A friend of mine recently had her mother pass away due to cancer. She posted this link, The Things Nobody Tells You About Grief, written by another blogger whose mother also passed away. It was both interesting and sad to read about death from someone else’s perspective. To me, it really brought out how we have these prescribed cultural norms that are supposed to ease the process of letting someone go, but when in reality, it does not change the cold, hard truth: that person is gone.
The blogger specifically calls out the never ending awkward and very cliche phrases that people feel the necessity to speak when talking to someone who has suffered a loss.
“They wouldn’t have known anything about it. It would have been quick.”
“Anything I can do, just call.”
“They’re in a better place.”
“They’re not suffering anymore.”
“They’re with Grandma and Fido now.”
I think of these comments as “prescription phrases”. We say them because society tell us to, but we have only a vague idea of what they actually mean. Similar to taking medicines from the doctor, we take them without really understanding the pathophysiology behind it.
In light of our recent discussions, this blog post emphasized the role of grief and mourning for the living more so than the dead. The rituals, the process, and the time that go into mourning the death of a loved one is more than just recognizing someone’s existence. It’s about finding closure and life after the death of a loved one. For the people that are coping, it is the little things like comfort and sanity that matter most. This post also points out many of the behavioral changes that accompany death, such as “muddled mind”, “tears”, “triggers”, etc. I think as an outsider it is easier to dismiss these subtleties in grief. Maybe we simply accept them as natural or normal without having any adequate methods of dealing with these issues.
It seems our go-to-response in the face of death, grief, or mourning is to dismiss, ignore, and forget rather than acknowledge, provide, or remember the impacts the death of a loved person can have.
“You don’t know what you’ve got, till it’s gone.”