Author Topic: Public deaths  (Read 3028 times)

ManutesGirl

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Public deaths
« on: March 02, 2016, 06:16:31 PM »
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 have lived my life well, lived with integrity and always lived each day the best I could.  I have no regrets.?  DKB 9/2/65 - 10/23/11

lcoxwell

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2016, 09:59:15 PM »
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:

Dying is beautiful and ugly at the same time.
"The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude." - Thornton Wilder

Thank you, my dearest Kenneth, for loving me and for giving me the best 13 years of my life.

daysofelijah

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2016, 04:27:40 PM »
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.
Amy, mom to four (14,13,9,5)

ManutesGirl

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2016, 08:21:43 PM »
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 have lived my life well, lived with integrity and always lived each day the best I could.  I have no regrets.?  DKB 9/2/65 - 10/23/11

anniegirl

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2016, 01:45:04 PM »
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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sojourner

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2016, 12:39:08 AM »
I think I get most of this thread; I agree with the basic point of it, I think... I get the thing about a glorification of the survivor's experience, especially by repressing expression of the real nitty-gritty. But, thing is, to be totally frank, I'm just not getting anything as far as any beauty of the death?

My LH had a relatively "good death," with little physical pain at the end. But he fought to live to the very end (cancer). My late father struggled with passing too last month, yet I knew despite his body's struggle to shut down (powerful yet at the ripe age of 93), he was looking forward to moving on.

No criticisms intended! Just not able to grasp this idea of any beauty of death when there was so much life on earth ahead?

Just something I'm struggling with, I guess. But I do get the part about the superficial romanticizing of a death for public consumption. Unfortunately, in this recent media case for example, it might actually make things more difficult emotionally for the surviving spouse as the shock wears off, but the public still anticipates a strong appearance despite his loss.

anniegirl

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2016, 10:43:08 PM »
Romanticizing the actual act of dying, you mean?

I've watched LH and my father die. Hospice style, so it was a drugged kind of quiet but my LH was in a hospice that had 7 other rooms that were nearly always occupied. You knew when someone was going to die because their breathing would change. I always thought "death rattles" was a narrative invention and not a real thing but people really do rattle. Loudly. And when they go, they gasp and sort of deflate like a balloon.

There is a struggle at the end whether people are ready to die or not. It's human. Whether you find poetry in it or not is shades of human too.



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Guaruj

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2016, 08:22:17 PM »
March has been a busy month for me, so I'm tuning in quite late...

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.

[...]

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.

These are cases of the press exploiting one person's narcissism to satisfy the public's voyeurism. They follow a familiar pattern. If it's televised, you usually see a female reporter presenting the story with phony gushes of sympathy and praise. Never mind that she'll be off to the next assignment once she finishes the voice-over work.

I lost patience with sensational reports of other people's suffering even before Catherine died. I still find myself turning the page or changing the channel when I see it now.

|+|  M a r k  |+|
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 08:28:27 PM by Guaruj »

squidley1992

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2016, 03:24:38 AM »
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 just wanted to say that I'm happy I'm not the only one who feels the same way. I lost the love of my life about 3 weeks ago and I get tired of all the people saying the same stuff like that to me. It's not amazing. I am not strong. None of that, period. It's because I love him and like what you said, that's what you do when you love someone. Because in reality when people say that to me, I'm not strong to begin with, they can't even tell I've totally fallen apart. It is beautiful and ugly.....definitely not rainbows and unicorns. Glad I'm not the only one who has thought that.

ieh21

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2016, 08:15:03 PM »
I also get annoyed, but then I also think "wow, this person is going to hit a wall once the intense support fades away". It always does, I mean people still support you but eventually, the superficial support leaves. So I can imagine that for someone who grieves very publicly, because they need it, it must be very hard to be alone all of a sudden.

SemperFidelis

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Re: Public deaths
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2016, 02:16:16 PM »
I hate sensationalism. It disgusts me at my very core.

"There is nothing that unusual happening that others whose spouse slowly died didn't do.  I hate the glorification of it. " -OP

I wouldn't call my husband's death public(well ok yes on a small scale) but certainly people saw what I did for him and freaked out with utterances like "ohhhhh wow you are amazing I could never do xyz" and it just grosses me out because what it means is that this person talking to me is a total sh*tbag if they truly would not do xyz for their spouse.

I don't watch the media.....capitalizing on other people's suffering and struggles is vile. But at the same time if I am honest, I would sell my story for some cash since I was left with No extra financial resources.