What emotions are part of what is called grief?

Grief is clinically defined as the emotion of loss.

Grief is clinically defined as the emotion of loss. It is where a young widow must seek a means to bring up her three children alone. It is the angry reaction of a man so filled with shocked uncertainty and confusion that he strikes out at the nearest person.

Grief is the little old lady who goes to the funeral of a stranger and cries her eyes out; she is weeping now for herself, for an event she is sure will come, and for which she is trying to prepare herself.

Grief is a mother walking daily to a nearby cemetery to stand quietly and alone for a few moments before she goes on about the tasks of the day; she knows that part of her is in the cemetery, just as part of her is in her daily work.

Grief is the deep sympathy one person has for another when he/she wants to do all they can to help resolve a tragic problem. Grief is the silent knife-like terror and sadness that comes 100 times a day, when you start to speak to someone who is no longer there.

Grief is the emptiness that comes when you eat alone after eating with another for many years. Grief is teaching you somehow to go to bed without saying good night to the one who has died.

Grief is the helpless wishing that things were different when you know they are not and never will be again. Grief is a whole cluster of adjustment, apprehensions, and uncertainties that strikes life in its forward progress and makes it difficult to recognize and redirect the energies of life; it is also a universal emotion. Grief is grief, and pain is pain the world over. Grief is more than sorrow. When therapists and counsellors speak about grief, they refer to the whole process that involves the person in adjusting to changed circumstances. They are referring to the deep fears of the mourner, to their prospects of loneliness, to the obstacles they must face as they find a new way of living. It is not easy.

Ron Malmas is the manager and funeral director/embalmer Compassionate Care Funeral Home. If you have any questions for a future column, contact him at 250-392-3336.