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There are many faces of grief

Recently someone I know lost her husband after nearly 40 years of a good marriage. She went about briskly arranging for the last rites of her husband with the help of a few loved ones. She was there to talk to everyone who came to convey their condolences. She organized the rituals that follow and went back to work after a month or so.

“She does not look like someone grieving”

“How can you lose your husband and act normal?”

“People these days don’t feel anything”

These were some of the snide remarks that were made within her earshot and outside it. The loss of her much-loved husband was a terrible tragedy for her. These comments were even worse. Many people expect that the moment someone loses their spouse or loved ones, they have to be paralyzed, distraught and devastated. They should be crying copiously and be uncontrollable emotionally. Why should this be true for everyone?

Grief has many forms and many faces. Everyone does not beat their chest and cry. Everyone is not paralyzed physically and emotionally. Each person has a different way to grieve and cope with the loss. If they don’t do it in the ‘standardized’ way whatever you think is the norm does not make them heartless or unemotional. Some people don’t like to display emotions in public. Others could be in shock to display any emotions. Some even as they are processing grief like to keep themselves busy with work.

We are so used to ONE idea of a grieving person, we find it difficult when someone behaves differently. We want the visual confirmation of their grief and if that does not come, we think they are not grieving.

For some people, grief brings tears in their eyes which you can see and for others, the heart sobs uncontrollably which you can’t see. Each person processes grief differently. Grief has many forms and many faces, let us respect that.

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