Theory of Cumulative Loss

If you live long enough, you find yourself going to funerals. I have a theory about grief and loss. With every funeral you attend, grief accumulates and clings to your heart and soul.

After a few of these sad events, you feel the weight of this cumulative grief from each loss. It squeezes your heart when you walk into the church and hear the funereal music and see the massive floral displays.

I don't know if it's a southern thing, but just about every funeral I've attended, the song "How Great Thou Art" is played or sung. My parents wanted it at their funerals, and we made sure it was as they wished.

When you lose your grandparents, you deal with it because, even though you loved them, you knew they were old and, sad as the reality is, knew they would pass sooner than you wished.

Parents. Now that's indescribably harder. I still find it difficult to believe that my parents are no longer in this world. When my husband lost his parents within a month of each other, the shock was almost too much to bear. The only thing worse would be losing your spouse or a child. I shudder to even think along those lines because my husband and my children are the most important people in my world.

Now, we're losing cousins, friends, aunts, uncles. The most shocking are those who are our age and younger.

I'm at the point now where I walk into a funeral service and can hardly control my tears. When the music -- that song -- begins, I usually lose the battle. It's as if each funeral is not just the loss of that person, but the cumulative loss of all the people I have loved and who are now gone.

Takeaway Truth

I could say something profound, but because death touches us all, you have your own profound conclusions and don't need mine.

I will say this. When I kick it, I don't want any music designed to make anyone weep. I want Norman Greenbaum's "Goin' Up To The Spirit In The Sky" and the Doobie Brothers singing "Jesus Is Just All Right With Me."


  1. I want a film clip of "It's Later than You Think" for Woody' Allen's EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU. This one:

  2. Oh, Joan, I'm so sorry you've been dealing with more of this sadness lately. {{hug}} And I hear you on not wanting weepy music. I'm a longtime Bon Jovi fan -- "It's My Life" would be more my speed ;).

  3. I'm sorry you're dealing with so much right now.

  4. I agree. I want people to celebrate my life and help those I left behind to laugh at all the good times we had. That's the best legacy of all.