Permission To Grieve

     The meeting was well attended. I talked for over 45 minutes about lessons learned from grieving the loss of two wives and the areas of my life that affected me. In the course of my discussion, I gave a list of other experiences in life where grieving often needs to occur. Among them was the loss of an endeared pet. I specifically stated, “It is okay to grieve!” in such situations.

   She sat on the aisle seat in the very back row. As I exited the auditorium, my route took me right past this middle-aged lady sitting alone. Approaching her location, I noticed tears in her undecorated eyes as she handed me a note and whispered, “Thank you.” It read: “Thank you for your kind words. No one thinks of us who lose beloved pets. These pets are our children too! No one in the (community) helps us to grieve. They say kind words for the moment, and then they forget. We who lose them do not forget their love for us. We are told to move on. Angel died three years ago, on July 2. She was my Baby Girl. I mourn her still. The sorrow is with me still. Thank you again for your kind words.” (Lauren)

   Between the insensitivity of her friends and her erroneous thought that she should not feel that way over the loss of an animal, turmoil existed within her for a long time. That day, the permission I gave her to grieve brought a release and victory over her long-overdue pain. Freedom felt good to her.

   From that experience, I became more aware that it was not uncommon for people who have experienced a loss need to be “given permission” to grieve. There is a broad spectrum of reasons why this is true. It ranges from embarrassment to pride to perceived social expectations. Not grieving the loss of a pet can be viewed as trivial. Grieving the loss of a job may be viewed as selfishness or weakness. Whereas not grieving a divorce can stem from guilt.

  Surprisingly, I continue to come across many who lost a spouse who then looks to me (or someone) to give them permission to grieve that loss or some portion of it. Some have avoided deep grief, thinking they had to “be strong” for someone else. Others “never took the time” to deal with their hurting heart and spirit. Still, more had underlying wrong ideas about the grieving process, preventing the full expression of their pain because they viewed mourning as somehow wrong or a sign of weakness.

   It probably won’t surprise you that many of this last group referred to are men. The faulty, social misnomer that “men don’t cry” tends to swell up and control many. It may be true that men tend to mourn differently than women. Yet it cannot become the easy way to “stuff” one’s grief instead of processing it. After all, if you had a nasty cut on your arm, you would treat it. Likewise, grief is a “cut to your heart” and should be given proper attention.

If you are reading this and have experienced a loss… I am giving you permission to grieve that loss.

(see other topics at; )

, ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: