Monday, March 23, 2009

Grief has 1000 Faces


Last night I was reading an article on the funeral of Natasha Richardson in my local online newspaper. The newspaper allowed comments and I being the curious type decided the read what people were saying. To say I was taken back is an understatement. I expected a flood of comments expressing sadness, what I found instead were people "measuring" grief. Comments like (paraphrasing here)...."I found it odd that Liam wore no tie to the funeral", "Why do her sons always seem to be smirking", "I found it weird that Liam waved to the press, not once but twice", "Isn't it weird that Vanessa Redgrave wore white" and "If that was my daughter I would be hysterical and unable to function".
Reading all those judgmental comments got me thinking about some of the rules some of us have regarding grief. We must wear black, we must be crying all the time, smiles are completely out of the questions and men must wear ties, etc.. To do otherwise implies you can't be grieving or grieving hard enough. Who made up these rules? Does a grieving person who smiles, doesn't have a tie on or is wearing white.... have less pain or loves the deceased less than the griever who has followed all those unwritten rules? I don't think so.
There really is no right or wrong way to grieve. Some shut down completely and others put a brave face on and give the appearance of being a trouper. While grieving, it's still possible to smile, laugh, go to work, make dinner and dare I say....enjoy life just a little every now and then? Grief may be the teller at your local bank or the Mom that strolls her baby by your house every morning... it could be your doctor, your neighbor, your hairdresser and it may even be you. Grief has 1000 faces! It doesn't always have to be a face with tears and it doesn't mean they are hurting any less......

4 comments:

paperhill said...

wow, that is really terrible that people are making those comments. it's so cold.they are removed from the situation so they feel they can say whatever they want ? everyone handles things differently, it doesn't always fit into a neat little box. it makes me sad to hear this, maybe her family wanted to celebrate her life. well written.

gpdesignsart said...

You are so right. The other thing about grief is we are so untaught when it comes to comforting the grieving. I lost my father to cancer in July. He was only 65. I can truly say that NO ONE in my life brings him up anymore (except my family.) It is like they don't want to rock the boat or something. If you ever want to experience some of the dumbest things people say in life, lose someone you love... I feel for that family and what they are going through and the scrutiny makes it extra hard!!

Anne D. said...

Jackie, I totally agree with everything you say. Thanks for writing this.

marianne said...

MY sister died of cancer 10 years and 3 days ago. She was one of 7 girls in our family. None will stop missing her or grieve the loss. I didn't cry for her until I was at the funeral and saw my father's grief. I missed her before she died when she was suffering and we wondered when she would go. FOr the Liam and children family they have no privacy and the news people are hounding and the public is criticizing. I agree, we all reflect on our own. Good article.. good blog.. thanks for stopping at mine!Marianne