The time has come to talk of many things . . . well, one thing anyway. Grief. I need to get going on the proposal for a grief book about the second year and beyond, so I would appreciate any suggestions of topics that you think should be included.
Some topics are obvious, such as The Five Major Challenges We Face During the Second Year of Grief and Meeting the Challenges of the Third Year of Grief.
Although I’ve never heard anyone but me and subsequently my blog readers talk about it, apparently there is another massive grief upsurge at the eighteen month mark, which probably should be mentioned.
Also, a few theories I came up with on my own, such as The Half-Life of Grief and Grief and Our Lizard Brain should be included because they are important insights into the grieving process and why it takes so long to come to an accommodation with grief.
During the course of the book, I need to assure people that they are not crazy, that it is normal to still be having upsurges of grief into the fourth year and well beyond when they have lost a fundamental part of their life, such as a spouse or a child. I think it’s important to somehow let the bereft know that it is not their family and friends’ responsibility to keep track of their grieving process. It is theirs alone.
Should I include a chapter geared toward those who haven’t experienced such a great loss to help them understand what their bereft friends and family are going through? Or would this be outside of the scope of this book? Even if the folks the chapter would be intended for didn’t read it, perhaps it would give the bereft one the confidence to speak up rather than wondering if in fact their family and friends are right about them?
Mostly, I want to tell people the truth about grief (my truth anyway), not try to comfort them or offer the typical platitudes such as “grief takes as long as it takes” (because really, when you think about it, that doesn’t say anything at all while giving people the idea that maybe they aren’t doing grief right if it is taking them so long). By the second year, the bereft know grieving is hard, and I think more than anything else, they want that hardship to be recognized and not disregarded as if it were something akin to a self-willed temper tantrum. (Well, more than anything else, what the bereft really want is their loved one back, but giving them this would be beyond the scope of my book.)
At the end of the book, there should be an explicit or implicit promise that yes, as hard as grief is, they can find a renewed interest in life.
Is there anything else you can think of? Anything you would like to see addressed? Any part of the grief process that seems to be overlooked by grief professionals? Anything that I’ve written over the years that should be emphasized?
Thank you for your help. And thank you, from the very depths of my being, for all the support you have given me (and my writing) over the years.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Unfinished, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.
June 11, 2018 at 8:38 pm
I am trying to read “Unfinished” now. It is hard to find time, so it will take me awhile to finish. I like all your books that I have read. I think that grief is hard to understand, if you have not gone through it.
June 12, 2018 at 4:10 am
Is there another email or way to contact you that is less public than this blog?
June 12, 2018 at 9:00 am
June 12, 2018 at 1:16 pm
I’m not sure how helpful I can be with this topic, but I wish you the best of luck with it.
June 12, 2018 at 4:20 pm
I’m coming up on my fourth year since Richard died. BUT the surge of grief this year has been worse than that first year. I was numb the first year. Plus I was still raising the two grandkids who lived with me. This summer the last one moved out. And I am all alone. So it feels like he JUST died. But all the other family and friends have grieved and moved on. I think grief is so personal with quite an abundance of similarities. Does that make sense. I will look forward to another book. I keep yours near for reference and read it a lot.
June 12, 2018 at 6:07 pm
It definitely makes sense about the personal aspect of grief with the abundance of similarities. In fact, I was just talking to someone else about this various thing — the similarities. And oh, my yes. Your grandkids moving out would have put you back at the beginning. Having someone to care for seems to mitigate grief a bit at the beginning because it gives you a focus for your life, but when those you cared for leave, you have to deal with the whole horrendous mess again, and especially having to deal with the emptiness and aloneness. It’s so not fair. It’s not much help, I know, but I am always here (or near here anyway) if you need to talk (write) about what you are going through. Wishing you all the best.