Grief is a Sneaky Bitch
Grief and Love in the Animal Kingdom
If you love deep, honest, authentic conversations get ready to love Grief is a Sneaky Bitch. Lisa Keefauver, founder of Reimagining Grief, holds an extensive grief resume herself, as a social worker, grief educator & activist, and widow. She brings her deep curiosity, love of conversation, and knowledge of how language and culture shapes our experiences of ourselves and our world, including our grief, to each unscripted conversation. From CEO’s and social workers to authors, educators, filmmakers and stay-at-home moms, her guests open up about the complexity, confusion, and even confidence they have gained by navigating a grief journey of their own.
About the episode
Lisa was joined by Biological Anthropologist and author, Barbara J King, for an eye-opening and compassionate conversation about grief and love in the animal kingdom. They explored how Barbara has come to understand grief in the animal kingdom, how finding compassion for animals helps us be more compassionate to our fellow humans, and why this perspective requires us to call into question some of our most fundamental beliefs and behaviors.
The author of seven books, including the new Animals’ Best Friends: Putting Compassion to Work for Animals in Captivity and in the Wild, Barbara focuses on animal emotion and cognition, the ethics of our relationships with animals, and the evolutionary history of language, culture, and religion. Her book How Animals Grieve has been translated into 7 languages and her TED talk on animal love and grief has now received over 3 million views.
Barbara tweets about animals, science, and books @bjkingape.
Visit Barbara’s website
Jump straight into:
(03:38) - Barbara’s first experiences with grief - “It struck me very much how it seemed a little bit unwelcome to show that emotion and my parents didn't completely shy away from it, but yet it didn't seem completely natural either.”
(08:17) - Growing stronger in conviction and the cross-cultural variations of grief - “What we do in the United States, our overarching culture and our overarching traditions of tamping down our grief expressions, physically and emotionally is not the only way.”
(11:30) - Are humans exceptional? Barbara’s work with animal grief - “Animals need to see other’s bodies in order to get closure.”
(22:02) - Is grieving only a mammalian behavior? - “We don't necessarily expect to see grief and spiders or frogs or trout. This does not mean we shouldn't look, because of course 20, 30 years ago, we didn't think we would be seeing it in the variety of animals we're seeing it in now. “
(27:03) - The importance of having compassion for the animal experience - “If you understand how deeply important it is to be good to each other and not necessarily to know what another human being is going through, but to give them the benefit of the doubt to be there, to listen, we can do the same thing for animals.”
(39:49) - From researcher to animal activist: Barbara’s journey to animal compassion - “I was doing grief research and I began to realize that animals who are considered food in our culture also grief, I needed to stop and write a book about them.”
(44:36) - Climate grief: How to turn compassion into action - “Our whole earth is in crisis and there's an ecological grief that many of us feel but it also makes me think that how do we take that love-grief sort of dynamic relationship and apply it to the planetary crisis that we're in.”
Thanks for listening! If you’re feeling social, don’t forget to follow Lisa @reimagininggrief on Instagram. Make sure to leave a rating and write a review today on Apple Podcasts so that more people can find us. Our host, Lisa Keefauver, offers a variety of services and products that will help you find language when you’re at a loss for words. To learn more visit www.reimagininggrief.com