16 January 2013

Grief Without A Religious Safety Net

Most of what follows simply restates things I have posted here several times in the past. But it bears repeating ...

As a kid the nuns at Sacred Heart School beat the 'faith' right out of me. So, when my boy Jeffrey died, I discovered that most of the 'help' with grief was - to be polite - useless. What is located on the self-help shelves is pretty much all crap. And, I have spent the five plus years since Jeff died trying to sort out my life. Most importantly, I do not want to be the dead boy's father. I work at being Jim who, among very many other things, has lost his teenage son. I've had incredible help from Susan and Douglas and August who each is walking more or less the same path. I've found exactly two books worth reading (Joan Didion The Year of Magical Thinking and Elizabeth McCracken An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination). But Didion, McCracken & I sit on quite different branches of the family tree of grief.  So, when I heard this story on NPR this morning, I felt like yelling THANK YOU! Instead, I wrote this for my friends.

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Blogger Lillie Langtry said...

Thanks for this.

I don't know you IRL, clearly, but as a regular reader of the blog, you have certainly succeeded in this space in remembering your son but not being defined by that.

Not surprisingly, cancer treatment has had me thinking about death in the past year in a way I never had before. I'm still doing well and have every reason to hope I'll be around for a good while yet - hopefully decades! - but when the time comes, I'll be trying to negotiate it without a god. I'm ok with that, but culturally, it's still pretty hard.

19 January, 2013 03:33  

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