Different Types of Grief

In addition to dealing with the loss of my husband, Eric, I’ve been dealing with other, different types of grief. More about that in a minute.

My Grief About the Loss of a Person

November 15 was the 19 year anniversary of Eric’s death. The fatal plane crash happened on October 10, 2000 but he survived for 36 days. Even after so long, I still live in a sort of hazy zombie-state during those 36 days. I replay where I was (the hospital), what I did (hope and cry), and how my life was shattered (it really was). If you’ve read Flight through Fire then, well, you know what happened–every horrible detail, as closely as I can remember. I still try not to be a victim, but I’m not always successful. Grief is like that. I sequester myself in my house that day because after 19 years I’ve learned that no one (and I mean no one) wants to be around me. Sometimes I don’t want to be around me. I miss Eric and I really want to talk about him, but people feel uncomfortable about it. So I spend the day looking at scrapbooks and wandering around crying. Not a pretty sight, to be sure.

My Grief About the Loss of the Natural World

I also suffer from a type of grief that is becoming more and more common. I cry for the natural world and what mankind has done to it. In an earlier blog I wrote about the loss of 3 billion birds. How can anyone sleep after knowing that? I suspected it, due to my participation in bird counts. I just didn’t know it was THAT bad.

This week I’ve been pacing at all hours of the night, crying about the fires in Australia and the death of over 1,000 koalas. They’re now functionally extinct. I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t melt at the sight of this adorable, fuzzy marsupial. Thinking about them, terrified, climbing higher in their beloved eucalyptus trees, only to be consumed by the flames is almost too much to bear. My Eric died as a result of fire too, and fire is my biggest fear and greatest phobia.

“Why are we continuing to destroy the natural world?” asks David Attenborough, one of my heroes. Why do we destroy habitats, hunt and poach endangered animals, spray chemicals everywhere, allow our cats to murder songbirds, throw trash everywhere? The bottom line is money, and honestly, some people (mostly companies) DON’T CARE. But there’s another reason and we better do something about it before we destroy the planet.

My Grief About the Climate Crisis

Yes, grief about climate change is a real thing, and I’m not the only one suffering from it. There are many articles about climate grief. But as I tell people when I give climate presentations, despair is not helpful. It’s OK to be sad, but we can’t let it paralyze us. If we are to save the birds and all the other beautiful animals, then we must start taking action on climate change. There are solutions–100 of them–in a book called Drawdown. How can we get our elected representatives to read this and take action? Sure, we can all do our part for the planet by recycling and driving EV’s and putting up solar panels and changing our diets, but we’ve got to get industry to start paying a carbon tax and cleaning up their mess. And that, my friends, is where YOU come in.

Vote every single climate-denier OUT of office. Vote out every single person who isn’t doing something about the climate crisis. Vote out every single person who doesn’t want to make companies stop spraying bird-killing neonicotinoids everywhere.