What is grief?
This is what I believe, and what I want to talk about.
There are so many different kinds of grief. Until I became aware of this myself, I just assumed that grief was what you felt when somebody you loved died. It is, of course, but I have learned that death is only one route to grief, and there are many, many others.
It is these other routes which I want to explore in this blog. It isn’t really about death, in the traditional sense of the word. There are already many wonderful resources for those grieving following the death of a loved one, so I’m not going to follow that path. If you are interested in grief blogs which deal with death, I’ve listed a few of the best ones at the bottom of this page.
However grief comes, whether it is a death or a loss of some other kind, I think the status is the same – it is a loss. The strength of feeling and the impact on your life can be the same, regardless of the nature of the loss. Each individual’s grief experience is unique and cannot be compared with others’ experiences. Grief cannot be measured or predicted. It has no prescribed phases, no end date, and no rules. It is simply a life-changing, identity-changing experience that is as inevitable as death itself. Nobody can avoid grief, and no-one is immune from it – it will come to us all. The only thing we can control is how we live with our grief.
The focus of this blog is on those ‘other’ kinds of grief that perhaps don’t get as much airtime as the grief that follows a death. I’m talking about invisible, intangible, and disenfranchised forms of grief (such as childlessness, extinction and climate breakdown grief, life-changing illness or injury, loss of one’s country, loss of culture or language, loss of home, loss of hopes and dreams). I believe that many of us are struggling with feelings of grief that we either don’t have words for or know how to share with those closest to us. There are few sources of support for these types of grief and I think that the more we bring them out into the open, and normalise them, the healthier we will be. Then it will be easier to understand our feelings and work our way through until we know how live with them – after all, grief is a life altering thing, so it takes a lot of work and time for us to adjust to our new selves and our new lives. These kinds of losses are often also losses of identity, so learning how to be a different person is part of the daunting work faced by grievers.
Here are some of the best resources I’ve found online which are also dealing with these kinds of losses:
gateway-women.com – A life-saving resource for childless women which includes a private online community, a blog, events and many resources
lifewithoutbaby.com – Amazing blog about infertility and childlessness which includes an online community
saltwaterandhoney.org – A wonderful blog about infertility, miscarriage, childlessness and faith.
https://inconceivable.wordpress.com/ – A great blog by an amazing woman who is exploring living life without children after infertility.
https://worldchildlessweek.net/ – This year between 14-20th September. An amazing resources for those dealing with childlessness.
Resources to cope with Climate Anxiety and Grief – this page contains a very helpful list of articles, publications, blogs all related to this type of grief
https://grieftending.org – A UK based resource for those interested in grief tending in community
There are many more resources – I will continue to add to this list with my recommendations.
So, that’s what I’m going to talk about – some of this is quite personal to me and speaks from my own life experience. Some of it is observed and researched in order to bring it to light. I’d like to ponder what grief brings with it, as well as what may bring comfort and solace to those who are grieving.
Resources for those grieving a death:
Losing your parents http://www.losingyourparents.org/
Confessions of a funeral director https://www.calebwilde.com/
Child loss grief https://stillstandingmag.com/
Diary of a widower https://diaryofawidower.com/
Friend loss grief http://www.friendgrief.com/
Suicide and widowerhood http://justcarryonbreathing.blogspot.com/