The Universality of Grief

Liked this post? Share with others!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Universality of Grief

The way I feel

They say there is a reason,

They say that time will heal,

But neither time nor reason,

Will change the way I feel,


No-one knows the heartache,

That lies behind my smile,

No-one knows how many times,

I have broken down and cried,


I want to tell you something,

So there won’t be any doubt,

You’re so wonderful to think of,

But so hard to be without.

~Author Unknown


As a Sociology Instructor at a local State University, I teach a course on the Sociology of Death and Dying in which students and I explore in depth the definition, course and consequences of grief in many forms.  What I aspire to teach, first and foremost, is that grief is a normal human response to change and loss.  That even those moments when we have made the most important and best choice, can and often are also moments of profound grief.  The most critical essence of grief is the experience of adjusting to the transformation of our life circumstances, when we confront a change in the vision of who we are or are becoming. Grief results because of a change in our relationship to something or someone else, whether that change be the death of a loved one, the ending of a marriage or the decision to marry, the decision to parent or not, the experience of unemployment or of taking a new job, a move to a different location, a lost item or opportunity, the experience of aging, a serious illness, or the awakening to self that comes with the decision to choose a life direction or gender identity. These are all moments that can and often do involve aspects of grieving.  As such, these are moments and processes that often involve a range of emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual responses.


The paradox for me is that we are almost universally bidden to accept the reality of grief in moments of sudden loss and often in those moments when the loss follows a courageous decision. The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one and the choice to allow death to occur by removing life-sustaining treatment both are occasions that often evoke deep grief. Whether changing jobs, moving to a new home, starting school, getting married, or deciding to end a relationship prompt grieving. Why is it that in most of these moments we are able to comprehend the presence and experience of loss even as we honor future opportunities, and often not, when the issue involves the decision to terminate a pregnancy? Do we really believe that women are not capable of making such major decisions of life and death on their own? Do we believe a false narrative that if a woman decides to terminate a pregnancy she gives up on the right to grieve?

Among the lessons we must continue to learn and embody is that we all have the capacity to deny the reality of pain, fear and grief of others, especially when we are motivated by righteous indignation, validation of the heroic, or moral vindication. We must not let our righteousness blind us or deafen us to the pain and grieving of others. As one spiritual master taught, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Sacred Crossroads brings religious voices on social justice to the public square with weekly blog posts on Mondays and a related live webinar on Wednesdays, pre-registration required.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Subscribe to our newsletter

Collect visitor’s submissions and store it directly in your Elementor account, or integrate your favorite marketing & CRM tools.

Do you want to boost your business today?

This is your chance to invite visitors to contact you. Tell them you’ll be happy to answer all their questions as soon as possible.

Stay connected to the movement for reproductive freedom!