Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Grief Syndrome

It is true that all the hulabaloo about Cindy Sheehan has served to bring to the forefront a nagging question about the grief process in America today. Many people, on both sides of the political scale, have started every sentence on this subject with the disclaimer "We have to say that we feel TERRIBLE for her loss...", or words to that effect. Why is that? Because we are a decent people. We like to think of ourselves as compassionate and empathetic... and we are.

Could there come a time in history when all of that becomes over the top obsession? Well, some people think so... including Instapunk (LINK) in this very well stated and thoughtful post. A sample:

[[ We have taught ourselves to view the grief-stricken as secular saints imbued with the mystery of new age stigmata, and we watch in awe as they bleed continuously from their invisible wounds. In their actions we consecrate what we cannot comprehend, and we collectively offer up to them the key to a kind of free-fire zone, in which they can act out all they want while we do their penance for them in hushed, admiring tones.

Has it helped? No. Are the eternally bleeding really saints? No. The evidence indicates that the death of a child tends to destroy marriages these days, promote substance abuse, vandalize careers, and perpetuate depression. Appeasing and worshipping grief strengthens the power of grief and causes people to lapse into self-absorbed obsessions.

But we must not blow the whistle on Cindy Sheehan? She has contrived to turn her son's death and the whole Iraq War into her own personal soap opera. This was all something done to her. By the President of the United States, no less. Let us take all our cameras to Texas and watch her bleed from her hands and feet. Nonsense. It's time for some plain talk. ]] (LINK to original post)

The whole thing is definitely worth reading- no matter how you feel about this issue. And... if you feel uncomfortable while reading the above post, it might be because deep inside, the truth contained in those words is tapping on your soul.


I'm just saying...



Blogger Barbara said...

Instapunk has said it all well! One of his sentences stood out for me -
"Anyone who has lived more than a few decades comes to understand that life is largely about loss."

None of us like to hear we've lost a loved one. I just attended the funeral of a cousin today, who died of cancer. There were tears, but there was also good thoughts, memories that will get them through their pain and grief. The loss will always be there, but one day, they will be able to laugh again (as the preacher said - that's no crime!), and enjoy all those times they had with son, husband, Dad, grandfather. I don't think they'll be protesting because his Drs didn't save his life!

Another truth Instapunk brought out was that 'the death of a child tends to destroy marriages'. I've seen it happen in a sister-in-law's sister's life. Their son died on Valentine's night many years ago, and the father couldn't accept it. It drove them apart, even though they had an older son. To me, this should be a time of drawing together, feeding on your faith in the living God, and trusting HIM to keep you afloat. But, too many times, people don't even give God a thought - it's a 'personal' thing - let ME do it my way.

11/8/05 20:44  
Blogger kmg said...

SO well said, Barbara... when we stop and let things be as they should, we usually remember that God is the only way...

12/8/05 06:14  
Blogger husker_met said...

No doubt about it.

More and more we are becoming a culture of emotion. Rather than adopt the stiff upper lip and decorum of our forebears, it would seem that the norm now is to publicly wallow in our losses. You need look no further than reality TV to see that Americans are comfortable trading their dignity for fame or notoriety.

Cindy Sheehan is just the most current, and IMO despicable, incarnation of this.

I have no way to quantify it, but I suspect that it all goes back to the culture of victimhood concept.

All those who seek attention can much more easily get it through victimhood than through achievement.

12/8/05 15:35  
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