by CronoDAS1 min read8th Jan 201131 comments


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My grandmother just died.

I need sympathy.

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I'm sorry. When I lost my father, I felt like there were emotions I was supposed to feel at various stages, and my actual emotions didn't line up with the timetable at all. Other bereaved people have reported similarly. So this is just to say, don't worry about what you're supposed to be feeling or what feelings are appropriate.

Yes, yes, yes. I'd add to this: don't worry about when.

I was largely numb while at my father's shiva; I didn't fully start grieving until I went back home and had some time without my birth family.

My heart goes out to you. Unfortunately, prior experience both dealing with losses in my own family and with losses in friends' families has made clear that there's really nothing one can adequately say in these situations. So instead I'll offer what may be a helpful observation: some people who have never lost someone think that eventually one will get over a death of someone close to you. That's really not true. Years can go by, and then you'll happen to think of the loved one, and it will hit you all over again. This becomes less frequent as time goes on, but it never really stops.

Sounds like experiences may vary somewhat: it does "hit me all over again" from time to time, but the impact when it hits me does lessen with time. If being "over it" means zero pain then that's too much to expect, but if it means having integrated the fact of it into ones view of the world, if it means no longer being surprised at the memory of it, then that does happen at least sometimes.

I've lost three of my grandparents: one when I was a baby, one when I was a child, one when I'd just started grad school. What I regret most is that I wasn't close enough to any of these three (the first purely for lack of opportunity) that I felt significantly mournful about their deaths. I had knowledge of loss but no sensation of it, and when I think about this I feel like a bad granddaughter, and I'm trying to be closer to my last remaining grandparent in part because of this.

*hugs* for you, sympathy for you, but in a way I'm glad that you need the hugs and sympathy, given that the event occurred.

I'm sorry. That should never have happened.

You may find this consoling: http://yudkowsky.net/other/yehuda

It expresses grief in a powerful way.

Yes, I've read it.

Thank you.

Awww, 96 is way too young to die :(

My condolences.

Were you very close to her?

Sort of. She had been suffering what was most likely multi-infarct dementia, so there hasn't been all that much to be close to for quite some time now, but, yes, I was very fond of her.


My granddad died fourteen years ago in the same week my first son was born. At the interment ceremony at the cemetery, a weird-looking woman on a bike cycled up to me and asked in a panicked tone, "Who died? Who died?" Why she singled me out I have no idea, but having to reply - then seeing her cycle off without a word - was among the most mortifying moments in my life.

He was a kind, charming man who taught me, maybe not a great many things, but a smaller number of things that have come to form part of the core of who I am. In that sense he lives on in me, as we all have a chance to live on in others' minds. Still, how could I reasonably do anything but wish that more of him still lived on?

Ordinary, predictable loss is no less of a loss for being ordinary and predictable.

I don't think any language or culture currently has a turn of phrase which is actually adequate for events like this - for expressing exactly what was lost.

I've also lost a grandparent, and an uncle. Wasn't extremely close to either of them, but I understand that sickening feeling which goes along with knowing that someone played a role in your development as a person, and that you'll never be able to talk to them again. And I can't be the only person among those who occasionally hang out in the #lesswrong IRC channel to have such an experience. Pop in and talk to us if you feel the need.

And if you feel like it, maybe (re-)read Chapter 45 of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

And Death is not something I will ever embrace. It is only a childish thing, that the human species has not yet outgrown. And someday... We'll get over it... And people won't have to say goodbye any more...

[-][anonymous]10y 3

I know of no wiser philosophy than this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlBiLNN1NhQ

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You have my empathy. It always feels like you've had a limb ripped from you. The pain abates a bit with time. You never forget, which I find faintly comforting and you may.

I'm so sorry for your loss. My grandfather died several years ago. I had many regrets concerning not knowing him better. I was also grateful that I'd been able to visit with him during a recent holiday.

Having noticed myself become far less emotionally fragile over the last few years, just thinking of my father's future death recently brought instant tears. I hope you find the sympathy you need and express my empathy.

I agree with Kazuo -- no words really seem to cut it; I wish I had better ones.

I don't have anything to say, but that I sympathize. hugs

[-][anonymous]10y -1

I think the probability that Friendly AI resurrects all dead is rather high, conditional on FAI being made.

(I don't mean to be flippant, just stating a belief that might be consolatory, but I also really don't want to accidentally start a debate on this so I really hope no one tries to debate me)