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Lessons From a Grieving Whale

The world continues to watch a grieving mama whale maneuver the waters of the Pacific Northwest, while carrying her dead calf for, as of the last report, the sixth day in a row.

This sweet mama has captured the attention of people all over the world as they have witnessed the stunning display of both a mother's love and grief for her baby who has died.

Nearly a week after her offspring's death, she has continued to hang on relentlessly. She is acting on pure instinct as it is within a mother's nature to cling to her child. And in doing so, she has taught us humans as few things about grief.

She has shown us that:

A mother's love is sacrificial, even after her child's life has slipped away. Whether loving or grieving, it is done at the expense of her own well-being. A grieving mother does not rest and knows that suffering is simply the cost of love.

A grieving mother will always fight to hang on to her child. If not physically, then emotionally. She will cling to her child's existence by whatever means available to her. And she will refuse, with all her might, to let go. People will watch, they will stare, but she will not be deterred.

A grieving mother is strong. The weight of love she carries for a child who is gone might be heavy, but she refuses to set it down or let it slip away. To grieve takes every ounce of energy available, but she does not give up or give in to exhaustion.

A grieving mother should be seen. She doesn't want to be alone because despite her immense strength, the burden of her child's death is too heavy a burden to carry on her own. She longs for her suffering to be recognized and hopes that her agonizing circumstances will invite empathy and understanding.

Grief should not be feared. It is a heartbreakingly beautiful expression of love. We don't have to avert our eyes from it. We can watch, appreciate, acknowledge, and empathize. It is normal, and to lean into it, instead of avoid it, validates the magnitude of a life lost.

Like her love, a mother's grief is uninhibited. It flows freely and cannot be controlled, nor should it be. She displays it for all to see because she has no other choice.

There is beauty to be found in grief. The life that was, the love that is, and a creature's ability to withstand the greatest heartache imaginable.

There is no shame in grief. It doesn't have to make others uncomfortable. Or cause them to disengage. A mother's refusal to “move on” should not be considered unhealthy. Instead, it should be considered a gift. A gift to know that we are loved unconditionally and forever remembered by at least one person here on this earth. A gift to know that our lives will always matter to someone.

Grief is universal. It touches animals and humans alike. It is natural. And its effects must be felt in order to understand the depths of true love.

And most of all, this mama whale has shown us that the loss of life, in all of its various forms, should be mourned. Whether animal or human, each life is valuable and existed for a purpose. Each life deserves to be missed.

~Thank you so much A Beautifully Burdened Life by Jenny Albers for sharing this with us. I am a puddle of tears.

© A Beautifully Burdened Life by Jenny Albers

AMGT 8 Aug 1

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I appreciate you and your first hand experiences with this type of grief. I know I have often been on the wrong side in regards to grief.


I am truly touched by this, thank you for sharing.


Beautiful. Thanks for posting.


Humans defined what set them apart from "animals" in various terms. One was that only humans made tools; not so, even when chimps strip leaves from a twig to stick it in an ant hole, a tool is made.

Another was our compassion, empathy, and the ability to love. This was disproven, but it is, once again, shown to be not specific human traits. Grief IS universal.




people watch this unfold....and marvel at a mother's love...while stuffing their faces with the flesh of mothers and babies who wanted to live...

There is NO difference between a cow, a whale, an elephant, a pig, a sheep, sea beings, dogs, cats, chickens....etc.

How many more news stories like this...showing the connection that non-human Earthlings have to their families and children before all humans wake up and see the hell they are inflicting on the other beings on the Earth who have every right to live

@jorj so you also basically go out and sniff people's asses to decide when to mate too, right? And, you are ok with mothers killing their young.....and groups of people killing off the weakest members of society....? and you chase down your prey and kill them with your teeth and claws, right? And, I KNOW you don't drive a vehicle, shop at a store, or use money....because, animals don't do those things so you shouldn't either. You can't claim to do things "because the animals do it" and then choose not to do other things that animals also do. That's called "cherry-picking". BTW, you do realize that there are literally hundreds of thousands of species who are herbivores. Why not emulate them? Duh.

@TheAstroChuck so, yes, instead you should give into the Christian brainwashing that Gawd gave mankind dominion over the animals and demanded even that humans kill the animals in sacrifice. It's always amazing that people pretend to give a fuck about the "suffering" of animals whilst stuffing their faces with dead flesh. That's pretty hypocritical. Contrary to the lies you like to tell yourself, there is no "painless" or "humane" way to kill animals and chop their bodies into tiny bits. You know what else is "unhealthy" for the animals? Killing them. They have rights. Just because something is "tradition" or "legal" doesn't make it moral or ethical.

If it is wrong to kill one species of is wrong to kill all species. There isn't some magical line that divides them into "ok to kill" and "not ok to kill" except your imagined perception. Speciesism is every bit as evil as racism, sexism, ageism...etc. You can't discriminate against a living being just because YOU have decided it's a "lesser species".


this is SAD! makes me think how those orcas felt that had their calf die at sea world. or separated.


This behavior has been documented in many mammals. Makes you wonder when we’ll recognize them as “persons”.

Marz Level 7 Aug 1, 2018

Beautifully written reminder. It has been heartbreakingly beautiful watching this mama's grief. ????


I hope it doesn't kill her.

Last I heard she was the last whale in her pod.


This just breaks my heart.


Beautiful insight! Thanks for posting.

Carin Level 8 Aug 1, 2018

But yeah, still heartbreaking. Thanks for NOT including pictures.

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