07 March 2011

From The New York Times

The Paradoxes of Grief

To the Editor:

Re “Why We Write About Grief” (Week in Review, Feb. 27):

Meghan O’Rourke and Joyce Carol Oates highlight that grief is fraught with inherent paradoxes and dualities: a longing for a sense of coherence, meaning and order, when everything feels incomprehensible, unjust and meaningless; the feeling that one’s grief is deeply private and unspeakable, while outsiders are watching and observing as the mourner grieves; grappling with how to live fully within this world, while simultaneously living a secret and parallel internal life with the deceased; the knowledge that time keeps passing, with a simultaneous feeling that time remains frozen.

And oftentimes, there are disappointed hopes and profound feelings of rage and hurt that coexist with feelings of love and tenderness. The mourner’s creation of a narrative of loss, and the listener’s receiving of that narrative without judgment or expectation, holds a place for the complexities and paradoxes of grief.

It is also in the telling of the story of loss by the mourner, and the embracing of that story by the one who listens, that the deceased continues to exist in the memory, heart and mind of the mourner, and also comes to be known and endure in the minds of all who come to embrace the mourner’s narrative.

Janet Plotkin-Bornstein
New York, Feb. 27, 2011

The writer is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst.


D woke up at 3/07/2011 11:10:00 AM [comment]

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