Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Grief = Searching




I've been reading this article about grief in The New Yorker. The author Meghan O'Rourke chronicles popular thinking about grief, and mentions that:

"In the nineteen-seventies, Colin Murray Parkes, a British psychiatrist and a pioneer in bereavement research, argued that the dominant element of grief was a restless “searching.” The heightened physical arousal, anger, and sadness of grief resemble the anxiety that children suffer when they’re separated from their mothers. Parkes, drawing on work by John Bowlby, an early theorist of how human beings form attachments, noted that in both cases—acute grief and children’s separation anxiety—we feel alarm because we no longer have a support system we relied on. Parkes speculated that we continue to “search” illogically (and in great distress) for a loved one after a death. After failing again and again to find the lost person, we slowly create a new “assumptive world,” in the therapist’s jargon, the old one having been invalidated by death. Searching, or yearning, crops up in nearly all the contemporary investigations of grief. A 2007 study by Paul Maciejewski found that the feeling that predominated in the bereaved subjects was not depression or disbelief or anger but yearning. Nor does belief in heavenly reunion protect you from grief. As Bonanno says, 'We want to know what has become of our loved ones.'"
(emphasis added)

I wanted to post this to propose the connection between some adoptees' need to search and what is commonly understood about how all humans deal with loss of loved ones. That is all.

Comments?

2 comments:

drmedhus said...

I find your blog both insightful and comforting. My son recently committed suicide and has communicated with us in many ways. This inspired me to write a blog as well: Channeling Erik: Conversations with my Son in the Afterlife. (www.drmedhus.com/channelingerik) It is my hope that, with the help of a talented medium, a book can come of this. The goal would be to, with Erik's help, elucidate and demystify the death process, the nature of the afterlife, the survival of consciousness after death, reincarnation, how thought creates reality, and the quantum physics behind all of it, among other spiritual matters. I hope to help those who are bereaved, those who fear death, and those who are curious to understand the bigger picture. Healing others seems to be important to my own healing process. Please keep up the good work. Your wisdom is sorely needed in a world that yearns for spirituality and a deeper understanding. xoxo Elisa

Andrea said...

Elisa:
Thanks for commenting! I'm so sorry for your loss; your blog and story are incredibly poignant and interesting--I'll look forward to keeping up with what's going on. In the meantime, I hope you keep coming back here and commenting. Thanks.
ar