, we grieve how and on what timetable our soul 'tells' us to.  Now we may outwardly conform to societal expectations, but inwardly the grief remains and needs to be expressed.

In part 2 of this blog concept, I will explore the 'whom' questions of grief.  That is to say, who are expected or not expected to grieve for and whom we are allowed or not allowed to grieve for.

  • Expectations on whom to grieve for
    • We are expected to grieve for our family.
    • We are our expected to grieve for our friends. 
      • Our friendships are typically our choice and therefore it makes sense that we'd openly and obviously grieve for them--and we typically do. But, there are a few exceptions in which we don't.
        • If it is a 'friend' that we effectively fell out of touch with and/or had a falling out with years ago, we have may have already done our grieving for them and therefore have little to show when they pass.
        • If it is 'friend of a friend' or a 'group friend', we may be sad for those closer to him or her, but we may not feel so much grief.  It's not that we don't care, it's just that we may not have the connection required to feel a huge loss and truly grieve for him or her.
    • We are expected to grieve for coworkers.
      • It really depends in this situation.
        • If they were someone we worked around, but didn't really know, we might be stunned or feel bad for their loved ones, but we might not fells the loss too much by their passing as we didn't have much of a connection.
        • If they were someone we worked closely around and got to know, their passing might really stun or upset us. It is like losing 'work family' or 'work friends' in this case.
    • We are usually not expected to grieve for strangers.
      • Most of the time we don't grieve for them.
        • Sometimes we might think the story on a stranger's passing is sad, but we can't personally relate to them and therefore it's hard to have feelings that aren't there.
      • Sometimes we do grieve for strangers.
        • Sometimes we can relate and their stories hit home such as the tragic loss of a child.
        • Sometimes with famous people, we may not really have known them, but they represented something to us: a loss of a childhood memory (Carrie Fisher aka Princess Leia), a loss of an ideal (JFK or famous musician), or something similar or loss of security (9/11 or the death of a police officer).
  • Whom you are allowed to grieve for
    • Family - Most of the time you are allowed to grieve for them.
    • Friends/relationship - In most cases, you are allowed to grieve for them.
    • Coworkers - Sometimes you are allowed to grieve for them.
      • Sometimes their passing is openly discussed and acknowledged at work.
      • Sometimes their family and/or coworkers invite you to be part of the grieving process.
    • Neighbors - Sometimes you are close to them and are allowed to part of the grieving process.
  • Whom you are not allowed to grieve for.
    • Family - There are occasions when you are not allowed to grieve for family. 
      • Examples include:
        • When one parent keeps the kids from the other parent.
        • When you are kept from the grieving process of a member that is outside the immediate family such as a grandparent, aunt, etc.
      • Those who exclude in the grieving process often do it in a misguided attempt to protect us, a lack of realization of our needs or in a way of hurting us or sticking it to the one who passed.
      • Unfortunately, sometimes the grieving process can bring out the worst in family and IF ALLOWED can become an opportunity to settle scores.
    • Friends/Unapproved Relationships - Sometimes those left behind don't include us in the process.
      • It may be due to an oversight or lack of understanding of our importance in the life of the one that passed.
      • It may be due to them wanting the keep the process private.
      • It may be due to them not approving of our role in the life of the one that passed.
      • Whatever the reason, it can feel like a cruel rejection.
    • Coworkers - Sometimes you are not allowed to effectively grieve for them.
      • Some work environments do not effectively acknowledge the passing of coworkers.
      • The family of your coworkers have a private process and/or don't think to include us.
      • Sometimes, if we are close enough to our coworkers, we just need a way to grieve them when they pass.
    • Neighbors - Sometimes we find out a neighbor passed away by hearing it from another neighbor. I believe we rarely are included in the grieving process of a neighbor by those left behind.

Closing out this blog post, I will circle back to love, they way I see it grief is a extension or expression of love.  If we truly didn't care about someone, then their loss not affect us grief-wise.  The fact that we hurt really does shows that we had a love or concern or care for the one that passed.  It maybe what they represented, but still it is a form of love.  Just like love, we may be denied the opportunity to effectively express grief, but that erase its existence.  

My takeaway is this, we usually the opportunity to express grief like we need.  However, this is not always the case.  In any case, when do not have the opportunity to express grief in the manner, timing, way we need to, it is important recognize the need that remains and find effective and healthy outlets to express it.

See: Grief doesn't care what is proper, part 1.

(the version of this song that I discovered it to)