Since 2011 I have been writing, podcasting, and diving head long into love, loss, grieving, and memories. I have a modicum self-awareness and I’m thinking that this topic playlist is on repeat way too much, too depressing, and too boring. Am I a one-trick pony ready for the glue factory? A point of reference why I think that. My other site www.bioc.net has many podcasts and blog posts on these topic. This site www.donnathebook.com is new and is meant for the book. Add to that all the Tweets on the topics. One. Trick. Pony.
In 2016 in the US there were 41 million adults between the ages of 55-64. There are 49 million adults 65+. Those age groups are 13% and 15% of the total US population respectively. In 2016 366,445 US adults age 55-64 died. During the same year over 2 million US adults 65+ died. I pulled data for that demographic because that's where I reside.
According to the CDC death rates for age groups 15 to 64 have increased in 2016 significantly while the older Americans 65 to 85+ have decrease significantly. Total deaths in the US for 2016 was 2,711,402. Older Americans appear to receiving better healthcare. Still death is death no matter the age. When one person dies someone is left behind to grieve.
In todays society death and dying are no longer a community ritual where a village gathers around the family members to comfort and support. We don’t die alone today. It is more likely that those left behind are alone. Families and networks are spread out and virtual in many cases. Leaving the living with a need to find support and help navigating grief. This is not all negative since there are support groups and counseling to help with the loss and grief. More is more when it comes to grieving. Since we all grieve differently those who grieve may find a voice that they can identify with.
There is an audience for loss, grief, and mourning. A large audience. That is the audience I want to speak with. I want to help them see grief and loss though my eyes, my story, and life. In some small way I want those who are grieving not to short cut their memories nor their grief but learn from my experiences, if my experiences match theirs or it can serve as a light to find their way.
I believe adults learn when they want to solve a problem. The grief we feel following the death of a loved one is a problem. A problem without an easy solution. Adults seeking solutions to problems will learn and incorporate what they’ve learned from experiences of others. My experiences and realizations are additive to other, not all but some.
When Donna was diagnosed I began to grieve. That was three plus years before she died. The day of her death a friend said that the only way to mange grief and not let it kill you is to attack it and examine it. Ego, all the reading and writing to solve the problem of grief for me. What I learned became the basis for my thoughts and actions.
Pixar’s Coco was on my list. I never got to see it on the big screen. A few days ago it showed up in Netflix. I will spare you my review other than saying it was beautiful, touching, smart, and a great story. Here are a couple of reviews for hell of it.
The central theme in Coco is Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). It is the day when people go to cemeteries to be the souls of the departed. Families and friends gather to pray and remembers those who have died to aid in their spiritual journey. Shrines and alters are built with photos of those who died to aid them in a visitation. Remembering the dead is key to their spiritual journey.
The Gospel Coalition has a great piece “Remember Rightly with Pixar’s Coco”. This post captures the central theme well.
"Remembrance and loss are central to the plot. Residents of the Land of the Dead depend on their living families to maintain their memory. If lost, the dead dissolve into ethereal dust and drift away, forgotten forever. Cocoportrays forgetfulness as a powerful force both in the present and afterlife."
Central to my writings about love, loss, and grief are the importance of memories. Here are a few posts:
- Transactive Memory Extending Our Own Memories
- Grief is the Space Between Memories Known and Unknown
- Untangling The Memories of Grief and Loss: Podcast 038
“Donna, A Photo Memoir of Love and Loss" is her story. Our story. On the surface to all who knew us our story and lives were largely unknown. I wanted to make it known, for her memory. Soon I will be dead and the book will be my memory for a short amount of time. This is not a vanity project. It is a memory project. I am not trying to push immortality just a small sweet tale of love, loss, life, memories, and photos.