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jessiemay25's avatar

Does grief get easier to deal with as you get older?

Asked by jessiemay25 (105points) June 6th, 2012

Just after watching my Mum deal with a friend pass away she seemed to deal with it better than me who is 20 years younger. I then thought about when other people she knew had passed away and then elderly people at the friends funeral and most looked really strong. Do you think as more people in our life leave us we deal with grief better, accepting it’s a part of life becoming more used to it or are we simply are able to look stronger?

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21 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

As you age, you accept the inevitability of death. You know you’re on the list to go too. It’s sad, but it’s acceptable.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Sort of. You know what to expect, emotionally, and how to deal with it.

Bill1939's avatar

While the loss of people you care for is always a deeply moving experience, it does get easier as one attends more funerals of friends and families over the years. Also, unlike young people for whom death is almost an abstraction, it becomes only too real for a senior.

When I was a young man, the behavior of people at funerals seemed wrong. Few were overtly grieving, but instead most seemed to be taking the opportunity to share pictures of their children and otherwise get reacquainted with family and friends not seen for a long time. Only the immediate family seemed saddened by the death of a dear one. Fifty years later, I understand that baptism, graduation, marriage and death were reasons to strengthen relationships.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

In general, I agree with all of the posts above.

There are certain instances when the loss of a loved one will hit like a ton of bricks no matter what the age. The two that come to mind are when one person loses their spouse of many years and struggles to cope without their their partner. I’ve witnessed this time and time again with my elderly mother’s friends.

The worst, and no one should have to go through this, is when a parent loses their child, no matter what the child’s age is.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, speaking for myself anyway.
It is about acceptance and death becomes less scary as you get older and more accepted as part of the natural order of things. All life forms come and go and even the sun will die. Earth is a mere infant of the cosmos as are her inhabitants.

Such is the nature of this mysterious universe of ours. A good reason to not take anything too seriously, because nothing is all that serious when compared to the fact that we are all just little organisms scrambling around a planet suspended in infinite space. None of this wordly stuff really matters much, if at all. :-)

marinelife's avatar

We do get more used to the process of grieving. But mostly I think it’s that we fake looking strong better.

tranquilsea's avatar

In my experience the degree of morning is directly proportional to how close one is to the deceased. If the death was expected then, too, it may not be as shocking as when the death is unexpected.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Not really, no. At least not in my experience, yet.

wundayatta's avatar

Is grief easier to deal with? Not exactly. I think that the more grief we experience, the more we know how to process it in a way that works for us, personally. We understand what is happening. We understand what we need to do. That never makes it any less painful, but it does help us understand ourselves better and we cope better.

tranquilsea's avatar

of course that should have been mourning and not morning <sigh>

Bellatrix's avatar

I think it depends on the person who has died and their relationship to us. I also think we are individuals and so our own responses to death are unique.

I do agree our awareness of the inevitability of death becomes more developed as we age and so the death of friends, colleagues and people we know and care about can be more easily managed. Even the loss of parents who are aged may be something we have had time to in some ways emotionally prepare for (even though we will still feel grief at their loss). However, there are some deaths that I don’t think we can be prepared for and I don’t know that there is any way to cushion our feelings. For instance, the loss of a child or your special other and especially if that death is unexpected. I think grief in some circumstance, regardless of age, is likely to be crippling.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

No, sucks is still sucks, however old you are.

creative1's avatar

I believe that with grief, the more we learn how to cope with the loss of our loved one the better we are at it. Unfortunately it takes the loss of a loved one in order to learn how to cope.

Coloma's avatar

Well….I think the emphasis should be on the life lived, not the exit.
Death should be a celebration of life. How LUCKY we all are to get our little spin on the planet. Celebrate the miracle of existence! Remember, your life comes down to that little 1 inch dash between your birth date and death date on your tombstone.

Make the dash count and recognize it’s short duration by appreciating every day and not sweating the small stuff because it’s ALL small stuff.:-)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Coloma There is truth in your last statement. It just takes most people awhile to reach that same conclusion. It is very difficult to feel that way right after someone cherished dies, particularly if their death is sudden.

If your daughter, in her mid-twenties if I recall correctly, was killed by a drunken driver, do you honestly think that you would have the same perspective from the moment you received the news? What about if you were in the car with her and discovered that she was dead and you survived?

Coloma's avatar


Yes, I do. It’s part of my evolution over the years. Of course I would be sad, very sad, but, from a “spiritual” perspective I would also accept the randomness and fleetingness of life minus the ego identity we attach to those we care for. This doesn’t mean I would not shed plenty of tears or recall precious memories but, there would also be acceptance and understanding that yet another life form has passed, as have billions before.

This is not a callous attitude, it is an accepting attitude. Embrace the moments you have because all life is fleeting.

dontmindme's avatar

Every person and situation is different. as you can tell from the answers above

Some people handle grief better than others. Age doesn’t really make a difference. imo

Paradox25's avatar

I’m not so sure, and I think it depends on the individual along with the circumstances. Some spiritual teachings and their philosophies, along with keeping myself mentally occupied has helped me deal with grief a little better. Maybe as we get older and we become exposed to more concepts of different things than age in that sense can help us deal with grief better. I don’t think that it is age by itself though that helps, at least from my own experiences.

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