General Question

elchoopanebre's avatar

How do you deal with death?

Asked by elchoopanebre (3074points) May 17th, 2008

Recently I’ve been feeling bad that I don’t feel bad about people dying. Several semi-close people to me have died recently and it hasn’t so much as made me shed a tear. Also, when I was young and my grandfather died I remember crying because I felt compelled to, not because I was sad.

It’s strange- feeling emotional because I feel callous and anti-emotional.

What do you think of this and how do you deal with death?

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16 Answers

scamp's avatar

I think you might be a little too hard on yourself about this. We all deal with the loss of a friend or loved one in our own way. Just feel the feelings you have and don’t try to force yourself to feel any more than you do.

jrpowell's avatar

You are not alone. I have had a unusual amount of people around me die. Lots of friends, grandpa, and father. I never cried at their death. But I always cry during episodes of “How I Met Your Mother.” Life is really fucking weird sometimes.

marinelife's avatar

If you can get it, I highly recommend the classic Mary Tyler Moore Show episode Chuckles the Clown. Our culture has very limited views of what is an appropriate response to death. Everyone is different.

skfinkel's avatar

With honesty.

susanc's avatar

I’m a big cryer. Maybe we’re doing division of labor: I wail and keen, you contain.
Maybe we could do a mutual workshop in how to do something different; but why
should we? We are what we are.

Trustinglife's avatar

Good question – glad you brought this up.

I really related to what you said, Elcho. I usually don’t feel sad when someone dies at all. Death really seems to me to be a part of life, and where we’re all going. I think I get that on a deep level. There’s no problem with it. Especially when the person lived a good, full life, with lots of love and good relationships.

I do like a good cry, though. Just today my good friend graduated from Seminary. Knowing all it took him to get there, get through it, and that he’s well on his way of fulfilling his dream of becoming a Priest – very inspiring. The tears were a-flowing down me cheeks!

wildflower's avatar

I haven’t lost anyone closer than aunt/uncle and grandparents. In all such cases, I’ve been sad, but mostly sad for how it affected my parents.

I was young when my grandparents passed away and didn’t have that close a relationship with them, so their passing made me very sad and sympathetic for my parents, but I didn’t feel a great pain or sorrow personally.

Same thing with my aunts and uncles who have passed. I was sad, as I got older, I was even sad for myself that I would no longer have these people in my life, but again, I wasn’t that close to them and for the most part it didn’t come as a surprise, so I knew they would be passing. But again, my heart went out to my parents losing a sibling.

nocountry2's avatar

I agree with Scamp – death affects us all in different ways, and your society/culture can be unconsciously influencing as well…I feel like in US culture, death is a very danced-around subject, ranging from expected recovery time for loved ones to outright denial, particularly considering our obsession with youth…and yet in Mexican culture, a whole fricken holiday is dedicated to the open expression and embracement of the subject, so…

XCNuse's avatar

I think you are similar to me (ish.. somewhat maybe), when someone dies, I’m not 100% bothered by it; however, I can’t really say this because the closest thing that has died to me was a dog of mine that I grew up with died comming up on 2 years now, thanksgiving day (actually right before dinner), however it never really hit me until a little while after it, I understand that death is a life in stage, and that life isn’t always fair at times. I eventually cried yes, because I couldn’t really think of him not being there forever with me, but soon got over it as I realized there was nothing i could do but celebrate what he had done to me as a kid.

marinelife's avatar

@nocountry2 You are so right about us dancing around death in this culture. It is one of the true taboo subjects. Want to kill a party or social gathering quick? Just mention death and watch as people start to shuffle backward away from you.

scamp's avatar

I was with my Father when he died. I knew he was going because he started a breathing pattern known as Cheyne-Stokes, and I recognized it from watching dogs die when I worked for vets in my youth. He really seemed to be struggling to stay with us, which is so characteristic of my Father. He wouldn’t want to leave because he wanted to stay and take care of us all. I stroked his forehead and told him it was ok to go, that we would be alright, and he could let go and rest. When I said that, his breathing relaxed, and he was gone.

I didn’t cry then. Maybe it was out of shock from watching someone die, especially someone I loved so deeply, or maybe because deep down I knew his suffering was over. I also got through most of two funerals in two states without crying much.. (We had services in Florida where we lived, then shipped him home to Ohio for family services and burial.)

It’s been 14 years, and now if I allow myself to think of how much I miss him, I am reduced to a quivering mass of tears. Sometimes just hearing a song he used to sing to me can do it. I allow myself a few minutes to think of him and grieve, but then I compose myself and carry on, because I know that’s what he would want. In fact, those were his last words to me. he said, “My baby girl… you carry on for me.”

When one of my brothers died, I had the opportunity to be with him as we stopped life support, but I opted out because I didn’t want to see him dead. I wanted to remember him alive, so I kissed him on the forehead and thanked him for being a good brother, and went home. I didn’t attend his funeral because I didn’t want to see him in a casket. I don’t regret that decision because my memories of him do not include looking at his corpse.

Another brother committed suicide, and I didn’t shed a tear until long after the funeral because I felt I had to help my parents through it. But once the tears came, they came in torrents.

Each death we experience has different circumstances, and we may react to it in different ways. I find that the healthiest way to deal with it is to simply allow ourselves the emotions as they come, and let them flow naturally. We should never allow others to tell us how we should feel, or pass judgement on us for the lack thereof. How we feel about the death of a loved one is as individual as the one we lost, and we will get through it in our own time, and in our own way. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for your feelings.

Bsilver's avatar

when my grandparents died, I didn’t cry, once. I still haven’t. I remember being angry when my grandfather died, and asking g-d why he took him away from me, but I understood after a few moments.

It’s wierd how some people don’t cry when their own loved ones die, but cry when they hear of others. I cried just reading some of the answers here.

Grief is a funny thing, and the psychology is terribly complex. Even having taken psychology classes on death and dying, it’s still hard to grasp.

marinelife's avatar

@scamp Thank you for a very moving post—that brought me to tears, but not of sadness just very deep feeling.

elchoopanebre's avatar


Wow, that was a really great (and powerful) answer. I’m glad you shared all that.

bigjojo's avatar

death is just as natural as life.just becuse the phisical bodie dies that dosent mean the spirit rots with the flesh

bigjojo's avatar

when someone dies dont be sad. that is selfis, rejoice and be glad that the have left the misery of this world behind and now know bliss

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