Relative Grief: Parents and Children, Sisters and Brothers, Husbands, Wives and Partners, Grandparents and Grandchildren Talk about Their Experience of Death and Grieving

Relative Grief: Parents and Children, Sisters and Brothers, Husbands, Wives and Partners, Grandparents and Grandchildren Talk about Their Experience of Death and Grieving

Relative Grief: Parents and Children, Sisters and Brothers, Husbands, Wives and Partners, Grandparents and Grandchildren Talk about Their Experience of Death and Grieving

Relative Grief: Parents and Children, Sisters and Brothers, Husbands, Wives and Partners, Grandparents and Grandchildren Talk about Their Experience of Death and Grieving

Synopsis

In this collection of first-hand accounts, parents, grandparents, children, siblings and partners share their experiences of losing close relatives and friends through death from natural causes, genetic conditions, accident, suicide and murder. Looking at death from these different perspectives, it aims to encourage people to understand their own grief and how those closest to them might be affected by what can seem a very private loss. The introduction examines the short- and long-term effects of recent and past loss, the duration and intensity of mourning, and the difficult and often conflicting feelings and behaviours that accompany it: loneliness, anger, guilt or relief, the birth ? or loss of ? religious faith, out-of-character behaviour triggered by shock, and ?competitive? grief among close relatives and friends.

Excerpt

Dorothy Rowe

Death is the elephant in the living room—the huge thing that everyone knows is there but no one mentions. Fear keeps us silent. We fear the physical aspect of death, the body becoming still, silent, cold, and then decaying, but even more we fear the annihilation of the person, what we call 'I', 'me', 'myself', which is what makes us unique. We fear not just the annihilation of the person we love but our own annihilation. Talking of his brother's death, Rony Robinson said, 'You lose a bit of yourself in the process of somebody dying'.

There's no way of knowing beforehand which bit of yourself will disappear when someone close to you dies. My friend Jean Flanagan had emphysema and I knew she was dying, but when the news of her death reached me I found myself utterly distraught with grief because I suddenly realised that Jean had known about my erstwhile marriage in a way that no one else did. Both of us had married fascinating, entertaining, exciting men who often behaved like wilful, selfish, naughty schoolboys. Jean and I could discuss our husbands in a way very different from the way we spoke about our husbands to other people. There was so much which we didn't have to explain to each other or try to excuse. When Jean died a significant part of my story was lost. I was left like the only speaker of a newly extinct language.

Each person is unique, and the part of our person which we lose in each bereavement is unique. Consequently, the grief one person feels is quite different from all the different kinds of grief which others can feel. No . . .

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