Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Into the Celebrity Fray

I'm not much for blogging about celebrities.  There are a few reasons for this but the most important is that I am not clever enough to pull it off.  I've written the odd post about Paris Hilton (as a wordsmith) or Mel Gibson (as a drunk driver) but for the most part I am content to let others be clever and I laugh.

Today, though, I read a more serious article about Michelle Williams and her grief over the death of Heath Ledger.  I think one reason this article stood out to me today is that I've had a few conversations with people about grief lately.  (The caveat here is that I take everything I read online about a celebrity with more than a grain of salt.  For the sake of this post, let's assume she was accurately quoted in a reasonable context.)  

When asked about how she was doing, she said this:

"I guess it's always changing," Michelle finally offers. "What else can I say? I just wake up each day in a slightly different place -- grief is like a moving river, so that's what I mean by 'it's always changing.'"

Then, as her eyes well up again, she notes, "It's a strange thing to say, because I'm at heart an optimistic person, but I would say in some ways it just gets worse. It's just that the more time that passes, the more you miss someone. In some ways, it gets worse. That's what I would say."

I knew someone once whose young daughter died unexpectedly. About a year later, he and I were talking and he said that someone had, in frustration, said to him, "It's been a year."  My friend looked at his friend and said, "Yes.  It's been a year.  I haven't got to see my daughter in a year!"  I'm not sure how easy that idea is to understand unless you've lost someone.  The best way I can describe it is to imagine that your child/spouse/friend is somewhere and you can't see them or talk to them in any way.  Would a year seem like a long time?  Would it be hard to go that long?  Should you be over not talking to them after that long?

I know that things get better after you suffer a loss--eventually. I know that.  It is a years-long process, though.  Not a months long one.  However, I think that unless you've experienced it, you cannot grasp the enormity of it all. I am sorry for Michelle William's and her daughter's loss.  I'm glad though, that she shared so openly about it. I hope that her words reach out to others who have experienced it.  People who can say, "A moving river! Yes, grief is a moving river.  It is always changing."  I hope there will be a little comfort for them to know that someone understands.

(I have suffered many losses and have written about them ad nauseum, but I haven't lost a child, spouse or close parent.  I don't want to compare my losses to that of a child or spouse or close parent.  Without taking away from the signficance of my grief, I think those losses are more significant in a way than mine.)

25 down, 5 to go

This post brought to you hours early by my daughter's sore throat/fever and my son's stomach ache. I was afraid if I waited until later to post, I would miss the deadline due to vomitus eruptus.


John Ross said...

OH yeah, I get you on this. Grief and me be old close comrades(perhaps even friends, it gets wierd in there somewhere....)

Yes.. YEARS, not months, and even ones family may get "frustrated" with that which they cannot grasp or fix(perhaps especially one's family). It could be decades - believe me on this one.....

thanks for that post.

daisies said...

'grief is like a moving river' ~ i like that, its very true. my biggest loses amongst the many deaths i have witnessed are my sister and my twin babies and yes, years not months would be accurate. it changes but sits with you in the hollow of your heart and sometimes emerges again, drifts up from the river bottom ...

i liked this post, thank you for sharing, xo

Muthering Heights said...

How SAD! I feel so sad for her...

Mel said...

More reasons to give thanks today.

That river, ever changing in its course and current, just flows.
She's right.

Blessings to you and yours on Thanksgiving.
May the vomitus eruptus skip over you.
(one can hope!)

Anonymous said...

I saw that article, too, and was struck by her openness.

Jozet at Halushki said...

Beautiful post and eloquent metaphor.

Yes...it's been 9 years since I last saw my dad, since I last spoke to him. The everyday is quiet; the moment I think about the length of time since I've seen him...it's nine years worth of pain.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. And yes, many many blessings.