The Expression of Grief – A Burden or A Gift?

In our North American culture it seems expressing our grief is viewed as a bit of a burden for both parties – the ones grieving and the ones witnessing the grief. This emotional burden ‘syndrome’ affects not only those of us surviving the death but also those dying.

Somehow grief has become a burden, one that we all do our best to avoid at all costs, not knowing that the ‘avoidance’ is the true cost. I am not sure how we got here. Was it the British stiff upper lip thing? Was it some sort of Catholic suffer in silence teaching? Was it a result of ongoing wars? Or was it simply a learned behavior?

I am guessing it is a combination of all those issues, and in a way who cares. What is more important is to change our view of grief and to turn from a burden to a gift – yes a gift!

I have noticed often how people, and often the one dying, do not want to burden others with their grief. Those feeling this way often speak like this;

“See you at the funeral and PS don’t make me cry I really don’t like it.”

“ I am doing way better than the fellow down the hall.”

“ Don’t worry about me, I’m just fine.”

“I need to hold it together for the family.”

These phrases, and many more like them, point to the burden many of us believe our grief and emotions represents to others.

From my perspective our grief is actually an outward expression of our love for the one who has died. So how can our love be a burden? How I see it is that our sadness and grief is a genuine gift to others of the love we have for our dear one who has passed. Sharing our grief is truly sharing our love.

So let’s make a change. Let us all be generous with our love – let us share our grief with our larger community! Grief is a gift that can inspire others to love even more fully those they are with, those still alive.

“Since you will come ?and throw kisses ?at my tombstone later?

why not give them to me now?

this is me ?

that same person”


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