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Grief Unites Us – Author Article by Elizabeth Mary Cummings
A beautiful explanation of grief, what it means to us as humans, and the sensitive, authentic way it has been addressed in The Forever Kid. Thank you for this profound article, Elizabeth. x
Grief is one of those topics that is so big and so emotive that it often has been avoided in daily conversation. The ultimate elephant in the room. Yet it is one of those facts of life that unites us all as humans. It is one of the few experiences that we are sure to go through along with actually dying ourselves. Grief is such a universal aspect of our lives yet often misunderstood, misrepresented and often vilified.
In our westernised society we have not always had a good relationship with grief. The tradition of mourning has differed over time and between cultures and in our very modern world where we have knowledge of the human lifecycle in great detail and indeed have so much knowledge and understanding of pre-life to the point that it can be discussed regularly in public forums, we still have a problem with talking about death. Why is this? Why is it so hard to talk about something that touches all our lives?
I believe that a lot of this stems from a deep rooted fear not only of the unknown but of the pain and loss we know we feel when we are separated from loved ones and them from us. Our basic human desire to please, to cope and to survive actually can prevent us from healthy expression of loss and from understanding consciously what that loss means to us.
In my book, The Forever Kid, I deal directly with loss. Not just any loss but the loss of a child. This sort of loss has a very painful and strong representation as a tragic story. Yet through my narrative I set out not to dwell on the tragedy of losing one so young but more to reflect on the relationship within the family and how those relationships, though never bringing back the lost child, can be used to come to a new meaning of family life after a loved one’s death and the concept of how the lost child is ever present.
There is a very careful line one has to tread when speaking about such matters for it would be all too easy to travel down the road of trite and clichéd comment full of platitudes and a tendency to brush over this serious matter. I was very aware that it was my responsibility in writing such a narrative that I used it to draw on messages of hope, of resilience and of the power within each of us to understand our emotions even with these strong emotions of grief and loss and to be able to keep living.
The Forever Kid does not try to say that grief goes away. The Forever Kid does not try to make it better or to put a Disney spin on such a heavy topic. Rather, through the story of a celebration of life and a remembrance of a loved one my intention is for readers to come closer to the matter of grief, and in doing so to be able to examine the internal reflections on this topic as well as to be aware of the possibility of good conversations around grief. Grief is real, grief is good, grief tells us how much we are all connected to what we have lost and for us as individuals to make sense of it and understand the relationship with the lost loved one. ‘Safe space’ conversations can only help to bring us closer to having realistic attitudes towards and constructive dialogue with those who need it, as well as when we too suffer loss in our lives.
Elizabeth Mary Cummings: website
#grief #mourning #expression #celebration #connection
For another touching read, head over to Amanda Barrett’s blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews, for her review of The Forever Kid.
Celebrate Your Loved Ones and WIN!
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