Love is Life
27 June 2017
This post looks like it’s all about food and it is in part, because food sustains life, it gives pleasure and comfort, it brings people together. So does love. Grief brings people together too.
Hold your dear friends close and your family even closer. Today my day did a U-turn. Work and workouts halted with a text from two parents, inviting friends to say goodbye to their beautiful daughter, a gorgeous young woman we’ve known since she was a kindy kid with My Girl. Words can’t convey the emotional pain we feel for her family and for anyone who walks in their shoes. As a mother, I can feel a piece of her mother’s heart being torn out. Your babies are of you. We are a choking.
My Girl & her primary school bestie’s mama - who is forever my firm friend - propped each other for the visit. It was right to go. Our friends communicated this: “…what we do know is we will keep her wrapped in a blanket of love until she is ready. Everyone is of course always welcome to pop in and spend some time with her, helping to make that special blanket.” I thought that was lovely. They seemed so fragile yet strong and brave today.
My Bestie & I had coffee afterwards and I took a selfie and photos of my food like I always do. Same on the outside different on the inside. I made delicious oriental chicken parcels for dinner, accompanied by water not wine. My Girl got a free 2L water canteen with her new footy boots. It is humongous next to my 500mL glass. The Husb is pretending to be shocked in the background. He’s drinking beer.
After 10 days alcohol-free this month, I enjoyed several glasses of pinot noir hosting a dinner last Thursday, and lapsed into nightly imbibing for five days. This morning I noticed my dewy skin and big eyes had been eroded and I’d gained 600g. In five days. Back to temperance as of tonight. I’ve always said everything in moderation but one has to be able to moderate. The negative effect of alcohol on my bowel is significant (and thoroughly researched). I have to accept that ‘moderation’ is too much and less is better.
I close today with these thoughts: Life is spectacular. Life is tragic. Life is ordinary. Live and love now. Enjoy small things. Life is precious. 😇🌈
hiii! so i'm wondering if you have any thoughts/discourse about bucky dealing losing the howling commandos? 'cause they were his team too and he was their leader before steve took over as cap. sorry, i'm just sad that the commandos are only ever spoken of as steve's team. or maybe thoughts on bucky grieving his parents and sisters . 'cause quite literally, i have never seen that mentioned anywhere. not even in fic. if this is too negative for your blog, please ignore it. thanks.
Not too negative for my blog… it’s a good topic for conversation, even if it is sad to think about.
One point first, though: the Commandos *were* Steve’s team. He formed them from the 107th and other companies imprisoned at Azzano, probably with much input from Bucky. You could say, though, that the Commandos were Steve AND Bucky’s team. But from an official standpoint, they were Steve’s team. I don’t know how much leadership Bucky had over this particular group–Dernier and Falsworth wouldn’t have been in the 107th, and historically speaking, Gabe Jones probably would have been in an all-black company. It could be that Dum Dum was in the 107th but I tend to lean toward all of the Howlies meeting for the first time in Azzano. My headcanon is, though, that Bucky very likely looked after all the men he could while working in the factory and thus became a defacto, much admired leader. So in that regard, the Howlies *could* be considered Bucky’s team before they were Steve’s, I suppose.
Anyway! On to the heart of the matter, Bucky grieving their loss. There are a lot of fics that touch on the Howlies grieving Cap & Bucky, and there’s that poignant scene in CATFA where they’re raising a toast to them, but there’s not a lot that cover the other way, you’re right. I’ve touched on Bucky’s grief over the lost loved ones in his past in fics–not in huge detail nor in long and drawn out fashion, but it’s something you have to think about when you start writing Bucky fic because it’s part of the emotional maelstrom he has to deal with as his memories return. I think in those two years between CATWS and CACW, the pace of returning memories might have outpaced the emotional response to those memories. I can see where, say, he might have looked at the display at the Smithsonian and learned about the Howling Commandos on a simple “okay this is a fact from my past” level, but he might not feel the actual emotional connection to any of those faces and names, so any grief or feelings of loss are muted. Specific and pointed grief over the loss of friends and companions probably didn’t hit until the memories of time spent with those friends returned, if that makes sense? I see it sort of as the difference between reading a newspaper article about a tragedy that happens to strangers vs hearing news that your best friend was one of the victims of said tragedy. Bucky is still in the “reading facts about strangers” phase of recovery in a lot of ways.
I like what Sebastian said about that moment in the CACW in the apartment when he’s facing Steve for the first time since CATWS… I’m paraphrasing but he basically said that Bucky still at that point hasn’t dealt with a lot of the emotional issues of his circumstances, and that to me makes perfect sense. He’s been too busy hiding and running to do much more than realize that painful memories are bubbling up, but he’s not in a safe enough place to process them. So he stuffs the emotions away for now. My headcanon is that once he’s in Wakanda and safe, some of that grief is going to start to surface in a big way. Maybe that’s another reason he goes into cryo, short term (my firm headcanon is that he uses cryo as a temporary respite, not a permanent sanctuary, and I’m also trying to do a course correction on the writers idea that cryo is “punishment”). If all of his pent-up emotional response to all his losses suddenly starts to pour out through now-open floodgates, that’s… a lot to process and a respite might not be the worst thing for him.
TBH, I’ve only just gotten to the point where I’m thinking about how Bucky responds to grief once it fully starts to hit. The comics do show him doing a lot of deep thinking. Winter Kills especially has great themes of grief and loss and how Bucky handles it–he walks around the city and broods and apologizes at grave sites. Bucky’s also not especially stoic–we see tears both in the comics and in Seb’s portrayal.
I have no idea if you read my fics, but Mr. Fix It touches on grief (though not over the Howlies, but his family) and You Will Call Me Friend is nearing the point where Bucky has to start facing the emotional aspects of loss. I imagine in some ways his journey will be similar to anyone’s journey through grief–he’ll go through all those stages at varying times, plus move back and forth from one stage to another. Grief is not linear, after all.
No idea if that’s the response you want, but thanks for giving me an opportunity to ramble out loud and start to sort my own thoughts on this.
Do you have any advice on how to write a grieving character? Thank you!!
Grieving isn’t pretty. It isn’t always dramatic, either – while some people certainly do go home and throw their favorite vase against the wall, some people retreat into themselves and become emotionally unresponsive (that’s what I do). Violence or anger is more likely to occur if the death is sudden – so is retreating into an emotional shell, really, because it’s often a result of shock. But both can occur outside of a sudden death – cancer isn’t always sudden, but many people still become angry when their loved one is diagnosed with or dies because of it. Basically, if the death feels unfair in any way – if it’s sudden, or if it feels like it happened too early, such as in the case of cancer or of some sort of cardiac disaster (a heart attack, a stroke, etc) – it’s more likely to provoke anger or shock, depending on your character’s temperament and attachment to the dying/dead character.
That was just a general disclaimer. Now, onto the meat of grieving!
Firstly, grieving can begin before the person is technically dead – you don’t have to wait for the person to go flatline and physically stop breathing for your other characters to feel a sense of loss. If your character suffered a medical disaster or an accident that rendered them comatose, or if your character is obviously fighting a losing battle (again, terminal cancer comes to mind), your other characters could start grieving them even though they’re still breathing and their heart is still beating. However, the likelihood is that your characters won’t be able to really start working through the five stages of grief until your character actually does physically die, because rarely does death really hit home until it has occurred.
Speaking of the five stages of grief, those are important! They’re as follows:
Denial/Isolation: your characters can’t believe your dead character is really dead. This is a defense mechanism of sorts for your mind – a way to delay at least some of the pain, and give yourself time to process what’s happened (although that processing happens subconsciously, because on the surface you’re denying that anything’s happened at all). If the dead character fought a long battle with an illness before death, this stage may be expedited by the fact that your characters had time to process the character’s dying as it was happening. If the death was sudden in any way, this stage may be prolonged, because it will be harder to comprehend something that happened so quickly, and shock will be more likely to occur.
Anger: the pain your characters were masking in the denial stage starts to come to the surface, and as a response to the pain, your characters get angry (just as many other vulnerable emotions, such as fear, are expressed as anger – anger is a tough emotion, as opposed to fear and grief, so most people subconsciously opt for anger because it makes them feel less vulnerable). They may feel they’ve been robbed of your dead character’s companionship. Their anger may manifest itself in many different ways: isolation, irritability, or self-destructive behavior, to name a few. Their anger may also direct itself at various places: the medical professionals who failed to save your dead character’s life, God for taking your dead character, even the dead character him/herself, if they could in any way be responsible for their own death (if they were driving intoxicated, if they never ate healthily and suffered a heart attack, etc.).
Bargaining: before death, this stage may manifest itself as “please God, just let them live and I’ll tithe my ten percent and go to church every Sunday”, or “please, [Dying character’s name], just hold on and get better and we’ll [do that thing the dying character has always wanted to do]”. (Keep in mind that most people have an astounding impulse to be religious during a time of crisis, whether they’ve been religious in the past or not.) After death, this stage may manifest itself in the “could’ve-should’ve-would’ve” philosophy: “if only we’d taken them to the doctor sooner”, “I should’ve made him stay home”, “I knew there was something wrong with him!”, and so on. This stage is generally an attempt to regain control of the situation – your characters feel like they’re taking some kind of action by offering a proposition, or by placing blame.
Depression: there are two types of depression associated with grief. In the first (which is almost more similar to anxiety) your characters worry more about others: what if I haven’t been there for people when they needed me, how are we going to pay for the funeral/burial services, and so on. Basically it deals more with the practical aspects of the character’s death. The second type is more introspective – your characters may retreat into themselves and analyze old memories of your dead character, and their feelings on everything that’s happened. This type is private, and your characters probably won’t share much about their thoughts if they experience it.
Acceptance: this stage is marked by withdrawal and calm – it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from depression. It’s not a stage of joyous frolicking and exclaiming, “It’s okay! I understand everything about [Dead Character’s] death!”. Your characters may still not understand the purpose of your dead character’s death, but understanding and acceptance are not synonyms, nor are they mutually inclusive. The important thing about this stage is that your characters can make peace with the death, and can move on.
Keep in mind that while I’ve listed these stages in what is regarded as their general order, every person (and character) grieves differently – they may experience these emotions in a different order than that above. They may also go through one or several of the stages more than once, or cycle through the first four of them multiple times before reaching the fifth. Some characters may not even reach the fifth at all – depending on the circumstances of the death and the character’s attachment to your dead character, they may never fully accept your dead character’s death. The stages above are just a general framework for grieving.
Also, keep in mind that if your character’s death was tied in any way to traumatic incidents for your other characters, it may complicate the grieving process for those other characters, because the character’s death will be tied to other painful or triggering memories.
I hope this helps! If you need anything else, please feel free to ask. - @authors-haven
Barely six months ago I
sat down and wrote a post about Jay’s life and passing. As with so
many things, I never imagined we would find ourselves here again so
soon. Grief on the tips of our tongues, as those we support and love
live through one of the hardest of times there can be; the loss of a
parent. Then as now, I feel there is little we can say with any true
knowledge, save our experiences from the fandom side. A few words are
all I can offer, framed by my own experience of loss.
Robin Twist. A charming
man with a delightful name, always ready with a large smile and a
quick joke, not least at Harry’s expense. I remember him from the
earliest days of The X Factor, at Harry’s side with the rest
of his family cheering him on, and speaking of the new family Harry
had found in the boys. Always supportive, always ready with a warm
hug, always so proud of the boy who had left home to audition at
sixteen, and who never came back home.
It’s a measure of the
man he was that he had Harry be best man at his wedding to Anne, and
that Harry was so supportive of their relationship. As a child of two
families where both parents remarried, I know how hard it can be to
make all those new relationships work, and it’s credit to all
involved that they made it seem so seamless and effortless, and that love
seemed to be the centre of it all. I’m also lucky enough to have step
parents that just became parents; a safe place and a warm hug
whenever they are needed. I know that’s not always the case with
everyone when melding families, and I’m so glad for them all (from
all we were privileged to see), that Harry and Gemma seemed to have that kind of
relationship with Robin. A Dad, in all the ways that mattered.
Robin always struck me
as someone it would be fun to meet for a quiet pint which would then
turn into a raucous session, underlined with his quick wit and warm
heart. A presence like a heartbeat, life circulating around him.
These are things I’ll never know to be true, but I like to hope that
I can truly say that
Robin is woven like a bright thread into the history of the 1D fandom
family, there from the get go, always so supportive and proud, even
as recently as a few weeks ago, clad in Harry’s bright silver boots
and his hat at his London gig, there with a joke and a laugh with fans. There are so
many memories he’ll be part of, a hug and a smile, and a bit of
banter. He had a sparkle in his eyes and it always caught the light.
Robin, I’m so, so glad
you got to see Harry perform his new songs live (duck noise and all).
I will never, ever hear Woman without thinking of you. You
made me and so many others laugh so very much, with your ability to
keep Harry’s feet on the ground in the funniest of ways. And that is
a glorious thing.
To Anne, Amy, Mike,
Gemma and Harry, and all his family and friends now living with the
loss of such a warm and vibrant presence, I can only say hold close
to those memories and to that laughter, to help you through the days when
you can no longer find a smile. The days will seem endless, and they
will not be easy. But there will, I hope for you, come a time when there are more
smiles than tears. When those very stories will make you laugh
instead of cry. I hope you reach those days when you are ready, and
can hold steady to one another until they come to pass. I hope that
you all get the quiet and space you need in these coming days and
weeks, and that some day far from now you find one another again, in
those places you’ve never been.