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AIBU to not grasp some kinds of grief?

(374 Posts)
lizzieoak Mon 14-Nov-16 05:58:23

I'm curious about what upsets people when famous people die? As an example, I was a massive fan of Amy Winehouse & I was sad when she died. Primarily thought "oh, how sad for her poor family" & a little bit thought (& still think) "how sad for people who loved her writing & voice that it's all ended so soon."

But, horrible monster that I am, I didn't cry, as I didn't know her personally and, sadly, it was hardly a huge surprise. Ditto the death of our treasured Mr Cohen. He was 82.

On the non-famous end, while I was sad when my dad died when I was in my 20's, I thought "well, today I'm sad, but in a year I bet days will pass when I don't even think of dad". A friend of mine had a parent die around the same age and he spends the whole month, every year, 30 years later, being Quite Upset. Slight difference in the manner of our parent's deaths as my dad had been sick on & off since I was a kid whereas my friend's mum died of cancer within a year of getting ill.

I totally grasp that a loss of a child could destroy a person. It's out of the natural order of things. And the loss of a spouse - I can see how that could be pretty devastating.

But I worry a bit that I feel sad but not grief-stricken about the loss of people I love (older adult family members thus far) & people whose work I've admired.

Is it just that I'm a cold fish in this regard? Can anyone upended by the death of an elderly person, or Princess Diana, explain to me ... well, just what it is they're upset about?

Hard to convey tone online sometimes, but I'm not being sarkie, I really don't grasp this (though am otherwise emotionally normal).

Anecdotally, my male friends seem more thrown by the death of elderly rellies, whereas women seem more emotional than men are by the death of famous people. Not necessarily true across society, but in my circle I've noticed this.

pklme Mon 14-Nov-16 06:00:25

I'm interested to hear about this, too.

mylittlephoney Mon 14-Nov-16 06:05:41

I wouldn't say your a cold fish emotionally speaking. I just think you deal with death in your own way. Their is no right or wrong in mourning. Some people take it on the chin and crack on with their lives. Some crumble and their world stops.
Empathy and love doesn't come easy to some either.
I'm sure you loved your relatives who have passed. So don't worry. You do what you've got to do to get through it.
I on the other hand will try and wail at anything emotionally charged. It's just me.

Kingsizecrochetblanket Mon 14-Nov-16 06:08:35

When my DP died outwardly I was strong, but behind closed doors I was a wreck for years.
I think a lot of it depends on whether it's an expected death or not.
I've never grieved for a celebrity.

mylittlephoney Mon 14-Nov-16 06:10:09

That's cry and wail not try confused

NotYoda Mon 14-Nov-16 06:10:09

I think the death of a famous person may affect some people more if that person reminds them of someone else, or of a time in their life when they were particularly emotional (happy or troubled).

I think with the death of someone you know - depends upon your relationship with them (and sometimes a less straightforwardly harmonious relationship can cause more complicated or prolonged grieving, because you are grieving for a relationship that perhaps was not happy and now will not have a chance to be so)

It also depends whether you have mentally prepared yourself ahead of time or not. In your dad's case, it sounds as if you had prepared yourself.

Finally, some people just emote more openly than others

Personally, I was very upset by the death of Diana, and that's mainly because of her children. It still upsets me to think she did not get a chance to see them grow into fine young men, and for them to continue live their formative years with their mother.

Bowie- I think what an amazing man, and amazing life, and was sad that such a talent had been lost. But how great that someone can live and produce such a legacy .

I was upset by the death of both my grandmothers, because I was close to them. I still miss one of them.

You can't feel what you don't feel. You aren't a cold fish

NotYoda Mon 14-Nov-16 06:16:10

.. Also, you do feel. You just don't cry

whattheseithakasmean Mon 14-Nov-16 06:25:59

If I am being horribly honest, in the depths of my cold, bitter heart I do secretly judge the weepers and wailers - although I would never dare admit that in public. I am with the American poet Marianne Moore: 'The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence; not in silence, but restraint.'

(As a very slight disclaimer, but not excuse, I have lost a child among other tragic losses, & I do find it OTT when people go batshit over the death of their cat, for example - I think they are a bit shallow & cossetted. But I would never, ever, let anyone know that except on the privacy of a forum. And know I will be vilely judged for this)

NotYoda Mon 14-Nov-16 06:28:40


No, I agree to some extent

Although I tend to think that people who weep and wail are sometimes actually weeping and wailing about something else, deep down.

lizzieoak Mon 14-Nov-16 06:32:49

Thanks all, I was worried to post as I didn't want to offend anyone. I did spend time practicing as a kid "when dad dies it will feel like x and then it'll move on to x". So when he did die I was prepared!

People tell me I'm very nurturing, & good w kids & sick people. Maybe it's a bit cultural, & a bit generational. But also I've always felt a bit that I never had the space to not cope as there was always someone pushing ahead in the non-coping. Someone had to deal w practicalities, & that was me. My parents weren't, in some regards, terribly practical.

But using the Princess as an example - it is sad she died so young, didn't get to see her kids grow up, they lost their mum etc. But as I didn't know them it's all a bit theoretical to me. My mum couldn't read the paper as she'd get massively upset about disasters on a daily basis and while I have no doubt it felt sincere, it looked ... odd to me? I can't sustain enthusiasm about a holiday dinner past the first course nvm being upset for the world Every Day.

Makes me feel a bit beastly, but maybe some of us just don't have those deeper tanks of empathy? I feel bad about stuff, but not sobbingly bad.

insancerre Mon 14-Nov-16 06:35:11

Public grief is like hysteria, it's contagious
Private grief is just that, private. I have experienced major loss but I'm a private person and I don't tend to do the weeping and wailing in public
I might feel sad if someone I admire dies but I wouldn't cry

RoseDeGambrinus Mon 14-Nov-16 06:35:47

I don't think I've ever cried about the death of a famous person. I cried about Brexit and Trump winning though.

Believeitornot Mon 14-Nov-16 06:36:14

When "famous" or unknown to me people die, I get upset if I can empathise. Eg jo cox because she was a mother like me. Or a lady who died on the tram who's children were my age. The idea of my children losing their mother upsets me. This happened to my mother so may skew my view.

When my great uncle died, I was a bag of emotions. On one hand, sad because I miss him. And not surprised because he was mid 80s and I had mentally prepared myself and already grieved.

7 years later I am still sad but no longer cry about it (he was very special to me).

The strange thing that struck me was when you said something like "I won't be so sad in a year" as if that were a reason not to be sad now? Why not?

How are you with other emotions?

NotYoda Mon 14-Nov-16 06:37:19

Don't get me wrong, I'd only have a small tear about Diana if I was already hormonal.
I don't think you prove empathy by how much you cry. You sound fine to me

As an aside, not being able to cope with the news etc was something that happened to me when I was depressed. So not a good thing at all. Equilibrium all gone

lizzieoak Mon 14-Nov-16 06:39:08

Whathe, thanks for sharing that. That grief I do get.

Generally when people are falling apart over what seems smaller cheese (death of beloved turtle etc), I try to think "well, it's lovely that some people's lives are so blessed that they have not been ground down and so the death of Mr Turtle is a very difficult thing for them". Because otherwise I might get grumpy!

As in many things, I blame Tony Blair.

NotYoda Mon 14-Nov-16 06:42:08

I admit to crying a lot over death of my 20 year old cat. not falling apart, but crying for a while every day for a couple of weeks Would you secretly judge? wink. What if she had been 10, or 5?

There's no competition here.

People should not make you feel bad.

hopscotchegg Mon 14-Nov-16 06:46:56

I think for some people it's a 'safe' way of expressing feelings about other losses.

lizzieoak Mon 14-Nov-16 06:48:38

Believeit, I think the "in a year the sadness will be smaller" is an effective way - for me - of keeping perspective in many situations.

CigarsofthePharoahs Mon 14-Nov-16 06:48:40

I'm a lot like you op!
I am sad when certain famous people pass away, but I don't grieve. I didn't know the person in question, though I may have admired and respected them. I personally think it's odd to really grieve for someone you've never even met.
I was sad for the loss of each of my grandparents. However all bar one were very expected events. My mums mum was in her 90's and hadn't been well for years, the last 5 year of her life we were told "this will be her last winter". When she finally did go, peacefully in her sleep, we felt sadness and relief - for her as she was no longer suffering. It was much the same with both my grandfathers too. My dad's mum was more of a surprise and that hit me a bit more, though we actually weren't that close.

whattheseithakasmean I'm assuming you mean the full on stuff! I wouldn't judge someone for crying at a funeral but I can't help having an inner moment of hmm if someone really is going for it in a very noisy way. I think there's a line between someone who's lost in grief and someone who's putting it on for dramatic effect. I've seen both and I do judge the latter group.

Oblomov16 Mon 14-Nov-16 06:50:26

I have never lost anyone close to me. I don't cry - Famous people dying doesn't bother me. I didn't cry for my mil, although I liked her. A lot. She was lovely.
But I am sure I will cry a lot when my mum or dh pass away, because I am quite a cry'er naturally.
I, like the op am confused by other people's crying, especially over famous people.

lizzieoak Mon 14-Nov-16 06:53:20

NotYoda, I still miss our elderly cat who died a couple of years ago. But cats are another kind of person (vs pet goldfish).

I took 3 days off when my mum died (it ran into a weekend). One of the ladies in the office took a month when her mum died & ... I don't know, I guess I just think Nothing Will Get Done if I don't do it (& this is actually true in my home & foo).

Changingagain Mon 14-Nov-16 06:53:33

I'm one of those people who cries at the news, especially when it involves children or parents. Other people wouldn't know this though as I never cry unless I'm alone. I don't know why events that have no bearing on my life upset me so much, but they do and I can't change it. I just can't help but imagine what the people involved may be feeling and how their lives are going to affected.

The odd thing is, I couldn't cry over the death of my father. It's been 15 years and I still struggle to deal with my emotions and thoughts surrounding what happened, how he'll never be back, and how he'll never know his grandchildren. But I cried for about 10 seconds on the day it happened and never have since.

I think that rather than being cold, you are possibly just more emotionally intelligent (if that's the correct term) than people like me. You can rationalise your feelings and I wish I could too.

DadsGone Mon 14-Nov-16 06:54:55

Empathy has made me weep for high profile deaths or just the sheer devastation that the death has laid on others lives but I'm a very empathetic person.
I'm very much grieving for my dad and cry often, almost a year on, because my heart is aching at how much I miss him. As his carer I saw him daily and it's left a gaping hole. He was the one person who always always loved to see me and had time for me right to the end. I miss that.

Changingagain Mon 14-Nov-16 06:55:58

I should probably clarify, I've never been upset by the death of a celebrity. It's news stories about everyday people that get to me.

lizzieoak Mon 14-Nov-16 06:56:35

It's sounding like it's not just me then, so that helps me give it context.

While the rest of you are waking up, I'm off to sleep, will peek in tomorrow. Night all!

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