Grieving is not just about death

Is this your sunrise or sun- set?

Is this your sunrise or sunset?

Grieving is a human function in life, but it’s not always a direct function of death. Ironically when most of us hear or address the subject of grieving, it’s due to a loved one, a friend, or even the death of a beloved pet. Those circumstances are paramount of course and as meaningful as life itself. Everyone grieves in his or her own way. Some quicker than others and some may not even be aware they are grieving. The latter part of that process can be devastating, or for lack of better words even ‘deathly devastating.’

In this lifetime, I’ve faced a great deal of death and there are no words, amount of time or placating that lessens the pain—aside from time itself. The five stages of grief appear as near perfect, and the best way out of the seemingly bottomless pit of hell on earth that I was facing. They consist of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

One may think that there is no way that a human life can even compare to the loss of a pet’s life. That’s not the case at all. Most people who take pets in or go so far as to adopt pets, consider them members of their family. Indeed this is the correct way of thinking because the pet is totally dependent on their human master(s).

Animals are often called ‘dumb animals,’ but that is as far from the truth as can be. Animals are some of the smartest creatures that God created. They understand our language, but we may not understand theirs. We have the function of hands, feet and vocal communication, but they have their own way of speaking to us as well.

Funeral services and burial costs can range from reasonable (depending on what one considers reasonable) to over the top. And yes, this applies to pet final arrangements too. Grieving is different for everyone, but the process is the same. It’s a purging process that allows pain and suffering to be expelled, in stages or at once, so the griever may move forward.

But remember we spoke about death not being the only reason for grieving. People grieve when they give up smoking or another vice. Breaking up from a relationship or grieving the loss of drugs or alcohol are examples. We can grieve from going into recovery, forced or otherwise. Countless other things perceived as a loss or hard to deal with could cause grieving.

This conversation came about after a few colleagues discussed the possibilities of death grieving and other forms of grieving. After putting in a few hours of research and polling other individuals on the subject, I presented the above story. A last suggestion is that therapy and support groups can make all the difference in the world.