Thursday, April 14, 2016

Two Ways of Grief

In reading a widow blog, I came across this post about Grief and Houdini, which I found very interesting and enlightening.

The widow read the book The Secret Life of Houdini - The Making of America's First Superhero by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, which described Houdini as extremely devoted to his mother and then deeply affected by her death.  Even five years after her death, he still suffered great feelings of loss.

Houdini was friends with The Call of the Wild author Jack London and his wife, Charmian.  Jack London died at age 40.  Charmain attended one of Houdini's shows 11 months later and Houdini appeared shocked and upset that she was looking "so well and blooming" that soon after her husband's death.  She responded to Houdini defiantly "I REFUSE to be beaten!  I am going to put in whatever years life still hold for me as profitably in the pursuit of happiness as I possibly can.  You have lost and suffered.  Am I not right in my attitude?"

Houdini doesn't feel his friend's wife should be "over" her grief, while Charmain has adopted a mindset of moving forward despite her pain and looking for happiness in the future.

Two very different reactions to death and grief.

I found this fascinating, the two different ways people can grieve.

Both of these ways need to be respected.

I feel like I grieve the way Charmain grieves.  I obviously miss Jeff tremendously but I refuse to be beaten.  I forge through and attempt my very best to be happy.

That doesn't mean my way is the right way, but it also doesn't mean my way is the wrong way, it's just my way.

I feel like some people in my family and some of my friends are hostile towards me, the same way Houdini had been towards Charmain, about the way I grieve.  I think this has been one of the biggest obstacles I have faced regarding some of my relationships with people since Jeff died.

Sometimes I feel judged by certain people because I am not grieving the way "I'm supposed to."

I wish those who grieve the way Houdini grieves would not judge the way those who grieve like Charmain grieve.  People who are grieving, no matter how it is done, need to be respected and not judged.  Grief is hard enough to deal with, those who grieve do not need others judgement on top of their grief.

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