“We are not allowed this. We are allowed to be deeply into basketball, or Buddhism, or Star Trek, or jazz, but we are not allowed to be deeply sad. Grief is a thing that we are encouraged to “let go of,” to “move on from,” and we are told specifically how this should be done. Countless well-intentioned friends, distant family members, hospital workers, and strangers I met at parties recited the famous five stages of grief to me: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I was alarmed by how many people knew them, how deeply this single definition of the grieving process had permeated our cultural consciousness. Not only was I supposed to feel these five things, I was meant to feel them in that order and for a prescribed amount of time.”—Cheryl Strayed
Rebloggable Grief and Mourning
Do you guys have any tips/links on how to write someone/some people grieving or mourning?
Well, everyone deals with grief in different ways. There are some patterns, but it’s been found that dealing with things in different ways is actually the norm. I would recommend not making the people’s reactions too textbook, as that usually feels impersonal and unrealistic. (I learned recently that the traditional ‘five stages of grief’ have been more or less debunked as a thing- which made me unreasonably happy, as I’d been unreasonably angry that that was considered the norm since childhood).
I think the best way to write about someone grieving is to stay really, solidly in character. What does your character do when they are deeply sad? How do they mourn? Also, being able to deal with loss and move on is considered healthy- how emotionally healthy and able to cope are your characters? Your characters will have different reactions and different coping mechanisms, and I think relaying that to the audience is what makes the story feel real. Treat each character as their own person, and figure out what they’ll do based on the person that they are.
Hope that helps!
And here are some links for further reading.
“We never feel grief when we lose something that we have allowed to be free, that we have never attempted to possess. Grief is a sign that I made happiness depend on this thing or a person, at least to some extent. We’re so accustomed to hear the opposite of this that what I say sounds inhuman, doesn’t it?”—Anthony de Mello
“Why does tragedy exist? Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief… Grief and rage—you need to contain that, to put a form around it, where it can play itself out without you or your kin having to die. There is a theory that watching unbearable stories about other people lost in grief and rage is good for you—may you cleanse you of your darkness. Do you want to go down to the pits of yourself all alone? Not much. What if an actor could do it for you? Isn't that why they are called actors? They act for you. You sacrifice them to action. And this sacrifice is a mode of deepest intimacy with your own life. Within it you watch yourself act out the present or possible organization of your nature. You can be aware of your own awareness of this nature as you never are at the moment of experience. The actor, by reiterating you, sacrifices a moment of his own life in order to give you a story of yours.”—Anne Carson
He's been gone almost a year.
Does the anniversary matter? Only if we let it. Should it? Do I want it to? I honestly don’t fucking know. I saw a guy who looked like him at the grocery store, the place where I most expected to see him after he was gone. It was always so cute to me; he loved going to the store, and it was this happy little reminder that we lived in the same town again. Echoes and shards, bits and pieces, and yet the world has utterly reformed itself around the space where he used to be.