Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Marshmallow day

Today will either shape up into something interesting, or sit there like a blob while I decide what to do with it for so long that suddenly it's over anyway.

I know that there will be a fair amount of pondering the process of grieving, because there has been a fair amount of that every day since I read an article in The New Yorker on the subject. Do you think grieving was more effective when people did it collectively - and personally, not at a distance as with celebrities - wearing black, having noisy wakes, or otherwise being with the primary recipients of the force of the blow?

I'm not so sure. Collective grief is a comfort, but I also feel that however social we are as a species we are also quite solitary, and grief is buried so deep anyway it would be difficult for others to touch it. To say nothing of how long grief lasts - a lifetime, for many. Nobody wants to hang around long enough for that to pass, not even the person who's grieving. Maybe especially that person.

While I'm pondering all that I will be eating some of this:

It's bread with pecans and dried cherries (among other fruits) baked in - fabulous when plain, possibly more fabulous toasted with cream cheese.

And I will be thinking more possible craft projects with old sheets I wish I had some of... h'mmm, maybe a trip to the thrift store is in order? because of this thought-provoking bit of Tiny Happy.

Maybe I will go to a Posh Shopping Neighbourhood to see if I can find some Ghirardelli milk chocolate hot chocolate mix, which is no longer stocked where I live.

Or maybe I will take some long naps, and imagine I'm sleeping on a big marshmallow.


Karen said...

Good question about grieving. My family tradition was more of the "suck it up and suffer in silence" type. But when my mother-in-law died a year and a bit ago, I found the Jewish traditions--in which one sits shiva for a week, and fellow mourners (some family, some not) come by daily to pray and help out--profoundly moving and comforting. The unveiling of the headstone, usually within a year of the death, offers another opportunity for communal grief, though it's usually more muted and acceptance has begun to set in. Then, on each anniversary of the death, the family lights a yarzheit candle, which burns all day and night. Interesting fact: the prayers for mourners don't mention the deceased -- they're all about acknowledging God and such. I have found this tradition far more comforting than my own family's ways, but maybe that's just me.

Mary Keenan said...

My family tradition is much like the shiva, though shorter, and involving a parade of casseroles that culminates in a feast of sandwiches and squares after the burial, all made by the Catholic Women's League. The ritual itself is comforting, and the squares definitely a bright spot in the proceedings :^) But nearly 30 years out now from my first big loss I don't find I feel much better now than I did then, so perhaps even that isn't enough.