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Old 03-13-2018, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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I still feel ashamed of grieving someone I barely knew | Metro News

I found the concept behind the article interesting, although I have trouble with the way the emotions have been parsed. Most of us have experienced a feeling of loss based upon a "what if..???" scenario. There is no "right answer" to the question I am about to ask, but instead it gives us an opportunity to discuss what the important aspects of a feeling of loss are that make it "grief" or "mourning."

In your opinion, is what the author describes "grief" or is it something different? I'm interested in your reasoning why you choose one way or the other, or somewhere in-between.
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:57 AM
 
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Yes, I think that is grief. But as you say, there are all kinds of grief. I think this woman knew the man on the train to some extent through their social media connection. But there may be a large component of grieving what might have been. In my own loss, I remember feeling strongly that I had lost my past (the person with whom I shared many memories) my present (the person I wanted to be with right now) and my future (the person I wanted to make new memories with, to grow old with.) This young lady is grieving a future that didn't materialize and that now has no possibility of taking place. She is grieving the loss of possibility. We all lose possibilities along the way; we choose one path that closes off another. We sometimes look back and mourn what we lost by making the decision we made. But those are purposeful decisions. She was not in control of this loss, and that may feel worse. In addition, do you think it complicates things because he took his own life? Regardless of what his real reasons might have been, is the woman feeling that losing touch with him contributed to his despair (guilt) or that purposefully doing this he was rejecting the possibility of finding her again? It would take someone wiser and more skilled than me to know. In any case, I don't think she should be ashamed of grieving. Grief is part of loss, and in her mind, she has lost something. This is normal and should not be disparaged.
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Well said. I'm trying for myself to tease out what doesn't quite fit, in that part of her grief involves a type of nostalgia and even fantasy. The conservative part of me has hackles raised that she hasn't "earned" her grief, while from a compassionate point of view her experience is real for her.

An issue that some of us have observed is an individual - at some obvious distance from a deceased - appearing to grieve MORE than individuals closer to that person. In such cases, I sometimes wonder if their grief is more about their own issues than the deceased. Is the grief intrinsic to the death, or is it intrinsic to the individual?

Your post also brings up the point that those of us who experience loss after a long illness have already had some time to reconcile the fact that a wonderful future is not in the cards.
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Old 03-14-2018, 06:10 PM
 
Location: NYC
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She has regrets for a future that might have been and also has placed the Welsh man on a pedestal. These are common aspects of grief. These are her feelings. Feelings aren't always rational.

My wife died in 2001. I still regret that she didn't live to see the woman our daughter has become, that we won't be enjoying our retirement together and most of all that I'll never see her again.
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Well said. I'm trying for myself to tease out what doesn't quite fit, in that part of her grief involves a type of nostalgia and even fantasy. The conservative part of me has hackles raised that she hasn't "earned" her grief, while from a compassionate point of view her experience is real for her.

An issue that some of us have observed is an individual - at some obvious distance from a deceased - appearing to grieve MORE than individuals closer to that person. In such cases, I sometimes wonder if their grief is more about their own issues than the deceased. Is the grief intrinsic to the death, or is it intrinsic to the individual?

Your post also brings up the point that those of us who experience loss after a long illness have already had some time to reconcile the fact that a wonderful future is not in the cards.
I think that the situation in the article does include both nostalgia and fantasy because it is about something that never happened, but apparently was dreamed of. I don't know this woman's life situation, but obviously, that fantasy was important to her, even if she was not acting to bring about the reality. I am concerned that thinking she has not "earned" her grief is a way of comparing grief, which really isn't constructive. I admit that I do that, too. It bothers me to some extent when people grieve extensively over pets. I think that is because I am comparing it to the loss of my husband and, well, it doesn't compare. But I have to tell myself that this kind of thinking is not helpful to anyone; I can't get into anyone else's head to see what they are feeling, so I should not engage in such comparisons.

I the last paragraph is correct, although I haven't thought about it much. I had nearly 4 years of knowing that our future would not be what I had imagined. Even if he had miraculously survived, our lives still would not have been the same. So I guess I did adjust to that. But I have to say that "not being the same" is not identical to the shock of him being "gone." I was actually surprised at how shocking and disorienting that was. Maybe this lady was likewise fanasizing a future with this guy and was (even if only partially conscious of it) planning her life around this make-believe future. Who knows?
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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On comparing - of course you are correct that it is not productive or compassionate. In dissecting my own feelings or emotions, I have to be brutal and not PC in order to understand what I am working with. I am fortunate in that I can distance myself enough to go "Huh! I guess that was the source of that emotion. Now WHY was that important to me?" It comes from long practice. The emotions we have are our early warning signs of danger, and it pays to examine them - even if they are not acted upon or we might perceive them as negative. In 99% of cases, if you dig down into an emotion, and the emotion below that, and the one below that, there is a core that is attempting to help you or protect you. Gendlin's "Focusing" techniques are good at teasing that out.

It actually can be dangerous when emotions are sublimated and repressed, in the hopes of "being good" or becoming a better person. An emotion that is worked through creates a solid foundation. One that is glossed over or repressed covers a void that can collapse when you least expect it.

What I am trying to explore with the article is "What are the various component emotions involved in the experience of 'grief?'" It seems that we can include unrealized expectations, fantasy, and shock to the feeling of loss and a certain amount of depression and/or anger.

At this point, I'm reasonably comfortable that thwarted fantasies might be a component within grief, but that those are far far less than the total experience. Perhaps that is part of what is niggling at me with the article, that the fantasy component seemed to be the dominant theme, leaving the total related experience "thin," for lack of a better descriptor.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:08 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
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The article hit home for me because I'm in a similar situation. I met a Welsh man online. His name was Jeff, and we fell in love despite both of us being married to others. I didn't mean for it to happen, it just did. His posts were so intelligent, insightful and witty that (for me, at least) he stood head and shoulders above all the other members of the site. I had a strong desire to know him better, and I wanted him to like me, too.

The two of us exchanged photos and spoke on the phone twice, but we never met. We decided that it wouldn't be right unless both of us were free. His wife was mentally ill and had a lot of other health problems and my husband is eight years older, so I thought maybe there was a small chance that someday we might be together. When I expressed my doubts, he told me that he felt that we were meant to be together and that someday we would be. He refused to believe anything else.

For ten years, Jeff and I corresponded on line daily, two or three times a day. He was my confidante and my best friend, and I was his. Every day I looked forward to reading his messages and writing back to him. Then, one day, no message appeared. I wondered if he had a computer problem or was ill. More days passed, and nothing. I kept writing to him anyway and tried to remain optimistic.

Finally after nearly two weeks I checked the obituaries in his local newspaper, and there he was. He died only hours after he'd sent his last message to me. It was sudden and unexpected collapse from what turned out to be a DVT, and he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. He was 70 years old.

When I learned the news, I turned numb and cold inside. Then my guts started to churn, and I ran to the bathroom. This is embarrassing to admit, but I have to say it because it illustrates how hard I took the news. As I was sitting on the toilet in utter misery I remember thinking that if Jeff was dead, I wanted to be dead, too. I didn't want to live in a world without him in it. I wanted to be where he was.

On the day of Jeff's memorial service in Wales, which was held at 3 am California time, I stayed awake so I could feel that I was there in spirit, too.

Never, ever have I taken anyone's death that hard, and I've lost my entire immediate family along with uncles, aunts and grandparents. It's been a year and a half now since Jeff died, and though the pain has eased, I am still morning, grieving or whatever you want to call it. Yet, like the OP, I feel somewhat guilty about it because I never even met him.

G Grasshopper's post was right on, I think. What the woman in the article is feeling is real grief, but it's as much for the loss of future possibilities as it is for the person himself. Losing someone that way is like a cosmic door slamming in your face, the ultimate rejection. It hurts.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Bayarea, thank you for sharing. It does help to have another example that adds perspective.

In your case, you had an ongoing active communication with the fellow. If it isn't prying too much, do you think the loss of the ongoing textual relationship was more - or less - devastating than the loss of the future possibilities of your being together physically - or was it just different?

Again, my purpose is to try to tease out the components of grief so that they can be recognized on their own. Cases such as yours are different in some ways than loss of spouse, child or parent, where a lot of other factors involved with the pragmatics of day-to-day life get involved.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:49 PM
 
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These are all examples of legitimate grief in this thread, in my opinion.

The OP was about a girl who met a guy who she had a real crush on, they corresponded for a long time, and then horribly he killed himself. That's real grief, and real loss, out of nowhere.

Reading the thread title I thought this topic was going to be about griefporn as it's now called. People who purposely seek grief and cry and thrash around and rend their hair and clothing over people they never knew and they actually sought out the horror to cry and grieve.

You see this on internet forums for true crime, or child abuse, or missing people. They follow cases and want to see grisly crime photos and post "hugs, I know we just barely got through the last case and now this. When will it ever end? I cried myself to sleep last night! I don't think I can keep going on".

Grief porn. Give it a rest.

I was on a forum in the Scott Peterson/Laci Peterson case and some poster said she'd received copies of photos of their autopsies. There was an avalanche of posters saying please private message me them, oh God I can't stand it, it's so awful. Hello, it's been 3 minutes, I haven't gotten the pics. How horrible, I can't bear this. Hello, ARE YOU GOING TO SEND ME THE PICS OR NOT?

So yeah. This thread is about legitimate grief, IMHO.
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,851 posts, read 51,335,478 times
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I agree that the grief in the article and as stated in the thread are real, compared to what you describe as griefporn (good word, BTW). My guess is that a full discussion of griefporn would probably better fit in the psychology forum.
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