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Then and Now


Over one hundred years ago, during the Victorian era, death and grief were popular subjects for poems, songs and stories. Grieving was considered a natural and acceptable part of the culture. People in mourning wore black clothing and/or black arm bands, women wore black veils, and it was common to see a black wreath on the door of the home of a bereaved family, announcing publicly that this was a home of sorrow. Bereavement was conspicuous and there were very specific societal customs designed to support people during the mourning process.

However, during that same era, no person of breeding or gentility would ever openly mention sex! Even any reference to gender was carefully couched in delicate terminology. Arms and legs were referred to as "limbs" and they were covered almost completely. Any form of touching or even intimacy of language was carefully proscribed by the customs of the time. Sex was a taboo subject, and it was largely considered to be dirty, shameful, disgusting, and for most women, barely tolerable!

How different it is now--over one hundred years later! We have done a cultural 180 degree turn. Now, sex has become a subject (and a commodity) that is fair game for every movie and TV screen. It is generally exploited in newspapers and magazines and is commonly and widely used as a sales promotion gimmick.

On the other hand, grief and mourning have suddenly become the closeted issue. In many circles it is not considered polite or in good taste to forthrightly mention the sadness caused by death. Well-mannered bereaved people are expected to keep their pain private and silent. Sometimes, even employment is endangered by any visible sign of emotion.

But both of these conditions--sex and death--are normal, natural parts of the human experience, and, ironically, they are both connected to love. In a truly healthy society, neither sex nor death should be subjects that we ought to fear or loathe or avoid.

It would seem that our current preoccupation with aberrant, bizarre and overabundant sex might be a backlash effect of the hush-hush of the Victorian era. Whenever we create an aura of "forbidden fruit" around any phenomena, we often give it an appealing mystery that makes it more intriguing to investigate in somewhat less healthy ways. When the bans are lifted (as they were for sex in our country in the late 1960s), all cautions can often be thrown aside in favor of an almost insane overreaction.

Unless we liberate mourning from its current place of hiding and unacceptability, we are in danger of having a similar backlash of bizarre proportions in the next ten or twenty years. Sometime in the twenty-first century, grieving could possibly acquire some amazingly out-of-control rituals.

We need to declare our own freedom from the restraints concerning dying and grieving that have been placed on us by a frightened and cobbled society. Let us kindly, but firmly, declare our rights to feel and express our pain in ways that are healthy and open. With that right, of course, comes the responsibility to do no harm either to others or to ourselves.

With kindness and a "do-no-harm" attitude, we can take a firm stand on the solid ground of our rights. We can cry, speak about our losses if we want to, verbalize our memories, safely express our anger and frustrations, withdraw for awhile, be confused and disoriented, solicit and expect help and support, and (maybe most important of all) make no apologies for our condition. We need never crumble under the criticism of those who have not walked in our sandals.

The number is legion of well-meaning caregivers who appoint themselves experts in determining what is "best" for us, so we need to claim for ourselves the basic freedom to trust and follow our own instincts and to disentangle our emotions from their benevolent chains. We have the right to gently explain to them that we've been where they are, but they have not been where we are. We don't even expect them to understand us, but we what do expect-even require-is that they take our word for it when we tell them how it is.

Viva freedom!

Good Grief Resources (http://www.goodgriefresources.com) was conceived and founded by Andrea Gambill whose 17-year-old daughter died in 1976. In 1977, she founded one of the earliest chapters of The Compassionate Friends, an international bereaved-parent support group. In 1987, she founded and edited Bereavement magazine, and in 2000, she joined Centering Corporation as Editor of their new magazine, Grief Digest. Twenty eight years of experience in grief support has provided valuable insights into the unique needs of the bereaved and their caregivers and wide access to many excellent resources.


MORE RESOURCES:

Grief - Google News

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After school shooting, anger and grief dominate anti-gun rally - Miami Herald


Miami Herald

After school shooting, anger and grief dominate anti-gun rally
Miami Herald
They showed up bearing homemade signs and placards that honored the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. They chanted and cheered and spoke of surviving a massacre that claimed 17 of their friends, teachers and loved ones ...
'President Trump, do something!' Grief turns to anger as Florida victims' relatives plead for gun control measures Telegraph.co.uk
How Trump has responded to moments of national grief ABC News
Addressing 'a nation in grief,' Trump says he will visit Parkland Tampabay.com
CNN  - NBCNews.com
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Picture one LI grandfather's grief - Newsday


Newsday

Picture one LI grandfather's grief
Newsday
... Suffolk said it would follow Nassau's lead in adding opioids and other controlled substances to the county's social host law, which makes homeowners responsible for alcohol use by minors. And earlier this month, Long Island authorities were ...

Grief camp provides children with emotional outlets through arts and activities - Baltimore Sun


Baltimore Sun

Grief camp provides children with emotional outlets through arts and activities
Baltimore Sun
“It loosely follows [William] Worden's tasks of grieving, which are to accept the finality of the loss and incorporate it into your life and move forward and honor the emotions that you have,” said Anne Hansen, senior director of patient experience and ...

Grief as Filipina maid's body found in Kuwait freezer returns home - Khaleej Times


Khaleej Times

Grief as Filipina maid's body found in Kuwait freezer returns home
Khaleej Times
Grief as Filipina maid's body found in Kuwait freezer returns home. AFP/Iloilo (Philippines). Filed on February 17, 2018 | Last updated on February 17, 2018 at 10.37 pm. Share; More >. Vote. 0. Eva, mother of Joanna Demafelis (left), cries on receiving ...

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Nigel Havers credits wife for saving him from grief - RTE - RTE.ie


RTE.ie

Nigel Havers credits wife for saving him from grief - RTE
RTE.ie
Veteran actor Nigel Havers - who will shortly star at the Gaiety Theatre - credits his wife Georgiana Bronfman for saving him from grief following the death of his second wife, Polly Williams.

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There is no guidebook for grief, say editors of new compilation, 'Modern Loss' - The Times of Israel


The Times of Israel

There is no guidebook for grief, say editors of new compilation, 'Modern Loss'
The Times of Israel
More than a decade ago, Gabrielle Birkner and Rebecca Soffer became members of the same club — one neither of them ever wanted to be part of. As young women, they both suffered the sudden loss of both of their parents. Birkner's father and stepmother ...

The Starbucks in Parkland, Florida Has Become a Grief Center - Daily Beast


Daily Beast

The Starbucks in Parkland, Florida Has Become a Grief Center
Daily Beast
I know you're in a better place. Duques forever. Man I love you junior!!!! R.I.P Martin Duque!” https://www.instagram.com/p/BfNbqvJlUBj/?hl=en&taken-by=miguelduq19. It was signed with a black heart emoji. A GoFundMe account started by Miguel has raised ...

Grief and anger as Florida prepares to bury victims of school massacre - CNBC


CNBC

Grief and anger as Florida prepares to bury victims of school massacre
CNBC
As families prepared to bury victims of another U.S. mass shooting, grief mixed with anger amid indications that law enforcement may have missed clues about the suspected gunman's plans. Nikolas Cruz, 19, who had been expelled for disciplinary problems ...
'How Did This Happen?': Grief and Fury After Florida Shooting New York Times
Grief and anger as Florida town mourns young victims of deadly school shooting The Straits Times
Grief counselors offer support in the wake of Florida school shooting ABC News
Reuters  - NPR
all 8,813 news articles »

Grief counselling by the frozen peas. A story about snowflakes - Irish Times


Irish Times

Grief counselling by the frozen peas. A story about snowflakes
Irish Times
I know a wise woman who usually charges by the hour, but when things get really bad, she'll will give me 10 emergency minutes for free. I stand in the Centra, beside the frozen goods, and take counsel on a mobile phone. My friend Aisling died and I ...

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