The Oceans of Sorrow
When I was a child, my mother lingered in hospital for three months and then died of heart disease.
Her family was of the typical English, “show no emotion” type. As a young boy under their influence I was “not allowed to grieve.” The day before she died my mother asked that I no longer be brought to the hospital to see her. Death was only discussed, if at all, with hushed tones. No tears were shed, and I was not allowed to attend the funeral. That night a big family dinner was held as if nothing had happened! My poor father was devastated and cried a lot, but for his sake, I just pretended. I had gone totally numb regarding any genuine emotive response.
The Psychologists say we are meant to grieve. It is a natural function. However if it is suppressed it may seemingly vanish but it will re-appear later in many different guises. As I am now aware this had an effect throughout many aspects of my life including, depression, stress, interpersonal relationships and an inability to fully enjoy myself.
People of the Muslim faith have a very short service with burial before sunrise on the day following the death. Then after three days of mourning, they all get back on with their lives. I have watched the Zulu people of my homeland grieve. For them it is a highly emotive event with strong community support.. There is loud wailing, clothes are torn, people roll on the floor and then it’s seemingly all over.
I recently heard a Buddhist talk on the subject, where together with the support of the Buddhist practices, we are urged to face our grief fully, and gain a positive result. “We think grief is contingent to some outside object and that if we allow the grieving, we fear that we will truly lose that something we have lost. However we would not grieve unless we loved. Love is embedded in grief. If we allow it fully, we discover is that the Loving just does NOT go away.” – Tara Brach – “Fires of Loss”
Perhaps that is the best way to do it? Get it over with and move on….