Martin Short’s wife Nancy died of cancer after almost 30 years of marriage. I love what he said about death in his AARP interview.
I believe that when people die, they zoom into the people that love them. This idea that it just ends, and don’t speak of them — that’s wrong. That’s based on denial that we’re all going to die. So to me, she’s still here. At the same time, her death emboldened me to take risks. With real tragedy, you become a little more daring. It’s the yin to the yang: the positive part of life’s dark side.
Yesterday I took my mom out for a late lunch at a local diner. She enjoyed the outing. She likes going out of her memory care community with me.
Before I visited my mom, I saw my psychologist who suggested I do less and allow myself to grieve. I’ve been too defended, using busyness to keep my feelings at bay.
Today I listen to straight ahead jazz in memory of my father. He passed on his passion for jazz to me. Listening, I allow myself to cry. I miss sharing this love of jazz music with my dad. He lives on in so many ways. He lives on in my love for jazz, true American classical music.
Tomorrow we will remember my dad in a small get-together of close family. We will listen to jazz, as we share photos and memories of him.
My parents had requested that we keep their memorials small, inviting only close family members. We are honoring that request. Fits our emotional needs, too. We can only handle so much right now.
People’s responses to grief will be different, depending on the circumstances of the death. For example, if the person who died had a chronic illness, the death may have been expected. The end of the person’s suffering might even have come as a relief. If the death was accidental or violent, coming to a stage of acceptance might take longer.
One way to describe grief is in five stages. These reactions might not occur in a specific order, and can occur together. Not everyone experiences all of these emotions:
Denial, disbelief, numbness
Anger, blaming others
Bargaining (for instance, “If I am cured of this cancer, I will never smoke again.”)
Depressed mood, sadness, and crying
Acceptance, coming to terms
People who are grieving may have crying spells, trouble sleeping, and lack of productivity at work.