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Public deaths

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This is the only place I can safely say this where someone might understand...

I am 4.5 years out and it seems I have less and less tolerance for public deaths and the surrounding "support" from people who don't know that person from Adam.  I am so tired of reading about how amazing their spouse is, what amazing things he is doing, how amazingly strong she is, how heartbreaking, etc...don't they realize that is what you do when you love someone?  There is nothing that unusual happening that others whose spouse slowly died didn't do.  I hate the glorification of it.  Dying is beautiful and ugly at the same time.  Quit acting like it's all rainbows and unicorns.

I get this. I can read about the public deaths, and I feel great sorrow and empathy and so many, many other emotions. A part of me thinks it's a good thing that those going through "public deaths" are able to see the support of so many people surrounding them with positive thoughts and prayers, with support and encouragement, etc. Then there is the part of me that remembers going through 13 years of struggling to take care of my husband, with little or no help from anyone, and I will admit that there's a part of me that is a bit jealous. Where were my accolades? Where were my positive thoughts and well wishes? Where was my encouragement? And where were all the people to tell my husband how strong and brave he was? Of course, those thoughts are fleeting, and leave me feeling somewhat petty and feeling guilty for feeling jealous in the first place.

Mostly, I have a hard time seeing all the public deaths, because they bring me back to a place of remembrance. I remember all those sleepless nights, sitting alone in the hospital ICU or ER. I remember watching my Kenneth struggle and fight to stay alive for all those years, and I remember watching all the suffering that he had to endure. I also remember that special intimacy that came, when we were looking into each other's eyes, as I was helping to bathe him in the shower or to change his clothes, when he could no longer manage alone. I remember laughing, when he had fallen and I did not have the strength to pick him up and he couldn't help me; so we ended up struggling for an hour in the middle of the night desperately trying to figure out some way to get him back into the bed, while the silly dogs kept licking our faces, because they thought the whole thing was a game. I remember the tears. So. Many. Tears. I think you said it so perfectly, when you said this:

--- Quote from: ManutesGirl on March 02, 2016, 06:16:31 PM ---Dying is beautiful and ugly at the same time.

--- End quote ---

I get it. The highly publicized terminal illness of the country singers wife is constantly on FB lately. I don't know, obviously they are okay with sharing the journey with the world, but it just makes me feel icky. The whole talking about her last conversation, saying goodbye and falling into a deep sleep. The news people or article writers, whatever, make it sound sooo romantic and beautiful. It's not romantic and beautiful to watch your young spouse slowly die from brain cancer, it's just not.

And that is exactly what I'm talking about.  I get that some people want to share.  But then all the others chiming with words of how special they are etc just gets to be too much.

I think the romanticizing is the way people try to deal with their own fears about death - theirs or a loved one. People who have been through it are not going to use the same language.

I also think that many people who choose to share their struggles with care-taking and terminal illness try to downplay the ugly. Maybe because they know that they won't get the same sort of public support if they are honest that they will if they play the role that is expected of them - selfless hero.

When my LH was ill and after his death, there was another widow in the local news because both she and her LH were columnists for the local paper. It bugged the shit out of me that support just rolled in for them during his illness and for her after. And she wrote about widowhood as though it was some self-help discovery journey. Eat, Pray, Die. Ugh.


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