Social Question

zookeeny's avatar

Have you ever been 'gripped/overcome/consumed with/by grief'?

Asked by zookeeny (875 points ) December 17th, 2009

Greif is a huge concept compacted into a small yet highly emotive word.

We describe grief as a process. Someone can be consumed by grief, gripped with grief and grief can be said to overcome a person. All very full and weighty concepts suggesting total immersion by this thing called grief.

Greif can be said to drive us and even cause us to do things.

What is this thing called grief?
In what way would you describe the impact grief has had on you physically, emotionally – spiritually?
What is this grief we all experience at some point in our lives?

What is your personal relationship with the experience of grief (not so much the reason for the greif – more your actual body and mind reaction to experiencing grief)

I ask this because I wastold today that I am in a grieving ‘process’ and as I tend to process emotions with my mind easier then my heart I thought I would begin with greif as a physically felt concept.

Thank you

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16 Answers

SirGoofy's avatar

Well….duh. Of course! Ever lost a parent you were really, really close to? No? Okay, then how about BOTH parents?! BUT….I moved on…I’m way past it and life goes on. My blitz of grief came and went and it sure as hell did not consume me.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, the night my mother died. It was unexpected. I was consumed by grief, wracked by it, physically and psychologically impaired by it. Yes, gripped/overcome/consumed by grief. That was the worst grief I had ever experienced, it diminished progressively, over time, day by day a little less, even though some days the grief would come out of nowhere but it was never quite like that night. The night my dad died, even though I was closer to him that I was to my mother, it wasn’t quite as bad as far as being completely overcome by it, being completely blown over by it. But the grief never goes away completely when you lose someone you love, someone who was a big part of your life….

NUNYA's avatar

Yes, My dad was killed in an oil field accident in 1985! GUT PUNCH! 43 yrs old and the best damn dad in the whole wide world! NOTHING like loosing a parent or a child! GREAT QUESTION!

Freedom_Issues's avatar

My high school boyfriend broke up with me, after we had only been dating a month. I was racked with grief, shaking, and sobbing uncontrollably. I think at the time, I was very immature and figured we’d last forever. I have had grief for when people died, but it wasn’t as strong as the grief I had for the breakup for some reason.

Jude's avatar

I lost my Mom a few years ago. I was 35 and I feel apart inwardly. Outwardly, I appeared as though I was holding it together okay. To see anyone or anything physically hurting—is agonizing. I don’t deal with it all that well. I’m still grieving.

Symbeline's avatar

If the Chinese were right, then I guess it just means we really do need am element of balance in everything, and that opposites define one another.

broncosgirl's avatar

YES. I broke up with my boyfriend of six years a year ago, and I had about a four month phase I was consumed with grief. Even though I was the one who called it quits, I cried all the time. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. My hair was falling out. I lost 20 lbs. I have never felt so overly consumed with a horrible feeling as then, and I still have bouts once in a while that just sneak up and bite me. When you love someone so much, whether they die or you move away or break up, it is an indescribably feeling of empty pain. The only thing that makes it go away is time. SUCKS :P

HighShaman's avatar

I sure have.

First; I had an uncle get murdered by being hung naked from a meat hook thru his throat and he bled to death….

Second; My elderly grandmother was rapped and left for dead . It took its toll on her and she died a year later . She and I spent EVERY Sunday together .

Third: My mother was Murdered by my sister in 2004 and managed to get away with it and more than $150,000 of moms estate.

SirGoofy's avatar

@lillycoyote Really sorry for your loss of your mother and father. I mean it.

wundayatta's avatar

For two years, I worked with an elderly jazz musician. He played guitar and piano. When I was working with him, he played piano for the first several months, so it was a bit surprise when I found out he was a guitar player.

There were four or five of us, depending on who showed. All ages from teenagers to twenty-somethings to forty-somethings to our leader, who was 75 or so. He’d played with some of the greats—maybe even all of them—back in the forties and fifties.

He would teach us his tunes—all by ear. He’d sing a bit or knock out a rhythm—for all of us, our different parts. When I first started playing with them, it was very frustrating because I couldn’t remember from one time to the next what I was supposed to be doing. So I starting writing down the music. My part, anyway.

It was like that, though. Pretty disorganized. Karim (not his real name) had incredible patience, though. He’d put up with kids arriving half an our or an hour late. I didn’t mind so much, because he could always teach one of us something new. Later on, when I was trying to hold the band together without him, I didn’t have that patience, and I got pissed off, and one thing lead to another and poof! The band was history. That was something to grieve about for me, but it wasn’t nearly like what had happened a few months before that.

We’d work together once or twice a week, in the evening, after 8 or 9. My kids were younger, so I wasn’t free until then. We’d play in this crowded living room with a piano and a drum set, and we were always scrambling for space. Numerous kids were also running around. Not like my house where the kids were all in bed by that time. What I’m saying is that it was all chaotic and disorganized and it wasn’t clear where we were headed.

We’d been working together for two years, and I’d finally gotten us our first paying gig. It was to be in two weeks. We had a rehearsal for Tuesday night. We were all there, except Karim. He had never, ever missed a rehearsal before. I guess he called, because we learned he had a cold or something. He wasn’t feeling up to coming over. What no one told us was that he had been standing outside his house for two hours, because he was unable to get up the stairs to get in the door.

We decided to practice anyway, because the gig was coming up. We didn’t think much about his absence. Wow! This is harder than I thought it would be. Six years has passed since that week. Maybe seven. However long I’ve been working at my new job. It had to be August, because that’s when I started that job.

Thursday morning, around 5 am, the phone rings. My wife says it’s for me, and I struggle to try to understand who it is and what’s going on. It’s Karim’s wife. The crazy woman, as he had described her. I’d never met her before.

“Daloon, can you give me a ride to the hospital?” Karim, like many musicians from his era, had no money, no health insurance, lived in Section 8 housing, which he seemed to be constantly in danger of losing. They had no car. “The hospital called. They said if you want to see him before….. you’d better come now.”

“Of course,” I said. I hurried into whatever clothes were there, and ran down to the car to drive over. Susan, the woman in whose house we practiced, was already there. We piled into my car and head to the hospital. It took us a while to find out where we were supposed to go. One long florescent-lit corridor after another. Nurses sitting blankly behind their glass walls, talking to each other, waiting for their shifts to end.

We told them who we were, and they looked it up, and then they took us to a conference room. They told us to wait and the doctor would come soon.

In a time like that, you hope against hope, but you know that you haven’t been taken to that room for any other reason but one. Especially if the doctor keeps you waiting. It means the urgency is gone. It means we were too late. When the doctor told us he had passed, it was mere bureaucratic rubber stamping on the obvious.

“Would you like to see him?” He asked. Or maybe, “would you like to see the body?” But I doubt it. That seems so meatlike, and we weren’t ready for him to be gone. He was sick for one day. Maybe two. How the hell could this happen?

We went to see him. They’d arranged him in the death pose—hands crossed over his stomach. Lying on his back, facing up at the ceiling, eyes closed. As if asleep.

We stood there, not knowing what to do. Not knowing what to feel. Not knowing how to feel it. Ella, his wife, took one of his hands in both of hers, and whispered his name, over and over, as if trying to wake him. After a while, we were all crying. And then we had to go. I had to go to work

I could barely see the road as I drove home. It was all blurry with tears. And when I came in the door, my wife and my daughter and my son were all there, ready to go to school or work. I was sobbing as I came in, and I couldn’t stop. I went to my wife who hugged me and held me for a while. My children came up to hug or pat me in their uncertain, but loving way. They had never seen me like that before. Hell! I’d never been like that before.

I’d worked with Kareem twice a week for two solid years. I knew his stories and his way. I’d sat on the steps with him while he smoked his black cigarillos. We discussed politics and philosophy and music and spirit. In that way that men have, we loved each other. No one ever said anything, but you knew how important you were to each other.

The thing I remember now is how my kids would keep asking me whether I was going to cry again. Someone or other would die—people we didn’t know all that well, and they’d ask me if I was going to cry like when Karim died. It was from their questions that I began to get a sense of the grief I must have been feeling.

It lasted…. I don’t know how long. I’d think of him, at first, many times a day, and each time I might start to cry. Later, my eyes would tear. Then I thought of him less often, and my reaction was not as strong. But my eyes are blurry now, as I write this. I remember so much, and my memory is like a sieve.

I wish we could have had that gig. I’m glad we did a test analog recording just a week or two before he missed that rehearsal. I wish he didn’t hate doctors. I wish we had universal health insurance so he didn’t have to worry about the hideous bureaucracy. It’s all anger and wishful thinking.

Karim is gone. He was gone. His body had nothing left in it. It just lay there like some kind of old, wrinkly, leather sack.

I asked Ella for his blue sweater. He wore it every day. It’s still sitting on the top of my bookshelf to the left of me as I write. It reminds me of the privilege I had to work with this amazing jazz musician from back in the day. It reminds me of his energy and patience and the way he would light up when we were playing, even when he got cranky. It reminds me of the grief I felt, standing there, looking at his unnaturally still body.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Yes, I am right now,

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Yes, I have….....more times than I could even count, really. I come from a very emotive culture/family.

anartist's avatar

Depends on the grief. Some, a loss expected and in harmony with life, almost soothing after the initial pain. Like the peaceful death of a loving and beloved aged parent who wants to go.Other grief, for wrongful loss,breaking a piece of me and leaving permanent scars and never actually over.

VS's avatar

Following 9–11 I experienced some bizarre physical symptomology including hives and I was emotionally unsettled for about three weeks. I was unable to dress or go out or cook for my family. We had JUST moved to Virginia from SC the week before and I was just totally immobilized with grief and terror from the horrendous acts of the awful day. I watched TV non-stop and cried for what was happening to my country. I finally had to go the doctor who helped me understand what was happening and soon after I guess I just self-corrected with no need of medication or therapy.
Of course, I have had my share of grief that comes from loss of loved ones including both of my parents, two husbands, a best friend, and a lover. I think the death of someone close to you is a bit different. I mean the normal things like crying and reliving or remembering the good times, and sadness at knowing you won’t see that loved one again on this plane of existence are difficult, but are usually overcome within a period of time. Time does not heal all wounds, but time does make them easier to live with.

janedelila's avatar

@HighShaman Holy crap!! Seriously? That’s awful.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. When we had to put Mom in a home in Seattle. When we left Kansas to take her to Seattle she thought she was going “home.” (She grew up there, all of her family lives there.) When it hit her that she was going to another home…I cried for hours and hours after we had to leave her there. Even her death didn’t hurt as much as what we had to do to her when she was alive.

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