Is there such thing as the dictatorship of grief? Naturally there is. Let me explain.
There is an unwritten hierarchy of grieving in society. According to this hierarchy, it is possible to make a list of experiences deserving the most and the least grieving.If your grief is due to a death of your beloved one, you might think that you can generally find a place in the upper part of the list i.e. your grief is supported by the society; however, even it has sub conditions such as whether your beloved one is an animal or a human, whether s/he is still in your womb or your arms, whether s/he is old or young or whether s/he had “bad” habits.
I know a woman who had a miscarriage in the seventh week of her pregnancy. I know a family whose dog died. I know a man whose brother died from drug overdose. I know a mother/father whose daughter died by suicide.
For all of these, the reason for grief is death. Nevertheless, the grief owners, unfortunately, cannot have the support they need (most probably) in their environment, share their grief or feel understood.
There is another part of the issue that is not related to grief from death even mostly not included in the list. For example, loss of job, loss of relationship, migration and move or a difficult birth experience could be regarded as trivial and insufficient to grieve.
The reason for this is that the hierarchy converting into an oppression classifies griefs without being noticed. It organizes our lives about who and how long s/he can grieve and how much support s/he can get. While the grief period itself has a complex structure, deprived / made to be deprived grief could become traumatized. To make matters worse, feeling that we don’t live abiding by the unwritten rules of the society might push us into shame, guilt and loneliness.
If you think that you are deprived of your grief, please approve of your grief yourself first. Look at your feelings. Be with them without any judgement. Slow down. Give yourself some time.
Make your sorrow visible through simple rituals or practices. Holding a small ceremony meaningful for you, writing what you feel, or drawing could help you make them visible.
Try to find people in similar situations as yourself. Talk to them. Create your own support groups.
No matter what anyone says, remind yourself that your grief is real. And don’t forget that taking the ownership of your own grief you are deprived of is really a revolutionary act.