Good Mourning

Manila Bulletin, October 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

Good Mourning


"Come lovely and soothing death." - Walt Whitman (1819-1892), American poet "Leaves of Grass" (1900) MANILA, Philipipnes - I missed my mother's death last Friday (Oct 7) by an hour or so. I was at the Philippine Orthopedic Center seeing OPD patients when my sister from the US called me. "She's gone," Ate Fides sighed. At the ICU, I saw my mother draped in white, mummy-like, but I asked the nurse to unwrap her for a final kiss on the forehead, and some pictures too. My father, who was with her as she gave up the ghost, was not around because he was already arranging her early cremation - the next day, to be exact. Our family saintess is wasting no time to get to heaven. Instead, I found my aunt Tita Vin (and Tito Jimmy) by the hallway. Tita Vin, my mother's sister, was ever dependable during this stressful six months of my mother's illness.Grief stages. In 1969, psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross forever changed how we thought we should view death by postulating the 5 Stages of Dying: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. By the 1970s, the stages of dying were modified into stages of grief. But the fact remained that these were not products of scientific research. She herself wrote: "How do you research on dying, when the data is so impossible to get? ...We believed that by doing many interviews ...we would get a feeling for the terminally ill."Stages are myths? Russell Friedman and John W. James, co-authors of the The Grief Recovery Handbook, dispute the stages of grief and believe that "since every griever is unique, there are no pat answers about grief." For them, wide acceptance is not the same as scientific fact. They argue of the potential harm of believing in stages. For example, the elements of sadness of losing a long-term spouse or partner overlap with clinical depression. …

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