After yesterday’s post “Grieve Well” ( I received two responses from “elbie.”

In the first comment “elbie” cautioned that it is important to see that there are different kinds of grief. The grief associated with the loss of a loved one, needs to be received, welcomed and embraced. But there is another kind of grief which needs to motivate the griever to step out and engage the world.

“Elbie’s” second comment goes on the expand this distinction describing the inner sense we need to heed when confronted by the inner unease that can accompany grief.

Here is “elbie’s” follow up comment:

My concern, I’m guessing, is that our grief is more of an existential grief? That we have lost our faith in a large and influential community of people to hold our moral ground. That a quickly changing ideological worldview is ripping apart even the most basic principles on human rights and social order we try to live by. And there are real repercussions.

But, for many of us, living in BC, our lives are rather insular. We can’t assume we understand what exactly it is we have lost, when we haven’t exactly really lost anything … yet. Our lives will go on, pretty much as they have. Some of us may be more impacted than others. Many of us here don’t get to experience sexism and racism and bullying first hand. We hold a privileged position. We are not often on the receiving end. So, it is harder for us to understand … and to grieve in a real way. This is just my viewpoint, and I hope that on some level I am wrong?

As the world and media surge moves on, as more discriminatory laws are introduced and more human rights laws are rescinded, as what we understand as being ‘politically correct’ changes over time, I’m not sure we’ll be able to look around us as easily for guidance. It’s easier to become complacent when changes are expected and happen over a longer stretch of time … and perhaps even more so when we are ourselves ‘rewarded’ economically or through social prestige for our “civil-minded” participation or complacence …. For us, most times it is easier to just go with the flow. We lead busy lives, and I’m not sure that human rights abuses will take on as big a priority for us as they might for people who are directly affected.

I realized yesterday after I posted my comment above (see:, that perhaps I need to try to explain, the prickly-hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck sensation. It isn’t quite the same as the fight-or-flight-hair-on-the-neck-standing-up sensation we feel when we are afraid or alarmed. It’s similar, but lacks the heart-wrenching, gut-stopping, breath-holding symptoms that go along with fear.

The sensation I’m talking about is perhaps more akin to conscience …. It’s more a sensation we feel when we know we are about to do something that might earn us prestige from our immediate circle, folk we live with or work with or with whom we attend church, but will cause grief to people whom we don’t necessarily know personally … Sometimes it is the only way (albeit deeply sub-conscious) … to tell that what we are about to do isn’t right. Then we can rationalize it away … e.g. “If I don’t do this, someone else will”, or take a stand … “Someone else might do this, but that person won’t be me” … it is usually easier to simply rationalize it away.

Oh dear, I’m not trying to be cryptic or overly-dramatic here … just trying to explain something I know from experience, having lived and worked in South Africa, but I’m not sure if it makes too much sense here living in BC. Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel this need to say something … but now that I have acted on it, I feel I need to at least try to explain this back-of-the-neck sensation a bit better … from the perspective of someone who has been fortunate enough to lead a rather privileged life … Just not sure if it makes much sense? Now I think maybe it’s better to be quiet and not say too much more …