Facing Grief

Eye and teardrop

Ocean of Sorrow Javad Alizabeh



The Oceans of Sorrow

When I was a child, my mother lingered in hospital for three months and then died of heart disease.
Her family was of the typical English, “show no emotion” type. As a young boy under their influence I was “not allowed to grieve.” The day before she died my mother asked that I no longer be brought to the hospital to see her. Death was only discussed, if at all, with hushed tones. No tears were shed, and I was not allowed to attend the funeral. That night a big family dinner was held as if nothing had happened! My poor father was devastated and cried a lot, but for his sake, I just pretended. I had gone totally numb regarding any genuine emotive response.

The Psychologists say we are meant to grieve. It is a natural function. However if it is suppressed it may seemingly vanish but it will re-appear later in many different guises. As I am now aware this had an effect throughout many aspects of my life including, depression, stress, interpersonal relationships and an inability to fully enjoy myself.

People of the Muslim faith have a very short service with burial before sunrise on the day following the death. Then after three days of mourning, they all get back on with their lives. I have watched the Zulu people of my homeland grieve. For them it is a highly emotive event with strong community support.. There is loud wailing, clothes are torn, people roll on the floor and then it’s seemingly all over.
I recently heard a Buddhist talk on the subject, where together with the support of the Buddhist practices, we are urged to face our grief fully, and gain a positive result. “We think grief is contingent to some outside object and that if we allow the grieving, we fear that we will truly lose that something we have lost. However we would not grieve unless we loved. Love is embedded in grief. If we allow it fully, we discover is that the Loving just does NOT go away.” – Tara Brach – “Fires of Loss”
Perhaps that is the best way to do it? Get it over with and move on….



Comments (4)

  1. Eunice Hughes

    Hi Shawn

    Very impressive and inspiring site! Such a moving story. Your comments about suppressing emotions (not just grief) are so true. My late husband suppressed his emotions concerning his anger issues towards his mother, resulting in him getting cancer, which killed him. His cancer was Mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos – but you probably know that already, given you professional history. He had worked with it 30 years before, for 9 months only! If you don’t already know, it affects the plueral sack around the lungs, and according to Jin Shin Jyutsu, disease in the lungs represents a deep sense of rejection as a child, which is exactly what happened to him (emotional rejection, not physical). So dealing with emotion is imperative.

    1. admin (Post author)

      Thanks for sharing your loss. As the Buddhists say we all have mutual suffering of some form of another, and the shared awareness of this is the basis of compassion and freedom.
      I am well aware of what you say regarding suppression of emotions. My various spiritual practices have helped but still much to be done. (Interestingly my father died at the ‘young age’ of 60 from emphysema and I have it too. Of course cigarettes and genetics have been strong factors).
      Something I’m currently trying to “mind train” on is Lucid Dreaming. After having had 5 so far and reading up on it, I’ve realised there certainly may be some resolution there.
      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words re: site.

  2. Norleila

    Every soul must taste of death. It is only natural to feel sad, at a loss. Suppressing our feelings will not make it any better. We have to learn to accept reality. This world is just a temporary abode for us to sow the seed to be harvested in the next world. Believing in the Lord, learn what pleases the Lord, submitting only to the Lord should be our prime concern.
    Thanks for sharing Shawn. May each day be a better one!

    1. admin (Post author)

      You’re right Norleila. So many are in denial, especially regarding their own death. (It always going to happen to someone else, but not me!) As the Buddhists say…”Birth is the cause of Death”… Our body is but a temporary abode.
      Sorry re late reply…’Procrastination’ has taken over my website design and I really need to shake it off!!!

Leave a Comment