C J TALKS ABOUT: Grief…WHAT is it? WHY is it?

The loss of the "Doterel" - Funeral ...

The loss of the “Doterel” – Funeral service performed over the remains of those who perished by the explosion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Death Without Denial Grief Without Apology: A ...


existence (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

When I was in mortuary college,  a great deal of the curriculum focused on a basic premise: GRIEF. Why? Because grief is the underlying REASON that necessitates such a profession as funeral service and death care. Let’s face it, if there was no grief or concern for personal loss of a cherished loved one, there would be no need to worry or fuss much over death or what should be done about dead people, thus no need for funeral service professionals or death care facilities. In fact, I wouldn’t have this posting to put up for you to read. Wow…after another moment of thought, I came to realize that I wouldn’t even exist in the blogosphere…at least not in the spirit or intent which inspires me to create this blog. ***POOF***

Does that line of thought mean I am happy then, that there is such a thing as sorrow or grief? Heavens NO!  So, why then, should grief be given so much attention?  Well, I suppose as humans, with intellectual and emotional capabilities built into our very design, we are sort of cursed, in a way. Humans are social beings that live in an existence which requires the presence and existence of OTHER humans if we are to survive, thrive, and flourish as a species. Actually that could be true of most organisms. What separates us from a basic amoeba is our cognitive ability… our brain.

Loooonnnngggg story, shortened by skipping past the tons of burdensome details: grief is innately a necessary evil in human beings and the societies in which they co-exist. Since the dawn of man, humans the world over have sensed that there is a ‘purpose’ in their existence. Generally, that sense of purpose was somehow created by the belief that there was someone or something larger than themselves which designated that purpose. Now, many may wish to interject here with arguments both “for” and “against” theories about divine beings, higher powers, or religious dogma. So with respect to everyone’s right to a personal belief system, I believe we can all generally agree to the following:

Existence = purpose

Purpose = meaning

Meaning = importance

Importance = value

Value = the sum total of perceived purpose, meaning, or importance something or someone has as it relates to a person ( i.e. ME/YOU) or impact on that person (ME/YOU)

Stay with me here…also, please understand that the example in no way infers that the value of objects are equal to the values of persons…for demonstration of the value concept, ONLY. 


Car  engine >  ignites car > propels ME to a destination > ME arrives in timely manner to work, home, etc.

VALUE of Car, then: totally depended on it to get to where it is that I need to go, etc.

LOSS OF CAR? It’s pretty darned important to have that car if I rely heavily that car to facilitate my needs.

I am going to grieve the loss of my car to get myself from place to place. It was so vitally important; I needed it for so many reasons.

So what to do first? I must ACCEPT that loss, like it or not. Damn! No car!


 Now I have accepted that I have no car. Wow. The next step requires me to wrap my mind around the fact that I have no car, but I still need to go on without it. I may cry or panic at this point in the game…I still have to arrive, somehow. I will have to deliberate and consider what it means to me now and the impact it has now that I have lost a vital way or method. I no longer have that car. Must work around that in order to continue in the existence I am forced to sustain, if I am to go forward. Now I am angry that the car quit. I may wish I had taken better care of it, appreciated it more, etc.  I sure will miss that car. I cry when I imagine myself inconveniencing someone to take me everywhere. I don’t feel too great about a commuter transport which adds oodles of extra time to the trip,  either. But then again, I could walk. If only there was a way to get another chance to get it to run, then I’d promise to take better care of it…I need it! Alas, there is no do-over.

Final conclusion: I will have to learn to manage, one way or another.

Conversely, humans tend to value other persons, in one varying degree of importance or another. Therefore, losing someone who has an appreciable influence or impact on me is plainly going to hurt me. It’s really going to hurt a lot at first, when I am reeling from the notion that the cherished person is GONE. Forever. No more will I have the valued company of them in my life. It will impact the way I live from now on, always. A whole lot at this very beginning time of my loss or deprivation, to be sure; it is a total game-changer. It may take a very long time to personally adjust to the new reality I find myself in. But, because I still have a heartbeat and breath in my being, I must understand I have no option open to just stop, wither, and die because of the loss. I still have a purpose in being…and thus, I must…BE. Gradually I will move on. This isn’t going to be easy. It actually seems incredibly impossible that I will be able to go on. I feel frightened and alone. I miss that person; I needed them and never imagined that one day, they would not be here with me.

And, the PAIN; oh, I do not like pain, AT ALL. But, I am here. I…must. This is too hard…

Or…is there a way to put off my dealing with it until…later? This truly IS a very bad time for all of this to hit, after all. What if I just place this grief work ‘on hold’ for a minute? After all, it’s just ugly and I hate the whole stinking situation. Can’t I deal with it…tomorrow, next week, next year, or how about… never?

<to be continued in “Grief: To Ignore Is To Deny, So What?”>

©2013, C.S. Thompson.

6 Responses to “C J TALKS ABOUT: Grief…WHAT is it? WHY is it?”

  1. A helpful and insightful post. Thank you. X


    • Thank you, my friend. I do hope to help, never hurt, with what my blog presents. I come in peace. I appreciate you, more than you know, and I respect what you have to say about things I write here. If you like it or hate it, I need to know. Hugs and Love, CJ & the rodent


  2. Death and grief are tough topics, but you do an excellent job of handling it.


    • Wow. Really? Thanks so much for that compliment. I hope to do this blog so as not to offend or upset anyone, but at the same time, use it as a ‘plain-English’ place to educate and inform folks about those tough (taboo) topics around the subject of death.
      Receiving your comment humbles me. I am indeed honored. Thank you again.


  3. Denial ( not the longest river in Africa) and postponement are certainly the easiest way to go about dealing with grief. Five months down the line for me and I still look for her. Five months of saying I won’t give way to the grief and that way it will get easier. I’m just starting to believe I could be wrong as moments of reality keep intruding and they hit quite hard.
    xxx Hugs xxx


    • David, you will likely experience these intrusions for quite sometime. We never ever ‘get over’ our losses completely. It’s not a clean break. Saying ‘good-bye’ is the hardest thing to do when it is said to someone you know you will never see again on this earth. Sometimes, we are deprived of that chance to say good-bye, because reality of life doesn’t include any guaranteed certainty of ANYTHING. It may become a little easier over time. The intensity of that loss and grief does eventually fade enough that we are not constantly barraged at every turn with reminders and tears. It may not feel like it now. It may be impossible to fathom that it could ever be easier to manage. But it will. Take your time and allow yourself to grieve. Sending a very big hug to you, my friend XXxCJxXX


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