Tuesday, January 15, 2019

In Grief, Try Personal Rituals


Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it,”
 writes Joan Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking.
 “We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock.
We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both
body and mind.”
We cannot know, she says, when we lose the person we love—
as she lost her husband John Gregory Dunne 11 years ago—
“the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of
meaning, the relentless succession of moments during
which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself
.”The tragedy of such grief is that the loss of a loved one is irreversible.
It is total and final.
Even so, while some of the grief-stricken remain depressed for long
periods of time—developing what’s called “complicated grief”
—most people move on. They eventually settle into their old routines
 or develop new ones. Their lives recover a semblance of order.
Sad though they may continue to be, they are no longer held
hostage by the chaos of their emotions. They are resilient.
George Bonanno, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University and
 author of The Other Side of Sadness, has studied grief for over 20
 years. Among his most provocative findings is that 50 to
60 percent of mourners show no symptoms of grief one month
 following the loss. Some even overcome the grief within days.

1 comment :

  1. I've seen people who show no symptoms of grief during the shivah, particularly for the loss of old parents.


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