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.'"
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.