Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coping: Easy Living ~ Coping With Grief

One of my favourite magazines, Easy Living -- a British publication -- features a wonderfully moving essay in its September issue.

Written by Bella Pollen, 'Coping With Grief' focuses on the different ways bereavement is dealt with in our society. She writes that in the early 1900s, deaths of loved ones were part of everyday life. It was normal for people to die at home, and those left behind to sport black clothing for a period of time. People discussed death. People didn't avoid friends in the throes of grief - they mourned together. Death wasn't feared. Unfortunately, the situation clearly changed only a few decades later. In the 1960s, sex, the previous taboo subject, was replaced by death and in many respects, passing away still remains an off-limits topic even today.

Pollen recalls how her own mother back in the early '70s was not allowed to fully grieve the death of her sister -- and by not dealing with her mourning, her mother in essence shut down. Certain emotions became absent, and the pain she carried lasted a lifetime. If only people were free to grieve without perimeters, without someone uttering a common phrase, 'it's time to get on with your life', we'd all be better for it.

Anyone who would spout something so cruel, so heartless has clearly never lost someone so precious and dear. Grief is not something easily to "get over" or "move on" from. Grief sticks. 

I cannot read Bella Pollen's article without tears being summoned - even after multiple reads - but it's a beautifully written piece, that deserves to be read. 


David W. said...

Condolences on the loss of your mother. I've not lost mine yet, but know it will be very difficult when I do.

Jackie said...

Thanks for your comment, David. I appreciate you stopping by.

NiamhG said...

I've avoided reading this blog for as long as I've been reading the other one. My mam died on her
54th birthay 13 years ago. My dad died 6 years ago. I'm in tears here, knew it was coming on today as could feel it. I don't think it ever gets easier but I think you just learn to live with it. It's completely and utterly rotten and I still think I see her. You'll get there. It's a journey but eventually ou get there. Take care and keep writing.

Jackie said...

Hi Niamh,

thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Hearing the stories of others who have lost a parent has been so comforting to me. I think it's important to know that we are not alone, that others have gone through this horrible journey and somehow learnt to deal with it. I've been having a bad patch the last few days. It's always strange how you can be okay one moment, and then a mess the next.

I'm so sorry that you've been having one of those times too.

NiamhG said...

As the French say 'C'est la vie'. But seriously, lay off the sugar. Your arse will end up the size of mine and that purple dress won't (rate it) won't fit you anymore. I find loud music, seaside (if you can get it), cooking (that's my vice) and a good big cry works wonders. Crying is great. A big arse isn't!!

Jackie said...

You are too funny! :)