How Is This Grief Similar?
Grieving someone is about reflecting on our lifetime connection and the attachment we had with them that no longer physically exists.
Even though the queen may not have been part of our immediate family, many of us have “grown up” with her.
During her 70-year reign, she’s been part of our lives – part of our grandparents’ lives, our parents’ lives and now ours. Think of these as cross-generational connections. We, collectively and across the generations, feel as if we “know” her.
Globally, we’ve also been preparing for her loss. Her advanced aged, health issues, and plans for what happens after her death have been the subjects of much media coverage.
So this “familiarity” means the type of grief we are seeing now can feel very similar to having someone in our own lives, then losing them.
Queen Elizabeth II Death: How Is This Grief Different?
But grief for a public figure we don’t know, such as the queen, can be quite different.
We’re missing the close connection with that individual. Many do not have personal anecdotes, or one-on-one shared experiences. We don’t have those intertwined memories to reflect on. As that person is out of reach, it’s difficult to create an image of who that person really was and what they mean to us.
Rather than reflecting on an individual relationship with a loved one, after the death of a public figure, we rely on community experiences for a type of collective grief that shapes how we share our grief online.