Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Joannie Rochette and.....public opinion?

Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette has perhaps the challenge of her life before her. She is in Vancouver, preparing for the Olympic short program competition tonight. Her devoted parents arrived Saturday, excited to watch their only child represent their country. Later that night, though, Joannie's mom, Therese Rochette, suffered a heart attack and died a few hours later.

Joannie has reportedly decided to go ahead and compete. Some have voiced concern over her decision, citing the enormous pressure at her most vulnerable. Others support it and declare their "approval".

This brings up a conflict that has come up in many of my interviews. When others discuss the appropriateness of your behavior after a death, it is rarely comforting. As every relationship is unique, so is the grief process. There are those who feel they know best, however, and feel it's helpful to make statements like-

"He needs to get rid of her clothes- they just remind him of her."
"She never cries. That's not normal."
"I can't believe she's dating already."
"He needs to work less and deal with this."

That's not to say that public support won't be welcomed by Joannie Rochette. I just don't feel that it's anyone else's place to judge her method of mourning as brave, denial, or any other label they may choose. I'd much rather hear it from Joannie, if and when she decides to talk about it.

Your grief is your grief. Heal on your own schedule, in your own way. We can't tell anyone else how to feel, how to say goodbye, or when to move on.

Now, GO JOANNIE! (Hey- it was her decision!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tell Me Why (please)

I met with Mr. T today. We talked in depth about the book. He then had me meet with their marketing director. One of the questions they asked was why would people want to buy this book? Will death sell?

Naturally, I think it's fascinating to hear how others have coped. I'm curious about their experience. What went right and what went wrong. How they said goodbye and how they pay tribute. How the well-intended went wrong. I eat this up.

How about you? Would you buy this book? If so, why?

Friday, February 5, 2010

....and there you have it

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

I wanted to know if others were hearing the same things as I . (It was meant to be. Time heals. I know just how you feel. The exact same thing happened to me. It's better this way.) Well-intended doesn't always mean well-received.

I wanted to know what helped others so I wouldn't feel so helpless when reaching out to someone who was grieving. I needed a list of ways to help, things to do.

I wanted to hear how you have honored the memories of those you loved who have died. Share ways to pay tribute with others who need this information.

I was curious to see if these experiences were similar among very different people. (They are.) Celebrity, janitor, SAHM or teacher; loss is loss.

I wanted to know if others were as awed by people's capacity for love and sincere sympathy. I will never be able to repay those who held me up when I needed it most. God bless them for their patience, compassion and endless kindness.

I couldn't find such a book, so we're writing it together.

Thank you!

When someone dies, (other than attending the service), I do this for the family-