Monday, May 18, 2009

Post-Mortem Lesson 3: Definition of Bereavement Revisited

Even repeated experiences of death of loved ones, as in my case, do not sufficiently prepare a person for another one of these episodes. Two years after my mom died, a friend and a mentor passed away. I was praying hard: I felt that I cannot endure another death, so please God let it not come so soon. But it did, again, a month ago. And this one is the most devastating, to date.

Initially I was telling people, I want to drown myself in work, I want to be extremely busy. I guess it was all self-defense. Friends and family members were very sympathetic and tried to help to make life a little easier. But nothing and no one really protected me from the impact of this loss. No one seemed quite sure with what to tell me, no matter how well-meaning they are. And so there are times I would feel that I want to simply disappear in thin air.

So I decided to talk to people who have had the same experience: a friend who has had the same experience as mine, and a psychiatrist friend who for a time was dealing with her own loss.

They both told me essentially something similar. Appreciate the experience, and allow yourself to mourn. This is something I can read in the book, but it sounds very credible and honest coming from them. I certainly appreciate that they did not pressure me to get over it, did not give me a time limit, and instead assured me that my emotions are expected (illogical as they are, bereavement is inherently illogical). To suppress mourning is to prolong it, which is not good.

This is probably the best advice I got...

...except that the world does not wait for people who grieve. This world of bills, employment, heavy traffic, inconsiderate people, diplomate exams, and all earthly concerns (immediately pressing but insignificant in the final analysis) can be really, really cruel.

The world simply does not wait.


Sheila said...

Oh, that's quite a story you've shared and thankyou ever-so !

As a new widow, now 25 months, when friends & distant, but only remaining family don't understand, stories like yours truly soothe ones broken heart, like nothing else !

If you'd like to read my story, just let me know & I'll share it with you.
God Bless you richly for this ministry. Many may not reply after reading, but it doesn't mean that you've not been of help to them, just that in todays society, well, things seem to become rather lax in proper etiquette, response/reply.

Kimberly Rose Carolan said...

I'm glad that your friends gave you the advice that they did--we do need to work through grief and, although the world does not slow down on a count of our loss, we can find quiet moments with God to pray and reflect. I have a good friend going through a second loss (loss her husband and then her mom). I'll remember to pray for you--thank you for sharing.


Kim Carolan

The Last Song Syndrome said...

@Sheila: Thank you for your kind feedback. It still amazes me that a little blog in the vast blogosphere can be read even by people halfway round the world. :) I might probably learn from your story, so I hope you don't mind if you share.

@Kimberly: It is so easy to lose oneself in grief, and I do agree that constant reflection will keep one on track. Thank you for your prayers, and for dropping by.