Oh. That’s just what I was thinking.

14 Jul

So I was at the newsagent to buy a 2 ring binder to replace the 3 ring binder which, when I bought it, I was sure was a 2 ring binder, but anyhoo and moving on, at the newsagent, I saw Caroline Jones’ book, through a glass darkly: a journey of love and grief with my father and I bought it.

Even though I was on the way to the bottle shop to buy (yet) another bottle of Langhorne Creek Bernoota (cannot recommend it highly enough) for the purchase of which I did not need to seek my husband’s permission, I sat in the carpark and opened the book and there, in the introduction, I read this:

“I was unprepared for my own grief and for the extent to which it disabled me….the main quality of my condition was uncertainty. It was difficult to make decisions. I found it hard to know what mattered. My sense of meaning was shaken and I was unclear about my purpose. I put on a good face and I made myself do everything as usual, but my heart wasn’t in it. I felt very sad most of the time and sometimes I was angry. What most people talked about seemed very trivial. I felt that I was behind a pane of glass on the other side of which people’s lives went on. But I was not part of that life.

I now have come to think of grief as a sort of severe illness, bordering at times on derangement; an illness that dislocated me physically, mentally, psychologically and spiritually…

…Suffering, loss and grief are facts of life for everyone, although I am sure some people accept the death of a parent as a sad event but one which is acceptable in the order of things. While they may feel sorrow, they soon resume the business of their lives without suffering any deep trauma. People who experience a parent’s death in this philosophical manner would, almost certainly, find this book a puzzling over-reaction to a natural life event.”

Having read most of the book in the six hours since then, I agree that many people might find this book an over-reaction. But for myself? I say, Caroline Jones, I will never be able to thank you enough.

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10 Responses to “Oh. That’s just what I was thinking.”

  1. fifi July 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    x2u2

  2. Pavlov's Cat July 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    Will you write and tell her? I bet she would love to hear that she’d been of assistance. How lovely that you should have happened so randomly on such a book in a familiar place where people love you and speak English and there are no gold SUVs and it’s raining.

  3. planetnomad July 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Wow. What an incredible description of grief. I will have to look for that book.
    I’m glad you found it.

  4. mary July 15, 2010 at 3:13 am #

    yep – she nailed it..

  5. Kate July 15, 2010 at 4:29 am #

    Oh. I think I need that book. That is exactly how I have been thinking about it, although I hadn’t found the words. I’m currently in remission, but I don’t expect it to last.

  6. The Coffee Lady July 15, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    I found a different, completely unrelated book by chance like this and it was just the thing I needed. Good to know it happens.

  7. SQ July 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Yep.

  8. eleanor bloom July 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    wow. that too is just what i’ve been thinking. describes exactly how i’ve been feeling recently and only just coming out of it. interesting to see it as ‘grief’ – suddenly is quite clear what i’ve been grieving for… sadly it almost makes a list.

  9. Amelia July 18, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    Great description. I think the ability to accept a parent’s death philosophically has a lot to do with the age at which the parent dies. I was a mess when my dad died 5 1/2yrs ago 3 days before my 2nd child was born and I still cry often when I think of him. He was much too young and he has missed so much.

  10. Frances August 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Carolyn Jones once edited some brilliant books which recounted interviews that she made of an amazing diversity of people and their diverse reactions to trauma, difficulty or tragedy. Enlightening and energising books,
    Unavailable now, because of course modern people are different, aren’t they?

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