Queen Victoria had the luxury of mourning the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert, for forty years. Black was her dress and seclusion was her choice. It would naturally be a queen’s prerogative to dress in all black, refuse visitors, and spend the rest of your life as a recluse. Ah…the life of the rich and famous!
Mourning period has since been synthesized into “stages” of grief. Bereavement pay is a luxury (not a right) most employees don’t have. Get the funeral over and done with and get back to work is the American way.
There are no longer “norms” of what’s expected of a grieving family member. No one to say well this specific time is what’s spent in recluse, slowly entering back into society, and finally able to go about “normal” activities. It’s pretty much mourn as you go.
I feel like a loss ship at times. Here it is two weeks after my mother’s funeral and I get the eery feeling that I’m “expected” to be done with it. But I’m not and I don’t want to be “over it.” Asking me to be over it means asking me to get over my mom and that’s not happening.
People went back to their life minutes after the repast. Condolence cards stopped coming a week later. And other than the brave souls who, bless their hearts, are ill-prepared to talk to a grieving person, it’s like walking on egg shells here on out.
That loaded question “how are you” needs to be stricken from conversation one has with a grieving person. It’s pointless and insensitive; especially if you aren’t prepared to hear that I cried on my way to work this week or that I ache each time I have to say to a doctor or service provider that my mother is dead.
One’s “mourning period” is a lifetime in the making. It will be expressed through tears, joy, solitude, purpose, and plain old daily living. It is the proverbial black garb to be worn over one’s heart hidden away. It is a shared language among those who have had loved ones go on before us. It alienates us from some and draws us to others. It builds our faith, our truth in life as we now know it. This new normal.