The above titled New York Times opinion piece exemplifies the idea that grief is an obstacle to be overcome, and a problem to be solved, and as such, there is a “right” way to accomplish this. Implying, if done right, it need never bother you in any meaningful way, or impact your functioning negatively. And as the author attests, this cultural expectation (sometimes overt, often subtle) of a time-limited and manageable grief, followed by getting back to your life, is alive and well.
How many of us are “exhausted from acting,” and failing to recover from our self-diagnoses? How many don’t find a doctor like this one – adroit in his assistance exactly because of having learned from his own grief? He even acknowledges that his formal grief training was a detriment to him, and his patients, and that it was after the death of his son that his practice began to change.
I think it’s more than safe to say the “rigidly embedded” grief model he describes in our “cultural consciousness and psychological language” has worn out it’s usefulness, if it ever had any.
I’m interested in thoughts about the “3 chapters of loss” he puts forth. Particularly the third. What would it look like if we let ourselves and others “sink into (our) sadness?”
Check out the comments section in the article, too. There are some really incredible stories and insights.
Thanks for reading, and welcome,
2 thoughts on “Getting Grief “Right””
I have been mourning the loss of my father since 1991. He died of lung cancer at the age of 48. Neither he nor I saw this end coming. I am proud to say that I still greive the loss of his life. I am a strong woman. I am a wife and mother of 2 beautiful daughters. I am an artist and a decorator. But I still mourn the loss of my best friend, my dad, Michael Elsola. It has added depth and richness to the fabric of my life, to continue to mourn my loss. To love deeply, to mourn greatly, has led me to appreciate each moment that I live with my loved ones on this earth. Viva Los Muertos! Viva la Vida!
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I love what you’ve expressed here: that to mourn greatly strengthens and enriches our lives and relationships. And that you continue to grieve years later, with that mandate in mind. I don’t hear that distinction enough! That mourning can be a conduit, and ongoing source, for the deepening of our understanding and appreciation of life. Viva Los Muertos! Viva la Vida!