In December CBC had an article "Why We Have 'Grief Dreams' When a Loved One Dies and What The Dreams Might Mean." I thought I would put this up because I have been having full on High Def with Sony Dynamic Digital Sound dreams of Donna.
Conrad Collaco interviewed Joshua Black It is a seven minute long audio file and the story. A good listen and read..
Black identifies a couple reasons why we have grief dreams. We are able to say good bye and express our love which we may not have had the chance in sudden death. These dreams help regulate our emotions and identify a new way to look at life. Grief dreams continue our bond.
Finally Black points out grief dreams are not rare. They seem rare because people who have grief dreams avoid talking about them for the reasons we know to well. We will be assigned the moniker ‘we are living in the past’. Black says talking about our grief dreams helps to normalize that experience. For me it helps me see new and learn more.
I should write my Donna dreams down in the morning just to have them. Last night I was with Donna and we were traveling. She had a whole new haircut and was pissed at me. Yesterday I did a web video class a physician friend asked me to join. It was with college students taking humanities in medicine course. They were assigned Donna, A Photo Memoir of Love and Loss. (An aside, these 20 year old's saw the story as primarily a love story which surprised me because I see the book as an exercise in grief.) During this hour class the section about Donna's alopecia was discussed and how angry she was and how my hurt (i.e. guilt) over that is carried by me. So I guess last night full length feature grief film was a result: New hair with attitude. The article is good and Black is smart.
Bustle offered up this gem by Molly O'Shea which is subtitled "That's what romantic comedies and having no living relatives taught me" I thought I would toss it a read. Well worth it. Truth be told my rom/com knowledge is a well lacking. O’Shea was not in her view of grief.
Her mum recently died and her dad when she was six. We live with the reality of intrusive thoughts love = grief. Molly captures it well with this bit of reality humor.
They say grief is the price you pay for love. I have some thoughts about that. My first thought is: yes, and it’s not a sensible investment. It’s like investing in Ask Jeeves just as Google launches. You will live to regret it. The only way you won’t live to regret loving someone or something is if you die first, and that’s not sensible either.
Yup right on. I struggle with that entire thought what if I died. I worry how pissed Donna would be at the weird AV receiver, console, streaming TV, and antenna set up I have. But she could take care of herself and I know well enough that she would just buy easy.
O'Shea ends with this
Grief is the price you pay for love, but the transaction doesn’t end there. Love becomes grief but grief becomes love again.
This is a stunning and powerful TED talk by Lucy Kalanithi a physician whose husband was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer and died 22 months later.
Much of what she says and addresses are very close if not similar to what I felt and what Donna did with her life after her diagnosis till her death. Lucy and her husband Paul may not be identical to Donna and me but the one point Lucy made that rings true for both Donna and I is this:
Our job isn’t to fight fate, but to help each other through. Not as soldiers but as shepherds.
I was the caregiver and her shepherd. She became my muse and a shadow for the remainder of my life.
There’s a poem by W.S. Merwin — it’s just two sentences long — that captures how I feel now.
Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.
Oh so true.
Grief in the Workplace Leadership Seminars
My first reaction this is great. Second reaction is place PR and someone grabbing bucks from the grief community. (My cynic reigns supreme some days.) Finally I landed that this is important and should be widely adopted.
Here are some of the stats from this article.
Over 4 million employees will experience the death of a loved one every year, and 25% of employees in any organization can be experiencing the emotional impacts of grief at any one time.
One widely-accepted commissioned grief study was conducted with over 25,000 bereaved subjects who were actively employed at the time they experienced the unfortunate death of a loved one. Of those, 85% who identified as management personnel reported experiencing major errors in judgment on the job that went on for six months or longer. Another 90% of front-line employees who became injured on the job after the loss reported that grief influences contributed to the accident.
There is a link in the article to R. Glenn Kelly who is the presenter.