March 12, 2015

G Talks About G


I had two phenomenal topics that I wanted to blog about this week, but I didn't know which one to do. On one hand, I wanted to write another post about another sin that we all partake in, simply because the first one I wrote about (smoking), got boffo page views and a double share on Google+. But on the other, I wanted to delve just a tad deeper about death, specifically on how we grieve. This particular topic stemmed from having to go to a wake/funeral for cousin a week ago (of which I've talked about the past two posts.

So I decided to flip a coin. Heads, I talk about another sin we partake in; tails, I talk about how we grieve. The losing topic will make its appearance next week.

And here we go....the winner is: tails!

The topic du jour today is: How We Grieve, Or Not Grieve

Last week I went to a favorite cousin's wake/funeral. I offered my condolences to her husband, her daughter, her sister and her husband, her brother and her mother. Then I said my private good-byes to her, said a little prayer and mingled with everyone else to share some happy memories and thoughts. As a rule, I do not do get-togethers, family or otherwise, very well. I have a tendency to be very uncomfortable in gatherings with more than four people, and more often than not, will not stay longer than a half hour, forty-five minutes top.

However, I chose to stay about an hour and a half. Why? Probably because it would be my one and only chance to express my genuine grief at my cousin's passing without people asking, "Are you alright?" I was very fond of my cousin and even though we weren't very close, I still enjoyed her company whenever she was able to visit and/or show up.

While I was genuinely sad at my cousin's passing (she was three years older than myself and shared the same b'day as my wife), I did not outwardly shed any tears for her. I wouldn't say I was overly upset over her passing, but it did grate on me for the rest of the week.

I wasn't completely ill-tempered at work the next day, but I had an extremely low tolerance for dealing with stupid that day, which has carried over into this week. The weekend brought more of the same low tolerance, but the one thing that I did do that weekend, was to avoid listening to any kind of music that would trigger a delayed reaction, so to speak. I actually enjoyed thinking about my cousin that weekend, and  I felt I wasn't quite ready to shed some tears.

However, I decided to watch a movie that I borrowed from the library the previous weekend. The movie in question? 2012. An incredible tearjerker to begin with (I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys a really good story that is centered around the concept of "What if?"), this movie eventually triggered the delayed reaction that I was trying to avoid that week.

Ultimately, that is how I grieved for one of my favorite cousins: by watching a tearjerker movie.

One last example on another delayed reaction.

Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz passed away on February 20, 2000 from cancer. On May 27, 2000 (this still gives me goosebumps to this day) one hundred cartoon strips paid tribute/homage to him and Peanuts by incorporating them into their strips.

I cried like a baby when I read the paper that day.

So my friends, how do you grieve? Privately, publicly, a mixture, delayed?

(c) 2015 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. I tend to keep it all in, and then one small thing will trigger the tears, and often I have no idea why. The last time I really grieved like that was when my father-in-law died. I was holding it together just fine, and then my partner burst into tears as we were driving to the church. That was it, I started crying too, not for my father-in-law, but for my partner.

  2. I generally try to grieve privately but I don't do a good job of hiding my feelings with my face so folks usually notice.

  3. I always feel my own mortality when family members (or friends) pass away. I was alone with my father when he died - I only realized he was gone when I went into his bedroom to open the blinds at daylight. His death was expected, but I felt as if I was in a daze for a few days and then had delayed crying. I do not like to cry in public - seldom have.

    My mother's death was not expected really and I was in shock for a few days. I still cry about her sometimes.

  4. I would say I grieve mostly privately, although I do go to public funerals, memorials, etc. Since grieving is a process and not a one-shot deal, it can be immediate and delayed as well. For people who we truly love, it may never end although the day-to-day expression of it will ease.

  5. At least you found your release.
    I can hold it together around casual friends, but otherwise I grieve openly. I've had several close friends die and I cried the moment I heard the news.

  6. I thought that for this time around, I would leave a general comment to all of your wonderful and thoughtful comments.

    A good chunk of the time, I do grieve in private. I very seldom cry in public. I believe the last time I did was went my father passed away 11 years ago.

    I do agree with Debra's comment in that grieving is never a one-shot deal. Time may heal the wound, but never completely, so there will always be something to trigger the memory of a good friend or family member that had passed away.

  7. Interesting question. Lately I feel like I am in a constant state of grief. At the ripe old age of 68 I find more and more loss is central in my life. Friends and family members are dropping like flies. Ron used to read the obituaries first thing every morning to see if he was there:-)

    1. Interestingly enough, when I used to subscribe to my local paper, that was one of the first things I did too: check the obits to see if there any classmates/people that I knew.

  8. Privately--I'm a very private person as far as that is concerned. However, it turns up in my I might blog about it or slip it into a book at some point. Probably I'd be more likely to blog about it--grief doesn't have a place in the type of books I write!

    1. I can understand that. Personally, the only time I blog about grief is when I do a blog post dedicated to my late father. Otherwise, I keep it private. It might make into my writing for an emotional scene somewhere, but that's about it.

  9. I keep my grief to myself, which I suppose is normal in our society. It can bring on symptoms of clinical depression (which I am prone to) including physical aches and pains, excessive fatigue/need to sleep, loss of appetite, and brain fog. I'm lucky and young enough not to have had many major losses so far, but I know I'll have to face them soon enough. Or too soon, if you ask me.

  10. I'm a private griever. Keep things to myself. Don't shed tears. Talking about it really doesn't help me. I just need to process it on my own. Also (of course) humor. Laughing over the good times definitely beats sobbing over loss.

  11. Humor is always a good way to deal with a loss. To concentrate on the good times you had with the person definitely can do a body good.

    I think you would experience the symptoms of depression only if you were dealing with a particular hard loss of someone who you were particularly close to.


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