What is acceptable grief?

I confess, I find it difficult to understand why some types of grief are considered to be socially acceptable and therefore supported, but others are not. It’s as if as a society we’ve arbitrarily decided that the only acceptable grief is if someone you love has died. If that’s the case you’re socially allowed to be sad and to take time to recover, etc. People offer support, at least for a while. But there are so many other major losses that affect people! Like losing a beloved pet. Or losing a career. Or experiencing a major disability that causes a loss or a partial loss of one of your senses. Or losing an important relationship with someone you deeply loved, and not by choice. Losing your home is also a huge deal. But somehow the only people that are truly given the compassion for a loss in our society are those whose loved one has died. The rest of us are just given a “oh that sucks” pat on the back and expected to get on with it. But what if you’ve experienced every single one of these losses within a few years and you’re just not able to cope anymore? Does anyone care? Apparently not.

16 Comments

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Anonymous

Jun 25, 2022 at 6:16am

There is not much compassion in our society.
We are all to busy with our heads up our arses.
Doing nothing really important, certainly not saving our beautiful planet.
Sad world indeed.
Sad

13 1Rating: +12

It’s called

Jun 25, 2022 at 6:20am

Life. Seek help.

4 11Rating: -7

Interesting

Jun 25, 2022 at 8:14am

You make a very good point OP.

I guess it's that we are all, well a lot of us anyway, experiencing this on some level a lot of the time.
If as a society it was okay to be outwardly sad about these things, daily takes would never get done. But alas, we have to feel pain, sadness, loss and get on with life.

Also, I do hate this part of me thats going to say this, but when you ask does anyone care? No, they don't. Because we all have a lot of shit going on in our lives, most of the time people just don't talk about it.
It's hard to handle what you have on your own plate let anothers problems.

8 6Rating: +2

Well said

Jun 25, 2022 at 9:50am

And I've found the teachings of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to be helpful in my life. Yet like the OP I've wondered why 'grieving' is only thought of as dealing with the death of a loved one while their is much grieving in this world because of all the unjust. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, Carl Jung inspired, pioneer of studies on dying people. Kübler-Ross wrote "On Death and Dying," the 1969 book in which she proposed the patient-focused, death-adjustment pattern, the "Five Stages of Grief." Those stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

2 6Rating: -4

Collard Greens

Jun 25, 2022 at 12:22pm

I care. Compassion for yourself and others is part of the human experience.

7 4Rating: +3

The most important thing…

Jun 25, 2022 at 5:06pm

Is that You care. Hold that space for yourself. Accept all the feelings, watch them like fish in a steam flowing past your feet in knee deep water. You are safe. Breathe in the air. Watch the sun sparkle through the leaves in the tall trees. Feel the soft wind blow past you. Hear the birds and nature around you. Loss creates a sense of emptiness where it was once filled with a part of you. But you are still here. Wiggle your toes and feel the ground beneath you. Breathe. Keep breathing. Those hollow spaces are still there, but you can acknowledge them, breathe a comforting love into those places. Accept that not everyone will understand but you do and cherish the times when you do find those who understand and speak that special language of loss. Some times it feels like it will hurt forever and then one day you marvel at the barely visible scars and what you’ve lived through.

6 4Rating: +2

Grief is in your head

Jun 25, 2022 at 5:10pm

The view point of others from your perspective are also just in your head. You see them through your eyes. You have control of your own self compassion. At the end of the day, that's all that really matters.

5 4Rating: +1

@well said and @op

Jun 25, 2022 at 11:35pm

Kubler Ross's theories were meant for critically ill / Palliative people, not the bereaved. The stages of grief has been debunked. Please stop promoting it. Google about this.

@op, I think the terms grief, loss, and bereavement are often used interchangeably and they shouldn't be. Also grief is not a contest. I'm not sure if you have ever lost your spouse, but I have to and no other loss in my life compares. In the last 2.5 years I have lost my husband, my dad, my uncle, and my step-grandpa. I've become disabled and lost my ability to work at a career I love. My friends have left in drives because you are right, people don't care
They just want to distance themselves from pain and uncomfortable feelings. My apartment building also flooded and I now have no home until further notice. It is all awful. Nothing compares to losing my husband though. My father in law is currently dying, and an acquaintance of mine is comparing it to her Guinea pig dying, I kid you not. A Guinea pig to a human. All grief is not the same and it's not a contest, but forgive me if I don't give a f*ck about the Guinea pig. I just don't have the energy for that. The word grief is overused in our society. I heard someone the other day saying she was "grieving" her lost vacation because she couldn't get her passport in time. Give me a break! She could just say she is sad to miss it. All sadness is not grief!

On the positive side, there is now a pet social worker in BC, so if someone's goldfish or Guinea pig dies, they will be able to get bereavement support. I kid you not. Also, maybe start a pet grief support group, the same way that hospice has a grief support group for humans? That could help for people who treat their pets like humans. I personally will never get a pet because I know they have short lifespans and I don't want to incur more guaranteed future emotional loss. I also do not agree with buying other living things as property and using it to meet my emotional needs. For all the talk of "grieving" pets, people sure did rush to dump them off at shelters once the covid lockdowns lifted. I know one guy who "grieved" terribly after he put down his 8 year old Frenchie with a bad hip so that he could buy a newer, trendier little mini Aussie Shepherd puppy. So yeah, not all grief is the same.

10 6Rating: +4

Op

Jun 26, 2022 at 7:23am

Like the last comment said, it is NOT a contest. So thank you for that because you’ve made my point. We can’t know what another person is going through and deciding that one person’s pain is worthy of compassion but another person’s isn’t, is exactly the problem in my opinion. I’m not suggesting that the loss of a Guinea pig is “equal” to the loss of a spouse, but at the same time we can’t know why the person who lost that pet was so grief stricken at their loss. Maybe that little creature was all they had in their life to love. I’m not going to list all the terrible things that have happened to me in an effort to one-up you or anyone else. Suffice to say my life has been exceptionally challenging and I’m exhausted. I’ve also lost several people I love because they died. I’m not laying around feeling sorry for myself because I’m trying all the time to just carry on. But after so many losses it becomes harder to keep fighting when you just don’t have the heart in it anymore. It’s this whole attitude of “my pain is bigger than yours because someone died so I deserve compassion and you don’t” attitude that I have a problem with. Or when people use the “I have all these problems and I’m just fine so you should be too” attitude. That’s exactly the type of judgemental thinking that creates a lack of compassion for other people, when someone decides that how they cope is how everyone else should cope too, without knowing all of what may have gone on in that person’s life before. It. Is. Not. A. Contest.

8 1Rating: +7

These Days

Jun 26, 2022 at 11:56am

People just don't give a shit. Worse still, they're just selfish and nasty with nothing to redeem them.

4 3Rating: +1

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