Loss & Grief

Death isn’t the only time we feel grief at a loss. It can happen when you lose a job, a pet, a relationship ends, or someone close to us becomes seriously ill or incapacitated, or even when we change the place we live. Grief can leave us lost and looking for ways to make sense of the world.

We each have our own way of grieving, and the only thing common to most of us is that if we suppress grief, it’ll come out in other ways. You do have to go through it.

Men and women tend to grieve in different ways. Women are more inclined to grieve intuitively — experiencing strong reactions, with facial expressions that mirror inner feelings. Intuitive grievers adapt by expressing and exploring their feelings.

Men are more inclined to grieve instrumentally — saying what they are thinking about, or talking about physical effects. Instrumental grievers generally adapt using thinking and doing. For example, when Eric Clapton’s son died, he wrote a song about him called “Tears in Heaven”:

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven
Will it be the same
If I saw you in heaven
I must be strong, and carry on
Cause I know I don’t belong
Here in heaven

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven
I’ll find my way, through night and day
Cause I know I just can’t stay
Here in heaven

So these are different styles of grieving, not defective grieving.

You can use either style, or both, whether you’re a man or a woman — use whatever works.

Grief is not a series of stages either. We go forward, fall back, go from building a new life to returning to grief, and swing back to new life again.