Today, I was asked for my thoughts on losing a loved one. I do not think there could possibly be a concise response to that question.
In 1950, when I father's mother died, I noticed that all the women and children at the funeral were crying, and none of the adult men. Was there a reason for that? My grandmother had been ill for quite a long time (to a fourteen year old, a "long time" can be a matter of months. I am not really sure how long it took the cancer to consume her earthly vessel).
As I grew older, I was still not sure quite how to answer the question of why men don't cry. I suspect, however, it's simply part of our culture that it's not "manly" for grown men to express emotion.
When my grandmother's mother died in 1960, it did not occur to me to notice who cried, and who didn't. My great-grandmother was 100 years old. She had been born before the Civil War, and had seen and done much in her long lifetime.
I think that by 1960, I had pretty much come to grips with death, and the fact that it happens to everone who lives long enough (or even some who haven't).
In early 1951, I attended a parade celebrating the death of a lady of Chinese descent who was the matriarch of the Chun Hoon family, who owned a grocery empire in Hawaii. And I mean celebrating! Apparently, in the traditional Chinese culture of the day, it was customary to rejoice a death. Madame Chun Hoon had fulfilled her terrestrial destiny. I'm sure there were those who grieved, but grief is for the living. It has no effect on the deceased.
Is it selfish of us to grieve for the loss of loved ones? Probably.
If we truly believe that there is life after death, or even if we don't, there's no reason, except for our own selfish purposes, to mourn the loss of the loved one. They've simply moved to another phase. We are left behind, but it's a sure thing that we will follow, someday. We should try to make the best use of the time we have.
It always brings tears to my eyes to observe a small child surprised. A happy, laughing little one who suddenly trips over a crack in the sidewalk and skins a knee, or one who is carried away by an undertow to be found later limp and lifeless, will make me weep audibly.