21 March 2013

Mourning can't be rushed

I just watched another TV show (won't tell you which one because I don't want spoil it for anyone) where a character dies and everyone expects the family to be done grieving as soon as the funeral is over. In this case, friends were expressing concern because the widow was crying over his late wife and couldn't sleep in their marriage bed TWO DAYS after the memorial. Seriously?

I know that everything is fast-tracked in a TV show. We all remember watching soap operas with kids that are toddlers this month and suddenly teenagers next month. However, for better or worse,  people take cues from what they see in the media. We are smart enough not to believe the outrageous things we see, but the more subtle things get internalized. ABM chastised himself repeatedly because he couldn't just "man up" a month after his mother died. No matter how often I told him that was unrealistic, he believed the images he saw on TV and the public face that others in his real life put on when they lost family members.

Adjusting to the loss of a loved one is tough. The mourning doesn't end when you come home from the cemetery. Even if you can pull yourself together and go back to work within a week or two, the sadness will hit you at unexpected times. If my house could talk, it would tell you about crying over TV commercials or the hole that one of the kids kicked in the wall or the wailing in the middle of the night. If you think the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments ended in biblical times, you would be wrong. It has been 18 months since we lost ABM's mother and something as simple as a greeting card can bring up memories and make him walk out of the room. Don't let anyone make you think that something is wrong with you because you still feel sad over the death of someone you cared for.
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